In 2011, the studio Tu Nous Za Pas Vus entrusted me with an exciting mission: creating a realistic rig for a hen intended for a series. The deadlines were tight, and the main challenge was to manage the feathers convincingly on 3ds Max, which at the time did not have efficient tools for this.
Feather Management

At that time, plugins like Ornatrix were still in development and did not allow us to easily achieve the desired result. It quickly became necessary to develop our own tool for creating and managing feathers.
To meet the deadlines, we needed a solution that was simple to code and use. I designed a tool in maxscript that worked like a scatter tool, allowing us to easily place hundreds of feather instances on our main mesh.
The feathers were automatically placed in a staggered pattern and attached to the hen’s mesh with attachment constraints, with orientation easily adjustable via the script. Modifiers added bounce or wind effects, ensuring a satisfactory result despite the process’s heaviness.
A Giant Pigeon

The next project involved creating a pigeon that could open and close its wings in close-up shots. Understanding how bird wings worked was crucial, leading us to study real birds at a pet store.

Once we understood the movement, we used a combination of path constraints and morphers to achieve a convincing result.
The Griffon: A Major Challenge

For the Impériali project with the studio, the challenge was significant: creating an imposing griffon with two large wings, each with over 150 feathers.
Tool Development

Manually rigging all those feathers was a colossal task, especially while remaining flexible for design changes from the client.

Therefore, I developed an auto-rig tool for the wings that allowed us to draw the desired wing shape, choose the number of bones for the arm, the number of feathers, and levels, and let the script handle the setup symmetrically with a homogeneous placement of feathers.

Each feather was rigged to allow automatic movements simulating wind, with an automatic delay.

Managing Small Feathers

Managing the small feathers was also problematic. Their number made the scene heavy and unstable.
To overcome this, I split the scene into two linked files: a proxy scene for animation and a rendering scene.
Continuous Evolution

Other projects have allowed me to continue developing bird rigs of varying complexities. Each project, with its unique technical challenges, has enriched my experience and honed my skills.

I recently completed the rig of a small parrot for Snowball Studio, which required a detailed rig with numerous options, all within a tight deadline and a constrained budget.

And to finish this blog page, here is one of my favorite projects, the creation of a parrot for the studio.