Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Computing

Committee Member

Dr. Eric Patterson, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Geist

Committee Member

Dr. Adam Smith

Committee Member

Dr. Donald House

Committee Member

Dr. Jerry Tessendorf


A key element in computer-graphics research is representing the world around us, and immense inspiration may be found in nature. Algorithms and procedural models may be developed that can describe the three-dimensional shape of objects and how they interact with light. This thesis focuses particularly on bird and other dinosaur feathers and their structure. More specifically, it addresses the problem of procedurally generating biologically driven geometry for modeling feathers in computer graphics. As opposed to previously published methods for generated feather geometry, data is derived from a myriad of real-world specimens of feathers and used in creating graphical models of feathers. Modeling feathers is of interest both for media production and also for various fields of research such as ornithology, paleontology, and material science. In order to create realistic, computer-graphics feathers, the anatomy of feathers is analyzed in detail with the aim of understanding their structure and variation in order to apply that understanding to modeling. Data concerning the shape of actual feathers was collected and analyzed to drive attribute parameters for modeling accurate synthetic feathers, during which methods for generating geometry informed by the data were investigated. Synthesized image results, capabilities, limitations, and extensions of the developed techniques are presented.



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