3D Octopus (Help me)


Hi. I've just recently been entranced by the octopus and now I really admire their design. I'm a game art student, and what I'm doing here is trying to make and animate one in Maya (3D).... of course low-poly (PS2-XBox quality) not Motion Picture quality, because that's not what I'm trained in, nor what I'm going for.

Here's what I've roughed out so far (please note this is the models default tentacle setup. They probably look awkard, but will be moved into a more natural position once I add it's rig (skeleton). But for now they cannot be moved, only reshaped.


I'm hoping some of you can help me correct the flaws in my design.

Things I've noted (from photo references):

-The top of the mantle is flatter than the bottom, and overal appears bottom-heavy. I tried to portray that.

-The eyes may be too oval (vertically)?

-My version of the mantle may be too smooth. If it needs humps/lumps, please let me know.

-No siphon gills! I haven't modeled them yet, because I haven't yet found a clear photo of them.

If you have any crits please include links of photos to show me your point. THANKS!

I can't wait to texture this thing's eyes. Horizontal iris' are so cool. :mrgreen:


Staff member
Wow, this is very cool. Thanks for sharing... looking forward to seeing where this thread goes... Let's dive in here, folks!

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
Howdo Monkeywrench. Looks great, sincerely (I wish I could do what you have done), but there's a major problem with the constriction behind the eyes (where the mantle actually joins the head and funnel).

Don't worry about the text at the following link, but the pics should help (it will become immediately apparent). I'll post more soon.

Check out http://www.tonmo.com/community/index.php?threads/3519/


tonmo: Thanks!

Steve O'Shea: Thanks for the crit. From what I can see from your sketches, my eyes protrude too much in the back, and where the mantle joins the rest of the octopus is too narrow. So, octopuses only have 1 siphon gill? I thought they had two.. :confused:

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
MonkeyW, no, your eyes don't protrude too much at all. The three sketches I directed you to were of Benthoctopus - a deep-sea thing. I've seen many a shallow-water octopus have eyes just as you depict; they can depress them considerably (they're not always 'out on stalks').

Just the single mid-ventral siphon (a few 'made in China' rubber octopus have two siphons). Within the mantle (the sac at the back) there are two gills. You needn't worry about octopus anatomy (gills/mantle cavity internal detail) - you'd go quite insane unless you had a dead specimen (fishmart) before you to make heads or tails out of words.

The mantle cavity is open to the seawater; you'll find a lip extending almost from one eye to the other on the ventral side - you could stick your finger in this cavity and run it freely from one eye to the next. I suggest you go get a specimen from a fish shop/fishmart to come to terms with it. It is, as you now can see, too narrow (where the mantle fuses with the head).

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
Order of magnitude better! The funnel (aka siphon) is attached to the ventral surface of the head. I'm without pics (late at night, at home); more to come, but I'll need a couple of days. Surely someone else has pics that they can post also.


It's getting late here too. I'll work on it more in the morning. Thanks for the comments :)

Can octopi "orbit" their eyeballs? I've noticed the direction of their iris is almost always different from picture-to-picture.


O. vulgaris
Nice model there MonkeyWrench. 8-)
I'm looking forward to seeing some renders of it once it's been textured.
Are you going to be painting the texture maps or let Maya generate them?

Incidentally, you've come to the best and friendliest place around for ceph info. I found Tonmo while looking for reference pics for a model of architeuthis that's still in the works.


Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
Tomorrow I'll post pics of a 'typical' octopus (a dead/preserved one), then incise the ventral midline of the mantle so that you can see how the funnel connects to the head and viscera (rather than the ventral mantle wall). I'm just a bit stretched on something else right now; sorry.


:shock: That would be an ideal asset to my project. If you could just lift the mantle and get a good shot of the ventral side, I would be very pleased. You don't have to cut up one of your specimins if it's not absolutely necessary. I'd hate for you to wreck one for my sake.

Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
Sorry 'bout the delays here ... am busting foofoo on a few too many things.

Attached, various images on Pareledone sp. (Antarctic octopus). You'll see the lovely blue sky that we're experiencing in the background, and too much shadow in crucial places!! Video camera doesn't have flash - curses!

The key to the 3rd image is:
1 - cut mantle musculature (pushed aside)
2 - interpallial septum (musculature that attaches the ventral surface of the mantle to the viscera; extends the dorso-ventral axis of the mantle, partially separating it into two chambers)
3 - renal (kidney) tissue
4 - gill (x 2)
5 - adsiphonal pouch (one either side of the funnel)
6 - region where the mantle attaches to the lateral surface of the head
7 - eye
8 - funnel
9 - penis

Hope it helps; I'll try and do some in better lighting, but I don't have access to a dead littoral octopus at this exact point in time. This animal (a museum specimen) would appear to have been thrust into preservative alive .... hence its somewhat unhappy (albeit life like) posture.



Thank you very much Steve! I have been studying these photos for a long time. Nothing short of eye candy. Unfortunately I've only had 1h rest Wednesday night, so I won't be modeling tonight (but I am psyched!). I will start up again after classes Friday. Thanks for slightly varying the angles, that really helps. And the texture on this little guy is stunning. Also, a facinating third picture! It's all coming together :) Structurally I can see how everything fits into place now.

Thanks again.


Steve O'Shea

Colossal Squid
No worries MW; there's a series of pics of a live octopus that I can lay my sticky little hands on, and will post shortly (we put a male named 'Stumpy' [missing several legs] in with a female named 'Slime' [don't ask], and the two of them did the rumpy pumpy for a week). 'Stumpy' was released, and 'Slime' has since layed eggs .... so the thread will be along those lines (Octopus culture). It'll be interesting to see how we go. We should have it online by mid next week; eggs are presently a week old, so I estimate 3 more weeks before they hatch.

um... said:
Be more selfish! It's :oshea:'s duty to edify us, man.
You are truly a most dark and dastardly, positively wicked fellow, Oh dear Right Honourable Regal-Footed Sir Dr Ummm.......


Sepia elegans
A few questions...

1)How are you rigging the mantle to the joints in the arms? I have been trying to make an animate-able octo model (with MilkShape 3D 1.7.0 :oops:...), and keep having the the mantle stretch at odd angles.
2)How are you attaching the joints to the arms? I can't seem to get the arms to keep the image flexability in animation, and it ends up looking like a multi-jointed stick-figure.

(Be warned; more questions ahead. (I've been trying to do this for over a month...))

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