Creating an animal from the inside out

Alex suggested I make a WIP for this so here it is.

For some time now I’ve been interested in creating a few animals from the inside out, making their full skeleton, muscles and then skin and any surface details such as fur etc. Other than my fascination with the animal kingdom and skeletons, the main reason I’m doing this is for a better grasp at anatomy.

Another thing I find very fascinating is speculative zoology or speculative evolution, which essentially is coming up with new animals species or trying to imagine possible evolutions that might occur in the future. I’d like to try my hand at this and I thought that a better understanding of animal anatomy is going to come in handy for such task.

So, here’s the beginning process of making a complete animal from the inside out.
I start by subdividing a cube once and tracing the basic shapes over a reference. For the spine I used an array curve and then separated the object by loose parts to have individual control over each piece so I can shape them and move them as needed.

One main issue here is that since the reference is a side view I’m not getting the correct and “true” shapes of the bones as is illustrated bellow with the red circles.

However this being just the first step, something very basic as this will do for now, the next step will be to get the smaller bones in place (toes, ribs etc) and then start shaping them all into their accurate shapes and positions.

There’s a lot of research to be done on something like this if I want to go 100% accurate with it.
Still though, there’s no need to go 100% with it, something simple as the basic skeleton shape can be very helpful in not only giving you an accurate base to model/sculpt on and get the correct shapes and proportions, but also in rigging and animating as you have a clear indication of where the joints are and what movement can be supported by the skeleton.

This is a great start man! About references, sometimes three view drawings (top, side, front/rear views) isn’t enough especially for organic objects/shapes, so will also need to use perspective photos and try to deduct the topology from all those sources. I believe @FlyingBanana can share some of his tips when modeling dem curvy cars Grinning

Funny story : at one time, I downloaded a free 3d model (from Sketchfab) so I could get clearer view of an object cross section on certain parts in order to make another 3d model of the same object, lol!

Anyway, will be following all the process here, can’t wait what kind of fictional exo-mega-fauna you will eventually make later on! Thumbsup

Interesting idea and awesome job so far. I agree as many different angle as possible is best for referencing.

Fantastic idea and great work so far - look forward to seeing the progress. Regarding reference - looking at the real thing really helps and take your own photos if possible. I often go on ‘texture/material hunts’ to get more info about what im making (im sure ppl stare at me while i take a panorama of the ground, grass or objects). In your case i would go to the museum and have a look at skeletons / anatomy etc - there would also be quite a lot of medical/vet journals online with diagrams.

That’s a Mammoth task…oh, wrong mammal :wink:

I struggle with the outside let alone the inside. Great project idea. Will be interested to see how you progress.

LOL 10 points for the pun xD Thanks man, yeah I struggle too make no mistake, but practice makes perfect and I don’t mind doing the same thing a hundred times if I find it interesting enough and see the progress :slight_smile:

					Thanks dude! Ah, I wish I could but we are really lacking in those areas here in Greece, I've looked up a few places I could visit and I'm not even sure it's worth the trouble... I have however collected a bunch of references from the internet and I've looked a bit into some research information about elephant anatomy in this case. Will continue my research according to the needs of this particular example and will do so for each animal I tackle after this :)

Thanks Crisp, I have a couple of hundred references at this point :stuck_out_tongue:

lol Po I’m mostly looking at a 3D model with a 360 view xD Also comparing it to the real like references I have, but yeah I get it, why not use someone else’s hard work to make your life easier, instead of having to figure it all out yourself :stuck_out_tongue: Definitely comes in handy.
Yeah about references I have a folder with a couple hundred of them, but in this particular first step I went with the side-view for convenience. I’m about to move into the perspective work now and will update the WIP as soon as I’ve made some good progress, along with what I learnt from it all. :slight_smile:
Thanks for the kind words!!

Some small progress on this project, I finally got around to shaping the skull. For those that don’t know and might be interested, what appears to be eye sockets on the front are actually their nose.
Some say this is what gave birth to the Cyclops myth, ancient people found skulls that look nothing like any living creature but kinda look like an one-eyed giant man.

Next up is adding some missing holes, refining the overall shape, adding the lower jaw, teeth and tusks. Maybe also adding fine details for the fun of it. Then move on to other bones

Lessons learnt
You are only as good as your references.
Took me a while to realize that I begun shaping the skull based on the skull of an Asian Elephant when what I’m going for is the African Elephant. Thankfully it was early on that I figured it out and didn’t have much trouble reshaping it.
(The main difference between them is that African Elephants have a dome shaped skull and somewhat gaunt/sharp shape overall. The Asian Elephant has two bumps on the top and a bulkier shape overall)

Some educated guess work is also required as most of the reference pictures are of various states of preservation so the depiction isn’t 100% pristine as it would be in a living animal.
I can only imagine how tough paleontologists have it, trying to figure out a full animal from a few bone fragments…