the video on top is a process of the making of a 3D Owl made in Blender.
Last month there was a contest by @perennial, called Wo-owl Drawing/Art Challenge. The theme was Musical Retro Wo-owl, so there was my call to create my first owl in 3D and practice a little more with the Particle System to create the feathers. I didn‘t have the time to work before the weekend as I had little project for my sister going on, so it took me a little long to post this or even to post anything at all:D So here‘s the also a quick guide or read along, how I built my owl. Hope you like it :)
CONCEPT & INSPIRATION
As the contest was already over, I wanted to go for a sort of realistic look, instead of working with the turquoise steem-color and I thought of a gramophone and 20‘s music as I rewatched The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann. You can watch it on Amazon Prime Video. At first I wasn‘t sure if I would integrate the owl on the music player or combine them. So I just started with a messy sketch of an owl on a gramophone in Photoshop and decided to stick with a simple scheme and add details like a certain feather design, pose or hat piece later, as I am not really good in digital illustrations and start to add ideas when I sculpt in ZBrush or model in Blender. But I will start practicing more, as I know this is a very important step.
My main inspiration was the animation movie Legend of the Guardians. I watched it last summer on Netflix to get a little prepared and inspired for my 3D animation and it‘s just so beautifully made! It‘s not the most catching story, but I am mostly amazed how beautifully the 3D Design is! Especially the scenes with the water and how the feathers move in slow-motion! So I visioned that as my end result and researched for photos of barn owls, gramophones & the overall costume design of the Great Gatsby.
IMPLEMENTATION IN 3D
Sculpting & Modeling in Blender
I started with a cube, added the Subsurf- Modifier and formed the body of the owl. Then I added the Multiresolution Modifier and started sculpting the details.
I added two Spheres for the eyes. One for the cornea and one for the iris and mirrored them.
Again, through a cube I added and formed the beak. To create the wings and claws, I had to select a few faces of the body, duplicated (shift+d) and separated (p) the faces and added the Mirror Modifier.
In my Steemkitten-Contest-Post, I mentioned Blender Sculpt Tools, which you can download for free here and installed the Add-on in the User Preferences. After creating separate parts for the claws, I used the Apply Mods and Union- Button to sculpt the claws as one object, instead of just combining the objects (ctrl+c).
This is basically how I modeled the owl, but like I mentioned I decided to give the owl a 20s dapper style outfit, dressing him up with a tie, vest with a pocket watch and a boater, inspired by Tobey Maguire‘s portrayal of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. I am not going into detail here, because I just added new objects and formed them. For extra details, like the thread of the buttons and the chain of the watch, I used the Array- and Curve Modifier, because you just need to create one object, mimeograph the amount of the object and set the direction of the object. By Adding a Path (Curve), you can arrange the alignment of the chain easily (only by deforming the position of the path). Zoom in to see the slower version of the process :)
Particle System : Creating Feathers
I liked the pre-version of the simple owl, but I wanted to test out creating sort of realistic looking feathers. I selected some parts of the body, duplicated and separated them to give the owl different styles of feathers and to keep the design well arranged, then added a Particle System. I actually wanted to make the feathers look full and super soft, but both SheepIt! and RenderStreet gave up on me. It was too intensive for rendering, so I lowered the amount of the Children.
I mostly used Textures from Poliigon for the gramophone and integrated them with the Principled Shader. I texture painted some parts of the owl and basically used a mix of different Shaders in combination with the Hair Shader for look of the feathers.
It started out as some frames for a process gif, but then I decided to render every new object and create a small process video in combination with a final turnaround. This took quite a long time, as I didn‘t always use a renderfarm to render one frame and basically had to wait until the render was done. That‘s why at the beginning you still can see the simple objects at first, but then I decided to add in the final objects with some exceptions at the end. I added a tracking shot panning around the owl, so that I could maintain a smoothness or an effect of a complete (timelapse) animation.
It‘s always difficult for me to decide how to present the model (background/ lighting), but I chose a simple peach color to concentrate on the model itself and adjusted the rotation of the lighting while the tracking shot is done. He are some examples of possible render solutions. I liked the high contrast version, but decided to go with a full lighting option. It‘s always great to find mistakes on the way and work them out rather then rendering your model only at the end and trying to search for different possibilities. But sometimes the preview in Blender is sufficient, depending how much time you want to dedicate. I used an Hdri-Map of an opera for the reflection in the glas and for natural lighting, but also added additional lighting for the Owl.
I used this Vinyl Sound from Freesound.org and the 1st track "2to2" and 9th track "Hot Mittens" from The Bucktown Five of this Free Jazz Collection. I created a gif of the "Process Frames" in Photoshop and combined everything in Premiere, added a Noisy and Glitch Effect and that was it.
Hope you like my Dapper Owl and I am happy to be finally back on Steemit, coming up with some new 3D Stuff and an update of our puppy Neo:) Here are some of my elder 3D posts:
Until next time:)