3D does some things with great efficiency and accuracy – things like solidity of form, staying “on-model”, etc.. Other things it doesn’t do all that well, like quickly adhering to the odd whims of its human user. These characteristics have a bit to do with the technology itself, but mostly it has to do with the interfaces used to access it.
Solidity of form is of course a big advantage when it comes to paleoart… you want that profile and front view to match, you want the jaw to rotate from where it should. So, artistically, there’s a lot going for 3D.
But there are also some pitfalls. As I mentioned earlier, a swell-looking skeleton can allude to accuracy that it doesn’t possess. This is comparable to the uncanny valley phenomena experienced in the representation of realistic humans. In this case, the pretense of being bone invites unintended readings – it presents general details such as surface irregularity and specularity, but lack those key elements that make that bone recognizable. Thanks but no thanks.
The beauty of technical illustrations are that they concisely filter information, representing relevant details. Here we see a skull cast of a stegosaurus, an illustration of a kiwi femur and the skeletal reconstruction by Gregory Paul that I used as reference for my 3D version. The illustrations screen information down to those elements that the artist is interested in, respecting further details only as far as they form context.
So, I set out to create a skeletal reconstruction in 3D that has the graphic clarity of those in 2D done by artists such as Gregory Paul, Scott Hartmann, Archosaurian and Dinomaniac. More than anything, this requires stylization, so that the intended information can be conveyed, but nothing more. It should immediately read as an artistic reconstruction. Hopefully, it would look good and be useful in communicating specific attributes of what makes one animal different from another, illustrating evolutionary relationships as well as functional aspects of a specific design. The stegosaurus above is my first attempt at a dinosaur, and my second after the human. I already see necessary tweaks in the skull and other areas, but I’m happy with it as a first step. Feedback welcome. Here’s a close up of the head with teeth:
Like I said. Feedback very welcome, particularly if you’re involved in paleontology.
Note: posted similar content at ArtEvolved.