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Making Of 'Trapped'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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What I would like to do is to pick of the animals the characteristics that more fascinate me.

During a recent travel I have taken some photo at the "Bird Park" of Kuala Lumpur. Immediately I've been captured by the expression of this parrot"¦.One strange mixture of drama, given from the animal in cage, and of fun given by the behaviour typical of these animals.

I always loved those birds and having time ago modeled a Macaw, I have thought to give it a pose trying to recreate part of the photographed scene"¦

I have used Maya 8.0 for the modelling (polygonal) and MentalRay for the rendering. The lighting is given by an HDRI probe and two lights. Background and depth of field are rendered within Maya. There is not postwork, only an accentuation of the contrast in Photoshop also used to create the textures.


When I have modeled the Macaw, some month ago, I still did not have in mind the final scene, I just wanted to do practice and only to be amused.

The modelling type is polygonal. First of all I have modeled the Macaw (lowpoly) in a standard position, on its tripod (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Starting from a plan I have extruded the edges trying to follow as more as possible the reference images. I have begun from the head and than modeled the rest of the body. Initially I have recreated only half of the body in order to keep the mapping of the Uvs simpler. (Fig.02)

Fig. 02

From that moment to the composition of the scene "Trapped" they are passed several months. Returned from a travel in the south-east of Asia I have found in some of the photos that I had taken one good motivation in order to resume the model of the parrot and to try to give it more peculiarity.To recreate a 3D scene from a photography is always a big challenge but why not to give it a chance!:)

Therefore I have decided to try"¦ I have opened the "old" model in Maya, I have divided the beak (before was joined) and I have modeled the inside of the mouth and the tongue (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

The layout of the Uvs is always boring and slow but needs to be done in the right way to achieve good textures. I used a mixture of planar and cylindrical projections for that. Once finished with the UVs I have duplicated the other half of the model, merged vertices and I have put it in pose using a pair of joints in order to move the head and the leg. I have decided to choose a different camera angle from the one of the reference photo (Fig.04) because the frontal angle seemed too much extreme and the colors of the head feathers would be remained too much hidden. Therefore I have tried several angles-shot and focal lenses till I have found which seemed to be the better choice.

Fig. 04

I have deleted (Cut Face Tool) all the parts outside of the camera gate in order to make the scene lighter and than I have recreated the portion of cage that I needed. I have modeled (Maya Sculpt) the details after I have made the mesh more dense expecially close to the beak and the eyes. I have then added some fur using Maya 3D Paint Tool, on the head close to the nostrils in order to render the parrot side more realistic. (Fig.05) The eye is modeled in two parts, one inner and one external that I have used to render the circular glare and to give a bit the sense of depth. (Fig.06)

Fig. 05
Fig. 06

continued on next page >

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