Today brought to you by your friendly host Craig...
Hi everyone. My tip for today is how to make any skeletal reference work for you.
When trying to construct a scientifically accurate critter it is really important you stick to the proper anatomy of the animal. This means that being (pretty) precise on rough measurements and proportions of your creature are key. The best means to get these right is to use a skeletal reference.
However typically when you find such a reference it isn't quite what you need (if one exists at all!...).
I personally run into problems with pre-existing references as they are often in highly stylized poses, such as this Deinonychus skeletal reconstruction by Gregory Paul. These types of references though having excellently measured proportions and anatomical layout, make it hard for you to acquire useful information about how your animal is put together as the limbs are all folded up and angled in "weird" ways (okay not weird for the living animal [most of the time! sometimes people do impossible things in their skeletals]. However when trying to measure and compare proportions they are less than ideal!).
Further more if your reconstruction is in an unconventional pose, such as my 3D Deinonychus, it is really unlikely you'll find a reference already in your pose. In fact if you do find one odds are really good it is an over done conventional pose anyways!
Meaning if you want to compare your creation directly to a skeletal, you're almost certainly out of luck. Or you'll be forced to copy the preexisting pose. Which I urge you not to do! Too many people keep turning out the same general reconstructions. With an extra 20-30 minutes work you can come up with a reference that can be in any pose you'd like!
So how do you do get this personalized skeletal reference? Why you make it yourself of course!
I'll take you through how I made the reference that I used to cross check my 3D Deinonychus here. Now the pose I'm going for is essentially a dead laid out animal (needed for my 3D posing system), but you can use this procedure for any pose you want!
Some general tips:
Make sure your taking things apart at the joints. You can also take them apart a lot more thoroughly than I have here. Each vertebrae and digit bone can be separated if you want. I haven't gone this far, but you'll note I did separate a few individual neck verts.
Some general tips:
Learn your undo hotkeys for this stage. As it can take some trail and error to get things to look right.
Once you have your piece oriented roughly how you like, lay them out close to their final position to double check. Here is where separate raster layers can be handy, as you can lay them out in their final position, and move them after the fact if you don't like them.
Well if you have a half descent photo of the actual fossils, my technique works just fine on them too!!!
So good luck in the future with your own skeletal references!