3D Model: Dragonfly [Epiaeschna Heros]

3D Model of Dragonfly

This 3D model of a Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) Dragonfly was created from photo reference taken from a recently deceased specimen. The photography, modeling and texturing techniques employed are similar to those used to create our 3D Green Crab model [carcinus maenas] previously.

Dissection and Photography
Adult dragonfly typically live only about two months. We were able to identify this specimen as female by the shape of it’s two tail-fins at the extreme end of the abdomen. The species is one of the physically largest of dragonfly in North America. Found throughout the Eastern United States and Canada, westward to Central Oklahoma and Texas, the swamp darner southern most ranges dips into Northern Mexico. Upon discovery of the specimen’s carcass, we took a series of orthographic photos to serve as a structural reference for later modeling.

Female Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) Dragonfly dorsal (top) view.
Female Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) Dragonfly dorsal (top) view.
 Female Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) Dragonfly left and front view.
Female Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) Dragonfly left and front view.

After satisfactory full body orthographic capture, we begin to dissect the carcass, removing the wings, head, and legs. and captured photo imagery of each of these body segments as appropriate. We choose to leave the thorax and abdomen connection undisturbed.

Anterior, lateral, and posterior views of female swamp darner (epiaeschna heros) thorax and abdomen.
Anterior, lateral, and posterior views of female swamp darner (epiaeschna heros) thorax and abdomen.
Orthographic views of swamp darner (epiaeschna heros) head.
Orthographic views of swamp darner (epiaeschna heros) head.
Right front and rear wings of swamp darner (epiaeschna heros) dragonfly.
Right front and rear wings of swamp darner (epiaeschna heros) dragonfly photographed atop a light-box.

Modeling
The orthographic photos are scaled and aligned then brought into the the 3D authoring environment to server as modeling guides. This process is repeated for each of the major body segments: the abdomen/thorax, head, legs and wings.

Abdomen/thorax modeling using orthographic guides.
Abdomen/thorax modeling using orthographic guides.
Head modeling using orthographic guides.
Head modeling using orthographic guides.
Wing modeling using photo-reference guide.
Wing modeling using photo-reference guide.

The completed model consisted of 12 different meshes which consist of a total 3836 polygons [all quads and tris] and 3786 vertices, which were assembled and positioned into the below composite model.

Polygonal model of dragonfly.
Polygonal model of dragonfly.
Polygonal model of dragonfly.
Polygonal model of dragonfly.
Polygonal model of dragonfly front and side orthographic views.
Polygonal model of dragonfly front and side orthographic views.

UV Mapping and Texturing
Once the 3D geometry reaches as satisfactory state, it’s time to create the UV map of the model. UV’s translate a 2-dimensional texture projection onto the 3-dimensional surface of the model’s polygons. Each of poly-meshes was unwrapped and laid out into the below UV map.

UV coordinate map.
UV coordinate map.

Once UV-mapping was complete, it was time to create the diffuse texture map. This was done utilizing the photo-reference taken of the original specimen and augmented with digital painting. The diffuse map was then utilized as a basis for a normals, specular, and alpha map.

Diffuse texture map.
Diffuse texture map.
Normals texture map.
Normals texture map.
Specular texture map.
Specular texture map.
Alpha / transparency texture map.
Alpha / transparency texture map.

Final Model

360 turntable of swamp darner dragonfly model.
360 turntable of swamp darner dragonfly model.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model, top view.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model, bottom view.
Render of swamp darner dragonfly textured 3D model, bottom view.

Model Information
Geometry: Polygonal Quads/Tris
Polygons: 3,836
Vertices: 3,786
Textures: Yes
Materials: No
Rigged: No
Animated: No
UV Mapped: Yes
Unwrapped UVs: Yes, non-overlapping

Keywords: dragon, fly, dragonfly, insect, wing, flying, garden, bug, flower, jungle, swamp, forest, tree, pond, wild, wings, green, nature, lake, river, animal, creature, legs.

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