Cello model, feedback needed and appreciated

Hello all! I'm fairly new to 3-D design and animation, but so far I've loved every second of it (I'm currently studying at Drexel University and just finished my first year.) This cello is a piece from my final project, and is one of my favorite pieces so far. I'd really appreciate any constructive feedback you guys have for me moving forward from this. 

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  • Carabiner
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    Carabiner polycounter lvl 5
    Hey there, this is going to be a pretty long response. I'm a 3D artist who has also played the cello for almost 20 years, so this post is ... extremely relevant to my interests. In terms of Polycount-specific stuff, I'd recommend embedding images in your post instead of attaching for the future. Just easier for people to view that way.

    Here's some terminology that I will be using throughout:


    For the cello itself, the side curves ("c-ribs" or "c-bouts") aren't quite the right shape. You can get a really accurate top-down view by checking out photos of old makers' instruments, like this one: 



    I'd also very carefully check proportions against this image, or another like it. Overlay this with your model in an orthographic view. Measurements for string instruments like this are pretty exact, and although individual instruments may vary slightly, the overall shape is very precise and distinctive. Nailing this will really help the believably. Also make sure you're looking at images of cellos, not violins, because the proportions are a bit different!

    There are many other minor proportion and shape issues here, so I'd go over your model and compare parts to the image I pasted above. Here are a few examples:
    • The back of the "neck" is very planar in your rendition, but in actuality it's a curved shape - check it out in the middle view above, of the back piece straight-on. 
    • The neck/fingerboard looks too wide and also maybe short
    • The scroll at the top looks too large and doesn't stick out vertically enough (again, check out the middle view above). 
    • The pegs look too small. 
    • There's also a bend in the geo where the strings continue on past the fingerboard. That's definitely standing out as inaccurate to me because the pressure of the strings is actually the only thing keeping them there! They're wound up on the pegs on the bottom and the top, but there is no glue involved or anything. Because of that, they'd just continue in the same angle past the fingerboard. (The bridge also looks a little "low" - aka too short. Compare it against the image on the right above).

    Now, let's move on to texturing. In general, you have very intense roughness contrast going on in the back of the instrument, which you wouldn't find unless someone literally sanded it for some reason. Most string instruments are fairly consistently glossy because of how they're varnished. If they are older instruments, they're going to get worn slightly and in specific places -- places that are often in contact with the musician playing them. That part of the back isn't one of those places. Here is an example of an older instrument with wear in specific contact points:

    I also have feedback on two more small texturing details. First of all, it looks like you're missing the purfling! That's the inlaid decorative strip around the edges of the cello. Googling that term should give you some good references.

    And the last thing is, the back of cellos always made out of two pieces of wood since they're so large. See the middle reference in the above image I pasted. There's a seam down the middle. If you really nail the rest of the model, this will look intentional and nice, but I could see this also just looking like a bizarre texture seam if you don't "prove" you know what you're doing for the rest of it.

    Whew, I think that's everything. Let me know if you have questions on any of this, and good luck!

    ETA: I found an imgur album of pictures I took of my own cello for reference for another Polycounter. A good example of the gloss and wear levels, even an 100+ year old antique instrument!  https://imgur.com/a/wO0AT

  • TheGabmeister
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    TheGabmeister greentooth
    I think the presentation can be improved. It would have been better if you showed still images rather than a quick-rotating gif. It's moving way too fast, I can't focus too much on the details.

    I'm not sure what textures or material setup you're using, but I think there's room for improvement on the shader here. From my research, most cello's have a layer of varnish on top of the wood for protection. Perhaps use a clear coat layer on top of the usual PBR textures.
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