Saturday, October 3, 2009

me, 3D and Plateosaurus...

Hello Art Evolved! David here... I'm new to the community and new to paleoart. I thought I'd introduce myself by explaining what I see as the potential of this community and how I hope to contribute. Thanks to the admins: Peter, Glendon and Craig for welcoming me here. I know I don't have much to show yet.

I'm excited to be here because I hope participating scientists will speak up and say what's not realistic, what's speculative coolness and what's outrageous. And other artists too. Don't hesitate to suggest things or make requests! Personally, I'm not interested as much in achieving consensus as I am in visualizing alternative possibilities. For example, here's my go at plateosaurus for the challenge... I'm actually narrowing in on panphagia protos, but more on that later.

It's a wip... of course. And I'm constantly deciding things that I have insufficient knowledge of. ie.: lips. Craig's been great informing me about lips in theropods (I figured if they're such close relatives of sauropods, they'd make for good reference) and how to recognize their presence from skulls. Thanks! But I'm still not decided, so I did two versions:

(note: that's an animated gif... it should be showing the mouth in 3 poses)
What do you all think (especially you lurking experts)? If anyone has further alternatives to try out, let me know and (time allowing) I'll work 'em in.

More about me:
I'm a 3D artist specializing in non-photorealistic rendering... or npr. I see lots of potential for paleoart, as 3D has lots to offer - such as solid volumes. A render will create consistent forms and an organism can be volume-checked from different angles and eventually animated. But photoreal renders are very expensive in the sense that you have to invest in level-of-detail across the board - not just where you're interested - and there are considerable skills involved (modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging, animation) that can overwhelm an individual artist. The results also lay undo claim to being "real" - which can hardly be the goal of a scientifically respectful approach to paleology. While I love the experiential approach to many documentaries, I hope to make a hand-drawn alternative viable. An early test (low lod) can be seen here.

If you're interested in NPR, check out my blog at I use Wordpress there and some of the formatting here is different. Tips how to create a fold, for example, are very welcome. Some commercial work can be seen at