Do you like Octopuses? How about Dinosaurs? Then check out this new T-shirt I designed. That’s right – it’s an Octopus eating a Velociraptor in a tree. (note: this is a compressed jpeg version – the original and t-shirts are much higher quality).
Way back in 2005/2006 I was trying to finish up a Ph.D. in biology studying the genetics of heart development, using the frog as a model. My advisor at the time was also going up for tenure and wanted a decent animation of heart development for his presentation. Thus I convinced him to buy us a copy of Maya, with which I made the following video and started learning how to create 3D art and animations.
The Cretacious-Tertiary Boundary Sixty-five million years ago, a daily struggle occurs in the midst of the world-changing event that would result in the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs and the rise of our own lineage of mammals. The layer of rock demarkating the end of the Cretaceous and beginning of the Tertiary is known by geologists as the “K-T Boundary.” The mammals in this case are “cynodonts” – our ancestors in the late Cretaceous. This took me three weeks to create, using Blender and GIMP software packages.
Phylogeny of the echinoderms A cladogram in the sand depicts the evolutionary relationships between the five classes of echinoderms: asteroidea (sea stars), ophiuroidia (brittle stars), echinoidea (sea urchins and sand dollars), holothuroidea (sea cucumbers), and crinoidea (sea lillies and feathers).
I know of at least a couple of people who were curious how I went about making my latest art, “K-T.” Here is an abbreviated walkthrough…
First came the idea. I’ve had the general idea of the composition in my head sometime: a view from a mammal ancestor’s burrow of the distant K-T meteor.
When I decided to actually make it with the free and open-source Blender and GIMP, I first made a very quick (like 5 minute) sketch of my idea layout (Note: You can click on all images for larger versions):
Next up: modeling the creatures. All objects are modeled as a 3D mesh, working with them and sculpting them at times much like clay – except it’s all in the computer.
Next up comes the coloring, texturing, and addition of fur.
In reality, the coloring and texturing is done on 2D images (using the free photoshop-like GIMP), which are then mapped onto the 3D mesh:
Next up: a poseable armature has to be made and applied to the 3D mesh. Think of this as an actual skeleton that the mesh will deform with.
The armature has to be tested with lots of poses to make sure the mesh warps correctly.
Rinse and repeat for the other objects:
Now start putting objects into the scene:
And finally we have everything in place
At this point alot of time is put into positioning lights and tweaking textures so that everything looks good. Lighting is probably the hardest thing to get right (especially with fur).
All in all, the entire process took 3 weeks. I could have easily spent another 3 weeks tweaking and fixing many aspects of the piece and adding more details, but I was pretty much ready to move on to something else. So, I got it to the point where I was happy with it as is.