Feather Creator



After couple of bird rigging projects i prepared wing & feather automation tool. It seems like most of the birds have same pattern of feather segments with variation on number of feathers in these segments.

Intro ck_featherCreate_1.1:

ck_featherCreate is maya rigging tool for wing and feather automation.

How to  install:

  • copy scripts to    > scrips directory E.g.// Documents\maya\2017\prefs\scripts
  • copy icons to       > icons directory   E.g.// Documents\maya\2017\prefs\scripts
  • copy textures to  > scene project directory
  • run command     >  ck_featherCreateUI


Working with Base scene:

  • base scene is not prerequisite for running the script however it is easier  to start using the setup. Load the scene, curves and wing are already placed.
  • open UI by running command,  “ck_featherCreateUI”
  • on UI “offs” controls distance between feather groups, “Ins” controls rotation between each group, “rand”  controls rand scale variation between individual groups
  • Ui comes with already defined curve segments and wing root for left side.  Press buttons in this order>  +createFeathers+ createRig +cleanUp
  • for right side select and define curve segments and wing root joint on UI. Press buttons in same order. +createFeathers+ createRig +cleanUp


How script works(underHood):

  1. from defined Curves create mid-curves(via weighted BS)
  2. on curves , loft surfaces, and on surface create follicles. Each follicle control one cvCurves control-point
  3. Each Curve Drive joint-chain Ik handle system. twist will be achieved by base and tip surface tangent. Feathers are scattered according to feather type and curve length.
  4. Surface is controlled by wigs root joints. Each control has parent switch for folding feature.

Limitations & future Improvements>

  • Folding is still experimental. Wing parent switches should be enough for folding. However generally it may require extra blend-shapes on attachment surfaces.
  • mirroring can be automated, On current version (1.1) mirroring is done by redefining guide curves.
  • On current version (1.1) rigging should be done on flat T posed wing. On posed wing rig still works correctl however feather alignments may be problematic. On next version there can be intermediary stage between feather creation and rigging for extra alignment control.
  • this alignment system can be kept after rigging  for secondary control on folding.
  • as most of the birds have same pattern of feather segments with variation on number of feathers in primary and secondary row rig should be flexible on wide range of wing types. However on some birds, secondary coverts becomes two layers of feathers instead of one ( reference Image,  bottom-right, chicken wing).  Custom wing segments can be added next release.

Version History

  • 1.0 first working version
  • 1.1 cleanUp function added, group nodes for cleaner outline




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