Using the references I had collected, I came up with a flat shape for the wings. It would have been easier to simply model them as a single flat plane, but once again I wished to make it a little more complex. So, I decided that I needed each half of the wing to have two sections that were attached to each other at the swivel point somewhere near the body. This segmented wing is found in many moths. I think it helps differentiates the model from the average butterfly.
After importing the wing shapes into Blender as a background picture, I set out to reproduce them with bezier curves. Next, I added a little extrusion in the Edit settings to give the wings a minimal thickness; nothing in the real world is infinitely thin like a plane in CG. This was converted to a mesh. The smaller piece of wing was give a slight slope, so that it would be at an angle to the main wing piece. Both of these pieces were duplicated, mirrored and joined with their twins to create a single wing mesh. I also thickened the central-front portion of the wing mesh, where it is attached to the insect body just above the head, to reflect the real thing.
Finally, the armature setup took some time to do. It’s nothing fancy at the moment, but there are 4 separate bones controlling the 4 pieces of wing. Due to the overlapping of pieces, assigning vertices to each bone was a slow process, but it was completed to a satisfactory level. The vertex assignment is not yet perfect because at some rotation angles, parts of the wing still intersect the insect body. That is an issue to be tackled as I work further on this model.
Next comes the UV texturing part, which is something totally new to me. I do, however, plan to make my life a little easier to begin with, by not using Blender’s built-in UV texturing utility. Will leave that for another project. Still, it remains to be seen how successful I am in texturing this to my satisfaction … and then there is the scene, the lighting etc. etc. …
Why did I get into this field again?