Right of Passage: Exploring the effect of cars on birds

Greetings everybody. This morning I was driving along and saw a bird fly away as my car came toward it. I started to wonder, as I continued driving, how many times a day that must happen to birds, how they have evolved in a way just to avoid humans and our cars.

This image will depict a bird encountering a car head on for the first time in its life. The bird has to make a split-second decision to avoid the car. Can he do it?

I’ve never tried something comical before, and this will be a new direction for my work. I think it will be much fun. I’ve never modeled a decent looking car or a bird before either, so bear with me. I love any advice you all can give me.

About the concept: I’m not a wonderful painter, but this helps with the colors. I sketched it with pencil and colored it in Photoshop.

Cheers and God bless.

nice! :slight_smile:


!! :yes:

That’s very interesting, ememesee, but I’m not sure how it pertains to this artwork. Are you suggesting that I put this on Wikipainting? I’m trying to learn how to paint, but it is time consuming. (It will have huge payoffs, though)

As far as progress goes, I’m in the stage of collecting reference images. I can photograph my own asphalt textures, or even paint them, but I’m not sure how I will texture the bird. I’m concerned the reference photos will be too low res to actually use, so I’ll probably just reference them and paint by hand. Stay tuned.

Cheers and God bless.

I’ve been modeling the bird, which I decided was a cardinal. I know next nothing about organic modeling, topology, edgeloops, any of that stuff, so advice and constructive criticism from you more experienced modelers would be great.

I have here a screen cap of the model in the view, both solid and wire frame. It is not intended to match the cardinal exactly, but just to get a likeness. I am also including the .blend. I would love anyone to take a look at it and tell me what they think of my topology, as I know it’s hard to see in the screenshots. Thanks in advance, and I’ll see you later.



Cheers and God bless.


Cardinal for web.blend (242 KB)

It looks like the bird in your reference picture has turned its head towards the camera. Maybe you should find a reference picture where the whole bird is seen from the side.


Very helpful picture, thanks.

Cheers and God bless.

I’m almost done with the bird, I just need to do the eyes and then figure out how to add the feathers. If anyone has any suggestions on creating feathers, I’d love to hear them.

If anyone is curious how I did the “shaded wireframe” render, then look at this tutorial.

Cheers and God bless.

I have roughed out the environment in 3D to get better idea of lighting and mood. The green areas will have grass in them later. Ignore the noisiness in some places, it was rendered with Luxrender and I didn’t let it “cook” for very long. Love to hear comments.

Cheers and God bless.

http://blenderartists.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-77818.html old discussion on feathers, tough thing to accomplish in 3d.

You should try to make the eye and the beak separate entities. Not saying you should make them separate objects, just that they shouldn’t share vertices. If you animate the beak now, the eye socket will probably deform.

Thanks for the advice, both of you. Mazui, how would you recommend I “rewire” that portion of the face? Remember, I am new to organic work and I have little experience in this area.

Cheers and God bless.

It’s the same as always, you have to find flows in what you model and emulate them. In this case it would be good to look for where the beak ends and the body begins and make a loop there. Next you might wonder “what defines the eye socket?”, well a circle probably, so add a circle shaped loop around the eye socket.

Try to make billowing lines. Zigzag edges will probably confuse you and not render very well.


You could do a little experiment next time you buy a chicken; take a ball point pen and draw a circle where the wing connects to the body. Draw another ring a bit further up on the wing and connect the circles with a few perpendicular lines. Do the same with the legs (and feet if there are any) and keep going all over the body, following whatever lines you find in there. In the end you should have a mesh that would look good in blender. :slight_smile:

Here’s the file if you would like a closer examination:

Keep in mind that this is just a solution, not the solution. I haven’t spent very long time on it, so there may be problems with it.

Anyway, making a clean mesh with good flows is like a puzzle, and quite fun if you’re into puzzle solving. :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot for the topology tips, Mazui. I think I am done with the bird under-structure (if that’s what it’s called) and am proceeding to the car. I never can get my blueprints to the correct size, it seems, so if any of you fantastic car modelers could share some knowledge, it would help me greatly. Thanks for looking, everyone.

Cheers and God bless.

It doesn’t look like you have quite grasped the concept of flows yet.
The control the shape of what you are modeling.
For example the opening of the mouth is a flow. Now it looks like the corner of the mouth on your bird is melting and there’s not much you can do about it with your current mesh.
But if you had a loop along that flow, you could use it to control the roundness of the edge.

I’m not quite sure of the designations of these thing, so let’s just call them hoops and loops for now. :slight_smile: It’s loops that you should use.

In this picture I have marked what I consider primary loops in orange, and secondary in blue and green. The secondary loops are quite fuzzy and not that important.


Hope it’s a bit clearer now. :slight_smile:

birdloops… lol

Thank you so much for taking time to explain this, Mazui. I believe I’m starting to get it. The info I’m gaining here will be invaluable if I decide to enter CgChallenge #24, found here, and model some characters (I’m sure it won’t make it much easier, but it will help).

I have an image of the bird with the suggested edge loop changes. That cardinal paintover is great at illustrating this concept; thank you. It does flow better and the beak is starting to resemble a beak.

I’m eagerly awaiting comments.

Cheers and God bless.

Much better. :slight_smile:

Good luck in the challenge

Thank you for the vote of confidence, Mazui. I will now move on to the car. This should be interesting.:slight_smile:

Cheers and God bless.

I know it’s been a while since I updated this, but personal commitments and technical difficulties with my monitor (which I have thankfully resolved) have kept me from it. I’m still trying to decide what car I would like to use, I’m thinking something kind of boring and typical, maybe a sedan. I will take suggestions on the matter.

Cheers and God bless.

I gave the bird some wings. I’m done with him for now, and am heading to the car.

Cheers and God bless.