My cat attempt

Hi everyone!
I’m blending my cat (in a good way!), but as an engineer with no traditional artistic capabilities whatsoever I would appreciate the input of you talented blender artists. I’m fine with the technical aspects of Blender, but in terms of making things look realistic I’m a bit of a newbie.


Eventually I will add fur, subsurface scattering, textures etc (possibly a body too) but first comes the head model:

It is currently a bit lumpy and there is something wrong with the mouth (too wide?), as I modelled this edge by edge using reference images. I now plan to use this as a starting point for dynamic topology sculpting to do the details and cleanup, then I’ll retopologize the mesh again.

Any suggestions on this so far?


Hey Py__, welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

And your cat is a good start. Your mesh has nice smooth loops. I can see some ngons on the forehead and near the eyes. But they are easy to fix. Does the first render show the stage of the wires or did you render this earlier? Ears and nose look more detailed in the wire screenshot. From the render I would guess that you are using blender internal as renderer?

Looks good! It really needs some fur around it.

Nice start. Yes the mouth is too wide and the eyes look more like a smooth stone material. As for the lumpiness you could just wait till you start sculpting and use the Smooth brush. Works really well.

I would imagine that some of the shape or feature relationship differences might be in that you are modeling with the intention of adding fur. Your reference is with a photograph of a kitty with fur intact, so I’d imagine that could be a source of trouble. IMO the model looks pretty good for a first run, but by what you wrote I’m assuming that you aren’t perfectly happy with everything about it. I hope this doesn’t come across harsh, just making an observation.

Thanks for your replies, they keep me interested in improving it!

I have retopologized it several times trying to get things right, so minoribus is correct: the render is from a version before the wireframe (but it is in cycles).
Actually the mesh is 100% quads, but for some reason all the lines weren’t displayed in the mesh.

I am still experimenting with hair as it is rather hard to get it looking good.
So far it looks like 3 layers will be needed:

  • Short fine hair for ears/nose
  • Longer hair for the main covering
  • Thick single hairs for whiskers, “eyebrow” hairs, and ear tips

ArtistiK, do you have any suggestions on the eyes?
I followed the techniques explained in various BlenderCookie tutorials - an inner sphere with concave iris, and an outer glassy covering.
The pupil shape is wierd I know, and caustics are off because they made nasty effects.
Perhaps because there is nothing else in the scene to reflect realistically?

Hey Py,
Yea I don’t think it is the model of the eye that gives it that look. I think it’s more of the materials. Mainly the green portion of the eye that stood out the most to me. The iris edges also seen very harsh/hard. I hope I explained wl that ok.

This is quite good (speaking as someone with four cats). I agree with ArtistiK about the eyes, though.

The colors seem a bit flat and the iris edges do stand out a bit much. This is great work though, good luck.

Thanks for your comments.

I’m doing some adjusting in dynamic topology sculpt mode to make the mesh more “anorexic” so that fur will later puff it out to the right shape.

The eyes are tricky.
As you can see from und3c1ph3r3d’s image the pupil edges are very sharp, but it looked rather fake when I tried drawing them like that. The texture (besides the pupil) is from a close-up of my cat’s eye but I think noise in the image is making it look strange.
I’ll try drawing an iris texture myself when I redo the eyes.

An update - I fiddled around a lot but couldn’t get satisfied, so started again from scratch with dynamic topology sculpting.

This time I am trying to figure out the shape of the head underneath the fur.
It currently looks rather bony and with huge ears, but actually hairless cats kind of look like that.

There still seems to be something odd with the mouth and the nose shape, but I’m not quite sure what it is.
I’ll give it all another few days of fiddling then I’ll retopologize it and see if things look better with an actual mouth cavity.

If anyone can figure out what looks off about it before then, I’ll attempt to fix it…

I checked some pictures of hairless cats, and it’s looking closer now.
The mouth issue was mainly the bulging whisker area not bulging enough and not overlapping the lower jaw enough.

The nose still isn’t quite right yet, but the overall shape of the other parts are reasonable now.

Looking good. Keep it up!
I love cats!

Did a few minor adjustments to the eyes and nose, I think that is as good as I can get it for now.

On to retopology!

Reasonable retopology is done.
Inside of the mouth etc will be done after I’m satisfied with the surface…

I’m not satisfied with some parts, but still thinking how to make it better.
Maybe another loop around the eyes and mouth.
Any suggestions are welcome…

The shape is good enough now, and it will be hidden by fur anyway.
Now starting on the fur.

Step 1 - creating a texture to control fur length:

There are a lot of tutorials and documentation on topology for the human face. Cat faces, actually, any mammal face, isn’t that different, in topology, from a human face. You have nice topology around the eyes, but the loop around the muzzle (in a human, that’s the loop that goes along the chin and over the bridge of the nose) and the loops around the mouth (the lips) are missing. Find a good human face model that shows the major topology loops, then sketch them in on your cat model.

Hi Orinoco,

I originally tried to do as you suggest, but ran into some issues with the mouth mainly.
The mouth shape and position of the ears seem to make quite a difference to how things fit.

The mouth loop is mostly there, but the split upper lip changes things as I needed a flow around the whiskers area.
The muzzle loop was originally there but got disrupted by the ears I think.
After 6 or 7 attempts I just got sick of trying to get it perfect!

Now I am combing and shaping the fur:

I think it needs thinner hairs and more of them, but my GPU runs out of memory.
This render uses 500Mb and has 10,000 hairs with 50 children.
An entire cat would need an absolutely insane number of hairs!

So nice!!!


I puffed out the fur a bit and added some basic eyes and whiskers.
Textures/shaders are just preliminary…

You definitely do have artistic capabilities and the technical aspect of your meshes is excellent. I like the first model more than the second but that’s just because types of cats are super ugly to me, it’s still a pretty excellent representation. You’ve just motivated me to try out the hair and fur system. I don’t see why anyone would have said anything negative about that first cat, it’s quite striking. It sort of has this look about it that makes me think that it would be wearing a leather jacket.

I wonder why you left those three nGons on the cat up top. Do you know about the vertex connect tool(j)? Just select two vertices and push j, a cut will be made between both. Incidentally, that tool also works across multiple poly’s if the surface is curved. It’ll cut a line across the surface of a sphere if two points are selected on both sides of it.

Keep up the good work, maybe you could use compositing to thicken the fur. If the model itself is transparent for multiple passes then you should just end up with hair floating in space which can be mixed against the base model. This way individual passes won’t overburden your machine.