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Ceratosaurus 3D Reconstruction Project


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Hi everyone!

As I have mentioned several times, being a 3D artist I am trying to move into the field of paleoart. Recently I have started modeling Ceratosaurus nasicornis in 3D, and I really want to make it as accurate and plausible as possible. Here is what I have got so far: a basic model done in 3ds Max. After this I am planning to take it to ZBrush and add more muscle definition, sking wrinkles, scales and other fine details. At this stage this is just the base and I would like to share it with you guys in order to receive some feedback from those who know their dinosaur anatomy. Did I get the shape and overall structure right?

Constructive criticism is more then welcome, pretty much this is what I am asking for here.

 

1. Mesh

Cerat_Mesh.thumb.jpg.89f794aba67a7553c3a6701e2b8481da.jpg 

 

2. Body

cerato_init_01.thumb.jpg.1d23348734cafd2ae3c5c760387f25c6.jpg

 

3. Perspective

cerato_init_02.thumb.jpg.8a3242a2f030445b546f316ca4dc96d2.jpg

 

4. Back

cerato_init_03.thumb.jpg.dfcfdca08f5a83322f5d1e298e891b9d.jpg

 

5. Top view

cerato_init_04.thumb.jpg.f26fd073e6185569dd3a971237b4a0c7.jpg

 

6. Head close-up

cerato_init_05.thumb.jpg.bdd2c1972fa5a66c52c2bad292be5744.jpg

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LordTrilobite

Well I'd say it already looks really good. Definitely great job on it.

 

But there are a few details that could possibly use improving. Of course we generally only have skeletons of dinosaurs, but there is some stuff known about the muscle structure. Right now it looks fairly slender and it could possibly use a little fattening and loose skin. Especially the neck could use some loose skin I think.

 

Using T. rex as an example, of course it's a different animal, but it still serves as an example of Theropod anatomy.

It looks like you already got the tail pretty correct, but possibly it could be a little wider at the base. The caudofemoralis muscle was very important in Theropod locomotion. Maybe this is less of a criticism and more a general idea to keep in mind. The base of this muscle attaches to both the hip and femur. As a result the underside of the tail should be really thick.

sue+caudofem+small.jpg

 

persons_currie_tyrannosaurus_tail_muscul

 

 

The head itself looks quite nice as well, though it might be a little schrinkwrapped. Another example of a T. rex head shows the shape of some of the muscles on a theropod head. Specifically there's a muscle on the lower back side of the jaw that can bulge quite a lot. The outside shape of the jaw won't directly follow the outer edge of the bone. It'll be rounded off by that muscle. Many jaw muscles also extend into the neck, this can be seen in crocodiles as well.

t_rex_head_muscle___in_color_by_sbwomack

 

On your reconstruction you still have the fenestra of the skull visible by a subtle outline. These fenestra of the skull would likely not be visible at all in life. Especially the temporal fenestra, which would actually have bulged due to the jaw muscles in there.

 

And then there are two things that are not mistakes, but open to interpretation. There's been some debate on whether theropods had lips or that they had a toothy grin. Personally I'm in the lips camp, but there's not really any direct evidence right now so it's open to interpretation. The other thing that is also completely open to interpretation are the horns. As a rule, the bone structures of horns do not show the full extent of the complete structure as it looked in life. So you can probably make the horns larger than they are on the skull itself. The shape of these horns of course, are open to interpretation. Mark Witton wrote an interesting article about this recently featuring Triceratops and sheep. It's definitely worth a look.

http://markwitton-com.blogspot.nl/2017/11/can-we-predict-horn-shapes-of-fossil.html

Bovid+horn+recon+Witton+2017.jpg

 

Food for thought.

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Scott is one of the best to re-create the sketal structure and overall shape and following his lead not a bad idea.

 

nasicornis.png.2d5524f8400414cdab0afa889990c153.png

 

I always think everyone including yourself over exaggerate the horns even with keratin,  I'm sure everyone has their opinion.

 

20180113_060600.thumb.jpg.c7694f576d929f9ec59e94a2fc02bbb2.jpg20180113_060605.thumb.jpg.c7dd04ea96f2dee8fc111d3420b02beb.jpg

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Only thing I have to say is don’t fatten the neck up quite as much as a rex because the head of a T. rex is massive and required a fatter neck. Great job so far:dinothumb:

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@LordTrilobite Thank you very much for such a detailed and helpful response! Really appreciate this.

I will do my best to implement your suggestions: definitely try to fix the shrink-wrap effect on the skull, give the lower jaw more volume at the back an try to make a better connection of the skull to the  the neck. Also, will widen the tail base.

I will also add more loose skin and some musculature later in other application (ZBrush) but this will be the next step.

Regarding the lips: well, it is pretty hard to imagine how one can hide Ceratoaur's upper teeth as they project almost past the lower margin of the mandible. I know there are debates about the absence or presence of the lips in dinosaurs, but, as you have mentioned, nobody has won so far.

Thanks for the link to Witton's article! Really interesting info.

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@Troodon Thank you for your input! Yes, I did use exactly this Hartman's reconstruction you posted.

With the crest I tried to keep it safe: made it a bit more than the bony base, but didn't go too crazy. Who knows?

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@WhodamanHD Roger that! This is something to watch for when I start putting more muscles on it in ZBrush, it is easy to get carried away with sculpting process and end up with a dinosaur on steroids.

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LordTrilobite

Also there's this rather cool scan on sketchfab that could be useful reference.

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Here is a couple of updated images. I have made the tail base a bit wider, also tried to reduce  shrink-wrapping effect on the head.

What do you think?

 

cerato_init_06.jpg

cerato_init_07.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, dolevfab said:

Cool!! But don't forget the lips! 

Good call on lips, but... Well, as far as I am concerned, this is still an on-going debate on whether dinos had lips or not. Ceratosaurus is a somewhat complicated fellow in this case: its upper teeth go almost beyond the lower edge of the mandible when the mouth is shut... Not sure if I know how to treat that. I am not saying that I am sure it didn't have the lips (maybe it did, maybe it didn't), just probably will stick to the "no lips" concept for now.

 

I know there are some researches that conclude that theropods might have had lips, but here is one of the recent articles:

https://www.livescience.com/58474-new-tyrannosaur-had-no-lips.html

 

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Here is some progress on my Ceratosaurus model.

I have taken it to ZBrush, sculpted muscles, big skin folds and smaller wrinkles. I have NOT added scales yet, but this will be my next step. 

 

 

cerato_z01.jpg

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LordTrilobite
4 hours ago, 3depix said:

Good call on lips, but... Well, as far as I am concerned, this is still an on-going debate on whether dinos had lips or not. Ceratosaurus is a somewhat complicated fellow in this case: its upper teeth go almost beyond the lower edge of the mandible when the mouth is shut... Not sure if I know how to treat that. I am not saying that I am sure it didn't have the lips (maybe it did, maybe it didn't), just probably will stick to the "no lips" concept for now.

 

I know there are some researches that conclude that theropods might have had lips, but here is one of the recent articles:

https://www.livescience.com/58474-new-tyrannosaur-had-no-lips.html

 

That paper actually doesn't say anything on lips at all. It just says the face was covered with scales. It's just the articles that jumped on it and erroneously said they concluded theropods had no lips, which is just not correct.

Other studies have found that the teeth must have been covered based on the type of enamel present on the teeth.

 

Remember that teeth also often slide out of the skulls postmortem. So in life the teeth of some theropods might not have extended that far out.

 

 

The model is looking really nice though.

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Well, I will try to figure something out in terms of lips for this guy. Thanks for the info about the postmortem teeth sliding, that would help hiding the excessive teeth length.

 

Actually, looking at a Komodo dragon it is hard to tell how large its teeth actually are...

 

U5dqq6dX6UFQemZkiH7ywTDNWd4opvY_1680x8400.jpg

080414091357_1_540x360.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Will the model be wire-only, or will bones be added to use the model for different poses/movement?

Will the model be textured?

 

It looks amazing so far! 

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5 hours ago, lildragon said:

Will the model be wire-only, or will bones be added to use the model for different poses/movement?

Will the model be textured?

 

It looks amazing so far! 

Thank you.

Yes, I am planning to finish texturing, bring it back to 3ds Max from ZBrush and make bones and skin it to use in an animation. Right now working on scales.

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  • 2 years later...

I haven't touched this project for 2 years as was busy with work and making 3 episodes of a CGI documentary on the first 3 eons of our planet's history. As the third episode ends with the end of the Proterozoic eon, it provides a glance into the future evolution of life, I finally had a chance to finish the existing model of this Ceratosaurus and use it in one of the final scenes. Anyways, to make the long story short, I finally finished this guy in January 2021. Here it is:

 

Ceratosaurus_nasicornis.thumb.jpg.9bed4f576ef86bdfa95528952344a468.jpg

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LordTrilobite

That looks really good!

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1 hour ago, LordTrilobite said:

That looks really good!

Thank you! Got this image approved on Wikipedia. Apparently, they don't care a lot about Proterozoic organisms (I have uploaded a few - Otavia, Diskagma, Fractofusus, Kimberella), but they had a whole discussion about how anatomically correct my Ceratosaurus was and how its environment show on the rendering corresponded to the known Morrison formation flora.

 

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3 hours ago, 3depix said:

Got this image approved on Wikipedia

Just looked it up ;)  This is really great - congrats to you for this wonderful piece of art (!) and the TFF members that helped you shape it!

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39 minutes ago, JoeS said:

Just looked it up ;)  This is really great - congrats to you for this wonderful piece of art (!) and the TFF members that helped you shape it!

Thank you!

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