WIP BWC 2008 - Threesome

A new year and a new BWC. So lets get to work again :cool:

I had quite some ideas, but either not really satisfying or frankly to complex for me to master.
I have settled now on an idea, where you can see the first rough sketches below. Its quite simply an owl attacking a snake. The scene will probably be set at a time around dusk, so the lighting will be interesting to master.
I aim for a fairly realistic image, so I will have to tackle the scales and feather topics. The idea is also to portrait a very short moment in time like kind a high speed camera, showing the moment just right before the mess begins.

I did some sketches to find a direction for my composition, and also played around with some surroundings and color schemes. Working with different layers in gimp sped up the experimenting quite alot.

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I decided to start with the snake.

I’m am now in the state, where I want to develop the right technique for a believable snake.
I followed the technique for creating vines mentioned by Clean3D in his tutorial to get the basic shape (without head). This is a nice and easy way to adjust the length and shape of the snake’s body. I also found a quick trick to get the broad scales on the snakes belly.

I thought long about the best way to get convincing scales and settled for now with the following approach:
I created one scale and dupliverted it on a fractal subdivided plane (low random factor). Then I just did a AO render and saved the result.
In gimp I adjusted the contrast and made a seamless tile out of it.
Then I applied this tile image as displacement map on my subdivided snake body (Level 5). The results can be seen with the attached images.
I also tried the normalmap plugin to generate a normalmap to avoid the high subdivision level, but found that the displacement method just looks better. I just have to keep raytracing the snake at a minimum to have bearable rendertimes

I found, that as soon if I want to change the diameter of the snake to form the tail I had to apply the array modifier and scale directly parts of the resulting mesh. Do you know of any method to modulate the scaling along the curve using modifiers without having to apply the array modifier.

Below are test renders for a snake body without displacement, with displacement and a quick test material applied

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not bad, were you inspired by my concept, or is it just coincidence:D.
My only crit at the moment is the scails should overlap each other and be more angular.

wow!
awesome modeling/texturing so far

I was quite surprised when I saw your concept. This is a real coincidence.
Well, there are a lot of differences, not the least the scale of your eagle, that should help to tell our entries apart :smiley:

Regarding the scales: Right now it is a start to find the proper technique. At the moment I have a relatively small displacement map repeated all over the mesh. To get rid of any probably noticeable repetitions, I would have to create one big displacement map, which I want to avoid at the moment ( my computer can’t handle too much load :(). But this area has to be improved.

I worked on different aspects of my technique for the snake skin and think I have found a tolerable way, which I will use for the real snake model.

Now I will actually start to model the snake.

Here are 2 additional test renders, which show the actual state of the snake skin. Keep in mind though that the colors and texturing are just a test and I have not even seriously started to work on this aspect.

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wow, this is pretty awsome, the scales tho are a bit too shiny though, other than that its excellent. try making the hard value smaller, and also the spec value.

Great start!

Make sure to submit your WIP thread over at the BWC website so people visiting the website can follow your progress more easely:
http://bwc.blenderartists.org
(in the entry section)

I suggest every other participant do so!

Thank you all for your input.

Yes the specularity right now is not good. Its just a dummy setting right now. I will work on the real material after modelling the snake.

To have the links in one place is an excellent idea this year. I already have sent an email with the link to my wip thread to [email protected] as is stated on the bwc site. I think it takes some time until the links are put into place.

Started modelling the snake’s head

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further snake head modelling …

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reworked the inside of the mouth

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So the upper part is roughly done.

I will model the body separately using the technique mentioned in my second post. When I am fine with the overall shape and of the body, I will have to apply the mirror modifier for the head part and the array and curve guide modifier from the body and then stitch them together. I really hope, that I don’t have to do some major rework later on.

Also unclear right now is how the uv unwrapping and texturing process will look :spin:

I think I will do some tests before rushing into serious troubles …

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Since I am right now stuck with the direction I should go with the texturing of my snake ( -> see my call for help ) I did some preliminary tests to see if I am able to generate some realistic feathers for the owl.

I played around with the new particle system and think I will be able to pull this off in a plausible way.

See attached a quick test render for a technique for the feathers of the main body

If anyone can help me with my texturing problem, please do so !

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see ‘call for help’ thred.

Next update on the snake.

This one really gave me headaches. Using curves as guides to define the shape of the snake’s body is non trivial ( see this thread ).

There seems to be no real solution ( at least to my knowledge) to avoid these sudden 360° twists for 3D curves when the curve changes direction.

I still have no real solution.

What I did then, was to first create the curve shape seen from aobove looking z direction using a 2D curve and then to convert it to a 3D one. Then I added the Z direction of the snake body … and still got these twists in the area where the head was to be attached.:spin:

The next challenge was ( and partly still is) to find a working solution for texturing this beast without using huge textures. I hope I have a workable solution (but with all these surprises so far I better be pessimistic) . I already did the uv unwrapping of the snake’s body ( neck and head section are still not done).

Below you can see now the whole snake in a pose, which already resembles the final one. Never mind the material, it just to get an idea of the scales.

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Looks good so far, the Material needs to have a little more hardness added to it. Also, I liked that second texture you used a little better, the brownish one right before the head update.

Thanks nfollmer

Yes the texture right now is just a plain color with normal and disp map to get an idea of how the scales are distributed. The mesh on the head and broad neck is not uv wrapped at all. After I finished the uv unwrapping of the head section I will start to create a real texture.

Wahoo, looking damn good so far. keep up the great work (just updating your link to this thread)

I think the snake looks great considering the early stage you are at. Love the modelling. Could you post a wireframe of it?

About the twist, as far as I understand it the twists happens whenever the curve goes almost parallel to the Z axis which probably has to do with the mathemtical definition of the handles. There seems to be no easy fix for it but to keep the curve from going parallel to the z-axis or to hide the twist behind some other geometry.