Much of this afternoon has been spent on finishing the geometry, adding a few flourishes, but the thing that took most of my attention was preparations for UV mapping. Maya 2016 allows for a new unfolding process which considerably speeds up the process. However there was still a little modification work to be done, mainly smoothing out the body UV to alow a smooth transition between the components.
The night previous I also looked into working on the tongue, a long tube with flaps on the end that open up into a receding cavity. This tongue will go inside the mouth and into the throat. Colo Colo does bite but much of the material suggests that it subsists on liquids, so perhaps this tongue dominates the throat, which will definitely be useful when it comes to putting it inside the mouth.
In terms of rigging, my plan is for there to be a series of bones in the tongue, a mouth with bones in the lower but not in the upper jaw, and an armature based on the skeletons of rats and dogs.
The main reason the body UV was evened out was because this creature is bound ot be very flexible, so I wanted a UV map for a body that will likely do a fair bit of bending and stretching. The above arrangement will theoretically give the most even amount of stretch and compression as it representes a midpoint.Though more likely this is something I will have to test once I set up the armature inside it.
I may have to look back into the iris. It has a very large one, compensated by the fact that in a neutral state it would look slightly outward, but I also hope I can mask the black behind with some form of reflection from the cornea. A lot of this came about because I discovered that unlike humans, a lot of reptiles havr irises so large they completely hide the sclera in most circumstances. For all animals, light is refracted within the cornea to give the illusion that the iris is a convex, rather than a flat or concave surface. An alternative I suppose is to tweak the iris so it is a dome.
below are the current UV maps. The ideal situation is to have everything on one large map but two 2004x2048 texture maps (I might make more lower-resolution textures for distant shots) will probably do for now. However the quills still need to be made, but they could potentially share a single UV.
I might look into doing it for more given the mirrored nature for the creature but I looked into mirroring the interior of the mouth. I could do this to the tail and the body, which should give me room on the first UV map to include a UV for the quills.