Thunbergia gretae (Martens, 2020) - Opiliones: Sclerosomatidae: Gagrellinae


Here are my attempts at modelling a male specimen of the harvestman species Thunbergia gretae. It was quite a fun project if a little tricky (all I had to go on were the paper descriptions and line drawings, and man, biological stuff is hard to texture compared to furniture).

For modelling I used “non-sculpting” methods. The spines were made with geometry nodes, and the hairs on the palps were made using the new 3.3. hair system. Lighting was achieved with various HDRIs and area lamps if necessary. Materials were made in Materialize, or by chaining stuff together in Blender.

My goal was to create macro style images, using the Canon EF 100mm lens as a basis for capability. So, I rendered the 3rd/4th images at 1:1 scale (the body of the harvestman is 6.6mm) to explore how blender would handle small scenes.

In making this project I also made a setup for procedural star mosses and created some Gingko biloba leaf assets. I have some more renders in mind, but for now I am happy with the results.

More details of the project can be found here. Also thanks to @silex, @joseph, @etn249 and others for help/suggestions as well.

Any comments, criticisms, etc. welcome.

Technical portraits:


I do not like spiders. At all. That being said, this is really impressive work! Seeing such a technical breakdown of this subject gives me more appreciation for spiders than I’ve ever had before, which I would call an artistic success for you :sweat_smile:

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I really enjoyed watching this project grow, and that you have put a lot of work into making proper research. In my opinion this always pays off. Great job @grant.r.brown !

@joseph it’s fascinating how after closer inspection insect world feels like something completely alien and in some way beautiful. Nature always follows function-over-form principle.



The renders came out great, they capture the sense of scale really well!

I just have a little question though. Wouldn’t such a small creature have at least a little bit of subsurface scattering in its material? I think it could make it look even more realistic.

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Thanks for the kind comments folks.

Boooooo. :stuck_out_tongue:


I think perhaps on the legs, near the joints this would be better. For the rest - I’m not sure. Harvestman have a different cuticle compared to spiders, and I don’t know of any species of harvestman that appear transparent in the way spiders do. Harvestmen are often leathery, and if they have plates like in this species they are often rather rough in appearance. When I looked at other species of Gagrellid I didn’t really see that sort of translucency you might see in spiders e.g. -

I do however think there is still room for improvement in the cuticle material, so I will try for the next render.

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I featured you on BlenderNation, have a great weekend!

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Awesome, thanks!

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