Modelling an Orca (killer whale)


I already have modelled squarer things like castles and towers but this is my first experience modelling an organic shape. I used a UV sphere deformed to follow the shape of a orca using an image background based on a photograpy. I want later to animate the tail, fins and mouth. For the tail and fins I used bezier curves, following the advice of the old dolphin tutorial. The shape is ok but they look quite flat. I

will appreciate any advice (images attached).

Best regards.

Natural painter.


From this info & the images, I think you’re better off going a different route. The body looks fine, but the fins/tail are very rigid. This not only gives an artificial look to them, but will create problems with realistic animation.

The body should animate well, you have enough detail for some organic deformation. You may want this capability in the other parts as well, though. Like when the tail is thrust downward, the tail fins should bend upward toward the tips. But using those curves probably left you with mesh topology that will not bend, or not deform correctly.

I recommend starting with a simpler body mesh, SubSurfing it for detail & then extruding the fins from the body. This method would also have those parts properly attached to the animal (1 piece). But even if you keep them seperate, make them from simple/SubSurfed shapes (i.e. a box) for good topology.

Hope that helps . . . keep up the good work!

IMHO the separated parts can be joint later in a single part using boolean operations.

I followed your advice using simple meshes for the fins and then subsurfing. I think I will do the same with the body, but by now I got these more organic fins:

The central edge loop serves to add the influence of the thick bone to the fin. This contributes to the hydrodynamic look of the pectoral fin.

I used a similar technique for the central fin.

Yes it helped, thank you very much.

looks good, I would like to see the final thing

You’re probably better off joining the seperate parts manually . . . shouldn’t be too difficult with simple base meshes.

But booleans (esp. blender’s) are notorious for creating problems, particularly with the clean topology needed for smooth deformation.

BTW: these fins are looking great . . . can’t wait to see the finished model.

Once more you’re right! :slight_smile:

The boolean operations generated quite ugly meshes so I joined the parts using common base meshes and sewing them carefully. These are the current results:

I am not yet satisfied, specially with the rostrum, but the fun part will be texturing.

Thanks again and more c&c will be welcome. :slight_smile:

Another shot without material.

Your model is coming along nicely . . . glad to be of help, too!

I agree that the only problem area seems to be the rostrum (had to look that one up).

Really, I think all you need to do is flip the shape of the snout vertically. The photos I’ve checked show that an orca’s head slopes more down than up toward the mouth (more like a dolphin, as opposed to the upward angle on a shark).


I decided to model the rostrum part one by one. This is a prelimirary result of the lower mouth with teeth and tongue. Of course the material is also preliminary. Any c&c will be appreciated.