Program Progress


7/02/2014 Knocked a couple of bugs out of the program and changed the user locators to define the wing. It now doesn’t require the user to move locators, but will instead judge the shape of the wing based on key feathers’ bounding boxes. I’ve also changed it so that it can make asymmetrical wings.

6/19/2014 Wing Creator Version 2.0 is now available for download! I’m still knocking a couple bugs out of it, but it’s stable and works strong! I got a job at a video game studio in February so progress on it slowed to a crawl before I got version 2 out.
Here are some of the things that are fixed/new on v2.0:
– Fixed the gimbal waver in the wing fold.
– Fixed the downward rotation of the covert feathers when wing was moved, causing them to penetrate the feathers beneath. Feathers WILL still inter-penetrate, but will do so with the feathers to either side, not the feathers directly below them. Any further feather inter-penetration issues probably need to be dealt with in a different manner, probably with something that corrects penetration and feather stacking during render time.
– Added ability to make wings for models in the +z or -z directions.
– Aligned the controls with the joints or the feathers for better animation.
– Added ability to create different types of wings such as hawk or falcon. This is in the test stage and more will be added based on user input. Sparrow wing shape and Pennant winged nightjar are likely to be the next to be added. (Yes, I’m still stuck on the nightjars- they’re just so cool!)
– Made the controllers dynamic, so that the user can specify the wing shape via three locators and the controllers are built upon that.
– Made a better hawk wing shape, the previous shape was very splayed out and the new one is in a more mid-position/neutral position.
– Added scaling for the feathers in the X direction. previously they only scaled in Z direction. This gives nicer looking feathers.

10/9/2013 Wing Creator Version 2.0 is in testing and bug swatting stage. Please see my recent Blog Post if you are interested in Version 2.0 of Wing Creator.

9/2/2013 Please see the recent blog post, I’m to exhausted to repost the relevant info here. Also see the Post before it to see why updates have been coming so very slowly, especially the past few months.

3/15/2013 Fixed the auto wingfold problem! The fix for the wingfold will be added to the next upload on this in the coming months since it’s a somewhat minor change that fixed it. I still cannot figure out a good solution for the interpenetration issue. Still working on this around other projects, work and life. Will be adding more wing shapes to this next and still poking at the penetration issue. I need to have someone else who is good at rigging take a look at this to see if they have any better suggestions on it.

10/15/2012 Ok, I lied, when I said “by the weekend” I really meant “monday night”, but the program is now up! I’ll be uploading it to Creativecrash tomorrow hopefully. Check out the Download page for more information and to download the Wing Generator script and other files.

The script is still a work in progress. It has two major issues I need to fix on it. The first is that for some reason the covert feathers rotate downward into the primaries when the wing is moved.

Covert feather rotation problem

The rig is still useable with this problem, however, since the feathers can be tweaked with the group controls and the feathers animated out of those problem positions. This is not a solution, however, and it’s aggravating to animators to have to tweak feather groups to animate out of problem positions.

Second problem is the wingfold on the auto wingfold is very messy. I need to clean it up so that the feathers aren’t smoooooshed together so much, and so that the wing is not so planar on folding.

Not so pretty auto wingfold

Other small things to work on or look into for future work:
-Making a higher quality feather model instead of the planes the base model has.
-Seeing how much or how little the feathers interpenetrate once better feathers are used and during regular animation. If there are very noticeable interpenetrations, then creating a second script to solve for the noticeable interpenetration on a final animation.
-Add scapular feathers
-Add different wing shapes the script can create.
-Add in different automatic controls in addition to the wingfold, such as an automatic flap cycle.

10/12/2012 The last little bits have been ironed out on it and I’m working on updating the download page now. It should be done and the program available by this weekend!

9/27/2012 Fixed!!!! I could flail and run around my apartment right now with glee if it weren’t for the fact that it’s nearly 2am and my downstairs neighbors wouldn’t appreciate that sort of behavior. It’s taking me 5x as long as expected to get things fixed or worked on due to some extreme family health problems (please, wish us all the best, we need it right now), but it’s finally fixed! The problem I reported on 8/10, the one where I couldn’t get the variables to pass correctly between the GUI file and the python script on button press, is now fixed. I scrapped the GUI file written in QT designer and instead wrote a GUI from scratch in python. Now the program works completely as far as I can tell right now (I’ll run it through more rigorously tomorrow) and it will run from the scripts directory with a simple import and function call. I couldn’t get it to work unless it was copy pasted before, but now the new GUI fixed both issues. I’m so close to finally getting to put this up for others to use.
…..maybe I will flail and run around my apartment in glee.

8/10/2012 – Moved the thesis page to my webpage and finished updating all the pages. All that’s left is to finish cleaning up the Wing Creator and post it to Creative Crash. There’s still a couple programming bugs that I need to work out before I post it; for some reason when run from the script editor the program works like a charm, but if the code is imported and then run then the UI doesn’t call back to the python code for button functions. Urk. I can’t quite figure out the difference in how Maya executes a program directly vs importing and running, which I thought were the same. Hm… Still working on it.

4/5/2012 – Updated the Anatomy page. Will add more details as I go. The Bird anatomy page still needs a little more love to it, but it’s much closer to be completely updated now! Including tutorials and references by others. If you have any suggestions for this page (like other tutorials that could help for example) please email me your ideas at!

3/29/2012 – Updating web page. Updated home page, and About page. More updates to follow soon. (Once I get this page updated, I can begin working on the fun part- the program and rig!) I’m still trying to figure out what the legal stuff entails as to posting the program and the entire thesis on here for people to use. Once I do, I will post those here as well.