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Re: For the artists: RIP
Not crazy about it myself.
I wonder if there is a financial component to the decision though.
They end up having a 3D model they can repurpose for anything from
toys to Discovery Channel leasing.
On Dec 16, 2005, at 7:32 PM, John Conway wrote:
Colin McHenry wrote:
1. you need a huge team of artists to get everything right; a
scupltor to get the initial shape of the animal, then various 3d
digital artists to do the fine details, rendering, etc. Then the
thing has to be posed / animated, and the background and lighting
need to be worked out (plus whatever other critters are in the
scene with the main subject). In short, there are a lot of people
in between the scientific information at the start and the art
director at the finish. It is inevitable that most of the people
in that sequence will understand very little of the basics about
what they are dealing with (for the sea monsters, apart from the
basic anatomy, this means things such as; how animals move in
water, how light behaves in water, that sort of thing) So there
will inevitably be lots of mistakes.
One the other hand, when you (as a palaeontologist) are working
directly with one artist it's a lot easier to make sure that basic
things that are going to make it look realistic don't fall through
Also, I might add, a single, consistent theory of biomechanics
(hopefully); rather than a hodge-podge of committee compromises.
One palaeontologist working with one artist can produce some pretty
thought-provoking images. A herd of palaeontologists working with a
flock of artists results in watered-down science and bland imagery.
For example, one of the main problems with the animals in the NG
spread is that they are all swimming around with their mouths
open. While it's ok (if a little repetative) to show a carnosaur
showing off its dental work, for a marine animal this is a no-no.
You open the jaws on something like a pliosaur, and there's only
going to be one result - the animal's going to come to a pretty
rapid halt (that big maw makes a really effective water brake).
So 20 pages of close ups of various marine reptiles swimming
around with their mouths wide open is, apart from being a tedious
compositional cliche, just plain stupid.
Yeah but Col, they just look cooler with their mouths open. Geez,
how else could you tell that they were terrifying bloodthirsty
I reckon they'd if they'd used people like Dan and John (to pull a
couple of names out the air!) they'd have saved themselves a heap,
got a better result, and given a couple of palaeoartists a decent
lifestyle for a month or two....
Well, I was used (briefly) along with Jim Cunningham as a
consultant on the _Pterodactylus_ in the cover image. The problem
was that the turnaround time was slow, and there just wasn't time
for more than a single revision.
2. For all the amazing resources they poured into this, I frankly
(and this is just a personal, subjective, I-don't-like-that-sort-
of-art type opinion) don't think the result looked that great.
For mine, the images lack life - they are very flat. Compare this
with the depth that Dan gets into his underwater stuff (yes, its
ironic that the 2D techniques and the 3D techniques have opposed
It is curious that. 3D palaeoart has been surprisingly bland I think.
"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am
large, I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman
[ Palaeo: http://palaeo.jconway.co.uk ]
[ Vector: http://nycto.jconway.co.uk ]