Realistic rendering / animating of creatures in blender

I’d really like to model and animate a realistic dinosaur or dragon at some point in blender and wanted to get some pointers from you guys out there. Overall I know I don’t want a smooth surface this create so I’m sure I’ll be using bump mapping and normal mapping to break up the surfaces texture. SSS would also be good for parts of the create that have thin skin or tips of teeth/horns. Rigging this thing would be interesting because I’d like to simulate muscles while the create is moving so that will probably require a lot of rigging or something like that.

But I guess ultimately can blender with its tool set and rendering engine create a convincing looking creature? I know almost all of that depends on the artist doing the work but I’d just like to know if after I invest time to do a good job that I can get the results I want.

I’ve seen a lot of impressive works done in blender over the last few months but a majority of them are very stylized so they went trying to make something that looked real. Or maybe they were and it just rendered out that way.

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Yes, Blender can create a convincing creature just as well as any other 3d package. It’ll just always be time consuming, no matter what program you use.

Alright cool. Well this thread could be moved to the appropriate forum - couldn’t really figure out which forum to put this in. News and Discussion probably the better forum.

You will find that this community covers a vast range of experience, styles and abilities. The best way to get pointers that would be most useful for you is to try to make the questions as specific as possible. 3 things that always help:

  1. Be specific: “How do I model a dragon” is far harder to answer than “How do I get the edge-loops right to make my dragon’s eyes look malevolent”

  2. Screen-shots: Include some pictures of where you are at and, if possible showing the problem you have. They really are worth a thousand words!

  3. How did you get here: Try to detail what you’re aiming for and what you’ve tried so far to get to this point. This way, it’s less likely that advice will cover old ground.

We’re here for us all, so happy blending!

the answer is yes.

Seems Env’s anims are not hosted anymore but you can do the Bongo tuts in the Tutorials section:


Alright thanks. From a birds eye prospective do you think these steps would be correct?

  1. go over reference material to and create sketches of the parts of the dragon I’d like to make.
  2. box model the dragon using subsurfs
  3. switch to sculpting to add finer detail
  4. work on a texture map to give the dragon color
  5. rig it
  6. animate it

I’m just treating these 6 steps as guide lines. I know I’ll have plenty of questions at each step of the way but its good to know where your next step is, even if your next step will take you a month to get to.

Only think is, with the 2nd and 3rd step, you could switch those to a variety of different approaches (pure sculpt, no sculpt, vertex pushing instead of box, etc.).

Other than that…yeah that’s pretty much a foolproof method. Highly simplified though, like you said.

you can use the table of contents of the wiki user manual as a guide to the process from start to finish.
and I wrote this today

Since you’re planning on rigging and animating, somewhere in between step 1 and 2 you should study up on edge loops and how they affect rigs and animation. You’ll need to make proper edge loops somewhere along the line, or trying to rig will be a nightmare of tweaking (it probably will be anyway, the first few times through, but without edge loops in the right places the nightmare will be much, much worse.) If you skip this, then you’ll need to study up on the retopo tool, which will allow you to rebuild the topology after the model is the right shape.

A good way to start is to do a cartoon character or two, just to learn the tools. Introduction_to_Character_Animation
is a good place to start, since it’s very comprehensive.