Photorealistic dinosaur

Here is a comparison between my dinosaur and the dinosaur from the movie king kong. If you look closely, you can see one major difference. Mine looks like crap compared to the king kong version. What types of things do I need to do to make my model look as good as theirs? I’ve seen some Blender artwork that looks incredible. So I know it can be done. I’m struggling still to figure out what I’m doing wrong.


Their model appears to have actual scales where yours only has a bump map. That alone makes a huge difference in render quality.

Don’t use Blender to render. Sometimes you can get some really fine renders from Blender internal if you work long and hard enough with your light setup but, the moment you make a render from even a slightly different angle the whole thing will fall apart. Blender is great for toonish animation renders and some semi realistic still shots but that’s where it ends. Many of us are hoping that “Light Cuts” will change that in the near future.

Your arms look stuck on (you knew that).

As said, mainly the lighting but also the texturing. When they make those things WetaDigital Uv unwrap their beast and Photoshop in not just colour (diffuse map) and bump, but a spec map, and often a normal map so they can control miniature detail like scratches and wrinkles.

Your monster is pretty good… but it’s the same “shiney” all over. If yours was theirs, the bumps would have shininess, the scratches would not. You get the same story with stubble on someone’s chin. Look at the wrinkles on the skin of the back of your hand… see where light shines off it? Not the cracks huh? That’s why you need a spec map.

So yeah, for every scratch you paint onto the colour, you need to also compliment with the specmap, bump map etc so that it really looks real at every level. Your bump is pretty cool, but there’s no dirt brown in the colour showing where the cracks are… therefore it looks plastic (as well as being just a touch too shiney)

Every tooth of their dinosaur has had a few goings over to make sure its cracks all add up. Heck - I think they had a crew of thirty people employed just to animate different clumps of Kong’s hair.

But yeah - lighting is a biggie. You need to make your model reflect the colours of its surrounding environment. See how his back clearly reflects the colour of the sky behind it? WetaDigital know there are keen DVD-spotters waiting to make known any mistake they get.

Is this a separate thread? I added a lot of comments yesterday and today I don’t see any of them…
They were all constructive critiques so I can’t imagine why they would’ve been deleted.

That happens on occasion but it’s usually because you forgot to post the reply.

Nope, I just double checked… this guy created a new thread about the same topic…
That’s a bit spammish and also clutters up the forum with duplicate threads on the same project. I’d report it, but I’m actually rather indifferent at the moment.

I apologize for the extra thread - it was not intentional. I refreshed or hit the post button twice. I only meant to post one thread. These comments were really helpful though - I really appreciate it! Even though Hollywood employs several artists, I feel like I’ve seen some Blender artists do equivalent work all on their own. I’m curious how they do that.

More muscle in the arms and a UV mapped photograph of an alligator?

have you thought maybe about displacement mapping compared to bump mapping? It might just make the scales a bit better…