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Modelling & Rigging a Cartoon Parrot in Maya: Part 2

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This post is part of a series called Modelling & Rigging a Cartoon Parrot in Maya.
Modeling & Rigging a Cartoon Parrot In Maya: Part 1
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

1. Modelling the Eyes

Step 1



Open the project file which you had saved in the last part of the tutorial. In the side view, navigate to Create > NURBS Primitives > Sphere command. Then draw a sphere in the viewport and put it around the eye area.

Making Sphere for Eye Shape
Making Sphere for Eye Shape

Step 2


With the sphere selected, navigate to the Channel Editor and set the End Sweep value as 346.249. The value may differ in your case. This option turns the sphere into an opened eye shape. Change the Section value to 10 and Spans value to 5.  

Changing the Parameters of the Sphere
Changing the Parameters of the Sphere

Step 3


With the NURBS sphere selected, navigate to Modify > Convert and click on NURBS to Polygon option box.

Convert the Sphere to Polygon
Convert the Sphere to Polygon

Step 4


This opens the Convert NURBS to Polygon Options box. From here, turn on Control Points radio button and then click on Tessellate button to apply this command.

Tessellate the Sphere
Tessellate the Sphere

Step 5


Now, the NURBS sphere is converted into a polygon. The base NURBS sphere remains in the same place.

The Polygonal Sphere
The Polygonal Sphere

You don't need the base NURBS sphere. So, with the base NURBS sphere selected, press Delete command to delete that.

Delete the Original Sphere
Delete the Original Sphere

Step 6


With the sphere selected, go to Show > Isolate Select and then turn on View Selected check box to isolate it.

Isolating the Sphere
Isolating the Sphere

Step 7

Now, press F11 key to jump into face selection mode and then select and delete the indicated back faces as shown in the following image.

Select the Faces
Select the Faces

Then turn off View Selected check box to unhide the hidden objects.

Unhide the Sphere
Unhide the Sphere


Step 8


Next, first select the body mesh and then with Shift key pressed, select the eye mesh. Then go to Mesh > Combine command to attach the selected meshes together.

Combining the Meshes
Combining the Meshes

Step 9


After combining the meshes, you need to merge the vertices.  Navigate to Edit Mesh menu and select Merge Vertex Tool.

Merging the Vertices
Merging the Vertices

With the Merge Vertex Tool selected, select the corresponding vertices and merge them together.

Selecting Corresponding Vertices and Merging
Selecting Corresponding Vertices and Merging

Step 10


With the help of Insert Edge Loop Tool, insert several edge loops according to the mesh topology. In this way, you have completed the eyelids.

Inserting Edge Loop Tool
Inserting Edge Loop Tool

2. Modelling the Tongue


Step 1



Create a polygonal box primitive with Height, Width and Depth subdivision values as 2 and place it inside the mouth of the parrot.

Creating a Box
Creating a Box

Step 2


Select and delete the half faces of the box. With the rest part of the box selected, go to Edit > Duplicate Special.

Making the Box Symmetrical
Making the Box Symmetrical

Step 3


After duplicating the box polygon mesh, select its both sides and then go to Show menu in the panel menu bar and then select Isolate Select and turn on View Selected check box to isolate the selected objects.

Isolating the Boxes
Isolating the Boxes

Step 4


Being in the vertex selection mode, edit the vertices to form the shape like the tongue.

Editing the Vertices of the Tongue
Editing the Vertices of the Tongue

Step 5


To add smoothness to the tongue mesh, you need to increase the subdivisions. With the tongue mesh selected, go to Mesh > Smooth command to smooth the selected mesh.

Smoothing the Tongue
Smoothing the Tongue
After smoothing the mesh, it will look like this.
Smooth Result
Smooth Result

Step 6


After smoothing the tongue mesh, edit the tongue shape as shown in the following image.

Editing the Tongue Mesh
Editing the Tongue Mesh

3. Modelling the Throat

Step 1


In this step you will model the throat. Navigate to Create > NURBS Primitives > Cone.

Creating a Cone
Creating a Cone

Create a cone shape on the grid with the values of Spans as 4 and Sections as 8

Creating a Cone Shape
Creating a Cone Shape

Step 2


Put this cone inside the mouth and around the throat area. With the cone surface object selected, right click and select Control Vertex option to edit it in the vertex selection mode.

Put the Cone Inside the Mouth
Put the Cone Inside the Mouth

Edit the vertices of the throat mesh to form the shape as shown in the following image.

Editing the Vertices of the Cone
Editing the Vertices of the Cone

4. Joining Meshes

Step 1


Unhide the opposite side of the body. With both sides’ meshes selected, go to Mesh > Combine command to attach the selected meshes together.

Joining Meshes Together
Joining Meshes Together

Step 2


After combining the meshes, turn on vertex selection mode and then select both sides’ border vertices. Navigate to Edit Mesh > Merge command to merge the selected vertices together.

Merging the Meshes Together
Merging the Meshes Together

5. Modelling Feathers

Step 1


Now you will start modelling the feathers. Create a plane polygon primitive with the values of Height subdivisions as 5 and Width subdivision as 2. In the vertex selection mode, edit the vertices to form the shape as shown in the following image.

Making Feathers
Making Feathers

Step 2


Make a duplicate copy of the feather mesh. Delete the two row’s faces of the duplicate mesh and place it over the previous feather mesh.

Duplicating the Feather
Duplicating the Feather

Step 3


Make two more copies of the feather and place them as shown in the following image.

Making Small Feathers
Making Small Feathers

Step 4


With all three feathers selected, go to Edit > Group command to group the selected feathers together.

Group the Feathers
Group the Feathers

Step 5


With the group of the feathers selected, go to Modify > Center Pivot to place the pivot to the center.

Changing the Center Pivot of the Grouped Feathers
Changing the Center Pivot of the Grouped Feathers

Step 6


With the D key pressed, move the pivot in Z axis to the starting point of the feathers as shown in the following image.

Changing The Pivot
Changing the Pivot

Step 7


Make a duplicate entity of the grouped mesh and scale it in Y axis to flip in the opposite side.

Duplicating the Feathers Group
Duplicating the Feathers Group

With both feathers group selected, group them together.

Make the Group of the Feathers
Make the Group of the Feathers

Step 8


Make a copy of the feather group and place it beneath the arm of the parrot as shown in the following image.

Placing the Feathers
Placing the Feathers

Following the same process, create three more copies of the feather and place them at the different joint bends as shown in the following image. Scale them accordingly, too.

Distributed Placement of the Feathers
Distributed Placement of the Feathers

Step 9


In this way, you have arranged the feathers like this.

Arranging the Feathers
Arranging the Feathers

Do same with the opposite side, as well.

Duplicating the Feathers
Duplicating the Feathers

Step 10


Following the same process, make the tail feathers also.

Making Tail Feathers
Making Tail Feathers

Step 11


Make the crown feathers also as shown in the following image.

Making  Crown Feathers
Making  Crown Feathers

Step 12


You can see the result in the shaded mode what you have created so far.

The Result So Far
The Result So Far

6. Unwrapping the Body Mesh

Step 1


The next step is unwrapping. With the body mesh selected, navigate to Show menu in panel menu bar, select Isolate Select and then turn on View Selected check box.

Hiding the Feathers
Hiding the Feathers

Step 2


With the body mesh selected, go to Edit UVs > UV Texture Editor command.

Opening UV Texture Editor
Opening UV Texture Editor

Step 3


It opens the UV Texture Editor window. The UV structure looks quite messy. So, you have to unwrap it properly as per the requirement.

A Messy UV Distribution
A Messy UV Distribution

Step 4


You will unwrap the shells part wise. With the body mesh selected, navigate to Create UVs > Planar Mapping command.

Applying Planar Mapping
Applying Planar Mapping

After applying the Planar Mapping command, you will see something similar to this in the UVs Editor window.

A Better Look of UV
A Better Look of UV

Step 5


Now, you will make separate shells for unwrapping. In the edge selection mode, double click on neck edge loop for loop selection. With the loop selected, go to Polygon > Cut UV Edges in UVs Editor window.

Selecting the Neck Edge Loop
Selecting the Neck Edge Loop

Step 6


After cutting the shell, turn on face selection mode by pressing F11 key and select any face inside the shell area. With the face selected, go to Select > Select Shell command in UVs Editor window.

Select the Neck Shell
Select the Neck Shell

After applying Select Shell command, you can see separate shell created in the UV Editor.

Selecting the Entire Neck Shell
Selecting the Entire Neck Shell

Step 7


Next, with both arms edge loops selected, navigate to Polygons > Cut UV Edges.  

Cutting UV Edges
Cutting UV Edges

Now select both arms’ shells just like you did in an earlier step.

Selecting the Arms Shells
Selecting the Arm's Shells

Step 8


In the same way, you have selected the legs’ shells.

Selecting the Legs Shells
Selecting the Leg's Shells

And the torso part, also.

Selecting the Torsos shell
Selecting the Torso's shell

7. Applying Map in Head Shell

Step 1


With the head mesh shell selected, go to Create UVs > Spherical Mapping.

Selecting the Head Mesh
Selecting the Head Mesh

Step 2


After applying the Spherical Mapping, the head shell gets unwrapped. Though this is not relaxed and unfolded properly. You need to unfold and relax the UVs.

Unwrapping the Head Mesh
Unwrapping the Head Mesh

Step 3


Select the UVs by pressing F12 key and then navigate to Polygons > Unfold command to unfold selected UVs shell.

Unfolding the UV
Unfolding the UV

Step 4


After applying the Unfold command, you can see the eye area UVs is still not unfolded properly. Select the eyes’ UVs and then navigate to Polygons > Relax option box to open its settings window.

Relaxing the Head UV
Relaxing the Head UV

In the Relax UVs Options window, check the Pin UVs option, turn on Pin unselected UVs radio button and then keep Maximum iterations value as 1 and then click on Relax button.

Changing the Parameters of Relax UVs Options Box
Changing the Parameters of Relax UVs Options Box

Step 5


In this way, you have unwrapped the head shell UVs properly.

Final Unwrapped Heads UVs

8. Applying Map in Body Shell

Step 1

With the torso shell selected, navigate to Create UVs > Cylinder Mapping tool to apply the cylindrical map.

Selecting the Body Faces
Selecting the Body Faces

After applying the Cylinder Mapping tool, the torso shell gets unwrapped. But it looks quite messy. You will follow the same procedure as you did with head UVs.

Applying Cylindrical Mapping
Applying Cylindrical Mapping

Step 2

After using Unfold and Relax tools, the torso UVs gets unwrapped quite properly.

Unfolding and Relaxing the Body UV
Unfolding and Relaxing the Body UV

9. Joining Head and Body Shells

Step 1

In this part of the process you need to join the head and the torso UVs together. Put both UVs nearby each other. You may need to scale the UVs to match the size mutually.

Selecting Body and Head UVs
Selecting Body and Head UVs

Step 2

Press F10 key for edge selection mode and then select the border edge loops which you need to sew. Then navigate to Polygons > Move and Sew UV Edges command in the UV Texture Editor.

Sewing Body and Head UVs
Sewing Body and Head UVs

Step 3

The head and the body UVs are connected in one shell. You can also tweak the UVs in UVs selection mode.

Final Unwrapped Head and Body UVs
Final Unwrapped Head and Body UVs

10. Applying Map in Thigh Shell

Step 1

Now, you will unwrap the parrot’s thighs.  With the left side thigh shell selected, navigate to Create UVs > Cylinder Mapping tool.

Selecting Thigh Faces
Selecting Thigh Faces

Step 2

After applying the Cylinder Mapping tool, select the entire UVs shell in the UV Texture Editor window and then go to Tool > Smooth UV Tool.

Smoothing Thigh UV
Smoothing Thigh UV

Step 3

After applying the Smooth UV Tool, you will see a small menu inside the UV Texture Editor window. In this menu, click and slide the left mouse button on the Unfold button. You will see the UVs being unfolded.

Unfolding and Relaxing the Thigh UV
Unfolding and Relaxing the Thigh UV

Step 4

Now, you have to attach or sew the gap area. So, with the open edges selected, navigate to Polygons > Sew UV Edges tool.

Sewing the Thigh UV
Sewing the Thigh UV

Step 5

In this way, you have edited both sides’ thigh’s shells by using tools and manually editing.

Thigh Shells Unwrapped
Thigh Shells Unwrapped

11. Applying Map in Arm Shell

Step 1

Now, you will unwrap the parrot’s hands. With the left side’s hand’s shell selected, navigate to Create UVs > Cylinder Mapping tool. 

Selecting the Arm Faces
Selecting the Arm Faces

You can see the UVs in the UV Texture Editor window. This is a closed UVs shell, so you need to divide it in two parts.

Unfolding the Arm UV
Unfolding the Arm UV

Step 2

Press F10 key for edge selection mode and then select the edge loop as shown in the following image.

Defining the Edge Seams
Defining the Edge Seams

Then navigate to Polygons > Cut UV Edges tool in UV Texture Editor.

Unfolding the Arm UV
Unfolding the Arm UV

Step 3

Next, apply Planar Map just like you did previously. It should now look like the following image.

Applying Planar Map
Applying Planar Map

Step 4

Select the border edge loop of any of the shells and then navigate to Polygons > Move and Sew UV Edges command.  

Sewing the Arms UVs
Sewing the Arm's UVs

Step 5

After using Move and Sew UV Edges command, navigate to Tool > Smooth UV Tool. Then slide and drag the Unfold and Relax buttons on Smooth UV Tool.

Unfolding and Relaxing the Arms UV
Unfolding and Relaxing the Arm's UV

Step 6

In this way, you have unwrapped both sides’ hands UVs.

Final Unwrapped Hands UVs
Final Unwrapped Hand's UVs

Step 7

After unwrapping the upper body parts, arrange the UVs layout as shown in UV Texture Editor window.

Arranging All UVs
Arranging All UVs

12. Unwrapping Legs

Step 1

You will need to unwrap the parrot’s legs. With the leg selected, navigate to Show > Isolate Select and then check on View Selected to make it isolated.

Selecting the Legs Faces
Selecting the Leg's Faces

Step 2

In the edge selection mode, select the indicated edge loop as shown in the following image. Then navigate to Edit UVs and select Cut UV Edges.

Cutting Legs UV
Cutting Leg's UV

Step 3

After using Cut UV Edges tool, select the entire shell and then navigate to Create UVs > Cylinder Mapping.

Applying Cylindrical Mapping
Applying Cylindrical Mapping

After applying the Cylinder Mapping, you can see unwrapped UVs inside the UV Texture Editor window. This is however not opened properly.

A Bad UV
A Bad UV

Step 4

So, apply Smooth UV Tool just like you did previously. After editing the UVs, you will see something like this.

Smoothing The UV
Smoothing The UV (A Good UV)

Step 5

Next, select the edge loops as shown in the following image. Then navigate to Edit UVs > Cut UV Edges tool to divide the shell.

Selecting the Edge Loop
Selecting the Edge Loop

Step 6

Next, select the bottom shell and then go to Create UVs > Planar Mapping.

Applying Planar Mapping
Applying Planar Mapping

After applying the Planar Mapping, it should look like following image.

Unfolding the UV Map
Unfolding the UV Map

Step 7

After unfolding and relaxing the UVs, it will look like this.

Relaxing the UV Map
Relaxing the UV Map

Step 8

Following the same way, with the upper shell selected, navigate to Create UVs > Planar Mapping.

Applying Planar Mapping
Applying Planar Mapping

Step 9

In this way, you have edited and unwrapped the foot and claws as shown in the following image.

Final Unwrapped Claws UVs
Final Unwrapped Claw's UVs

13. Unwrapping Nails

Step 1

Now you’ll unwrap the nails. So, with the nails selected, navigate to Show > Isolate Select and then turn on View Selected check box.

Selecting the Faces of Nails
Selecting the Faces of Nails

Step 2

In the edge selection mode, select the center edge loop of all nails. Then navigate to Edit UVs > Cut UV Edges.

Cutting the UV Edge
Cutting the UV Edge

Step 3

With the one side shell selected of the nail, navigate to Create UVs > Planar Mapping.

Applying the Planar Mapping
Applying the Planar Mapping

After applying the Planar Mapping command, you can see result in the UV Texture Editor window.

A Planar Mapped Nails UVs
A Planar Mapped Nail's UVs

Step 4

In this way, you have edited both sides’ nails’ UVs and relaxed them properly as shown in the following image.

Relaxing the Nails UVs
Relaxing the Nail's UVs

Step 5

In this way, you have completed all nails UVs as shown in UV Texture Editor window.

Arranging the Nails UVs
Arranging the Nail's UVs

Step 6

After unwrapping the entire leg parts’ UVs, arrange them in the UV Editor as shown in the following image.

Arranging the Claw and Nails UVs
Arranging the Claw and Nails UVs

14. Transferring UV Maps

Step 1

Since you have completed the left leg’s unwrapping, now you need to transfer its UVs map on to the right leg polygon mesh.

Transferring the UV Maps
Transferring the UV Maps

Right now, if you check the UVs of the right leg mesh, it looks quite messy.  

A Bad and Messy UV
A Bad and Messy UV

Step 2

Now, first select the unwrapped left leg and then select the right leg and then go to Mesh > Transfer Attributes option box.

Applying Transfer Attributes

In the Transfer Attributes Options box, turn on Current and Component radio buttons and then click on Transfer button to apply this command.

Changing the Parameters of Transfer Attributes
Changing the Parameters of Transfer Attributes

Step 3

After applying the Transfer command, select the right leg and check its UVs in the UV Texture Editor window. Now, it looks quite perfect.

A Good UV
A Good UV

15. Unwrapping Feathers

Step 1

Now, unwrap the feathers. So turn on the layer visibility button which you had created previously, and then select any of the feathers in the group.

Unhiding the Feathers
Unhiding the Feathers

Step 2

After applying, the Planar Map and Relax Tool, you can see the unwrapped UVs of the feather in the UV Texture Editor window.

Unfolding the Feather
Unfolding the Feather

Step 3

Once you have unwrapped a feather mesh successfully, just transfer its UVs to the rest of the feathers also using Transfer Attribute command just like you did previously.

Transferring the Attributes To Other Feathers
Transferring the Attributes To Other Feathers

Step 4

In this way, you have completed the unwraping of all parts of the parrot. In the next part of the tutorial, I will show you how to implement texturing.

Unwrapping Done
Unwrapping Done

Conclusion

In this tutorial I have shown you how to how to model the eye, tongue, throat and feathers of a parrot. In the next part of the tutorial, I will teach how to unwrap the model for texturing. 

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