Building a Base Mesh pt7: putting it all together

Building a Base Mesh pt7: putting it all together

Finally, I assemble the pieces I created in the previous 6 videos to build the base mesh. The base mesh is based on the 8-head high figure contained in the Andrew Loomis book “Figure Drawing for All It’s worth”.

Building a Base Mesh pt 3: Box-modelling a foot in Silo

Part three of Building a base mesh series. I use two boxes to model a foot and then layout UVs. Take notice that I make sure my foot has an octogon (8-sided polygon) at the top. This will be important when I put the pieces together.

The A-B-C’s of Artistic Anatomy: 10 Great resources for learning


In studying anatomy, one resource is never sufficient. Every teacher, author and software developer has a different approach to anatomy. Combining these approaches gives the artist a full appreciation of the complexity and sophistication of the human figure. Here are 10 Apps, Books and Courses that provide the A-B-Cs for learning human anatomy.

1) Scott Eaton’s Anatomy for Artists Online (Course)

In this 8 week course, Scott Eaton goes in depth to describe every muscle and bone that has an affect on the surface anatomy of the human body. Scott has a background in both engineering and art and applies his knowledge in both fields to effectively teach anatomy for artists. He explains step by step each portion of the human body beginning with the axial skeleton (head and torso) and moving out to the appendicular skeleton (arms and legs). He also points out common anatomical mistakes made by artists in his “Gallery abominate”. This course is expensive, especially in Canadian dollars :), but it is definitely worth every penny. Students have the option of full enrolment with feedback directly from Eaton or standard enrolment with no feedback.

2) Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer (Book)

This book is the granddaddy of all art anatomy books and is still a useful resource despite being over 125 years old! Translated from French to English in 1971, the book gives detailed illustrations of the muscles and bones relevant for artists. All illustrations are done without perspective to make clear the relationships between body parts.

3) Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form by Elliot Goldfinger (Book)

This book is unique in that is has both clear illustrations of the muscles and bones alongside photos from life. There is also a section on facial expression. In many ways it is improvement over Dr. Richer’s book.

4) 3D Anatomy for the Artist  (Mac, iPad and iPhone App)

Developed by Catfish Animation Studio, This app is as close to real life dissection as possible. Users can view all the muscles and peel each one off to view the relationships between them. I find this app extremely useful for studying arm and leg anatomy and seeing how the muscles twist around the ulna and radius (forearm) or the tibia and fibula (lower leg).

5) L’écorché App (Mac, iPad and iPhone App)

Developed by Michael Defoe and Scott Eaton, this 3D app is based upon the original L’écorché sculpture by the French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon (completed in 1767). Updated with modern discoveries of human anatomy, this is mostly faithful to the original sculpture and gives a good overview of surface anatomy that can be viewed as a whole figure or in parts.

6) Anatomy for 3D Artists: The Essential Guide for CG Professionals by Chris Legaspi (Author), 3dtotal Publishing (Editor) (Book)

Great examples of how to construct the human figure in 3D software. This book is also useful for demonstrating the insertions and origins for muscles in various poses. This is one of the few resources that give equal time to describing female and male anatomy.

7) Anatomy for Sculptors: Understanding Human Anatomy by Uldis Zarins with Sandis Kondrats (Authors), Monika Hanley (Editor), Sabina Grams (Photographer), Edgars Vegners (Illustrator) (Book)

This book focuses mainly on illustrations of the human form from many different views. There is little commentary or description. In some ways this has advantages over other anatomy books in that the artists can avoid being distracted by words. Sometimes descriptions are required however, that is why the other resources on this list are still essential.

8) Proko TV (Course/Youtube Channel) and the Skelly App (App)
Stan Prokopenko has a playful approach to studying human anatomy. He goes in depth with describing the origins and insertions of muscles with the help of his 3d animated sidekick, Skelly. With the Skelly App, artists can experiment with posing the skeleton. He encourages artists to practice drawing muscles over the skeleton to improve their understanding.

9) Figure Drawing (for all it’s worth) by Andrew Loomis (Book)

This book is another classic anatomy book. The book focuses more on aesthetics than detailed human anatomy. His illustrations are beautiful and he borrows examples from Dr. Paul Richer (p 62-63) and Jean-Antoine Houdon (p 175)

10) UArtsy by Ryan Kinslien et al. (Courses)

Kingslein and his collaborators offer various courses for learning anatomy and applying that knowledge to drawing and sculpture.


ZBrush Every Week Series: Week 4 Female Torso

My Anatomy illustrations based on the drawings of Richer continues. I took what I learned from the male anatomy illustrations and applied it to female anatomy. Be aware these images are anatomically correct and may not be suitable for work.











ZBrush Every Week Series: Week 3 Torso

Continuing my Zbrush series based on the drawings of Dr. Richer. Dr Richer was a French anatomist, physiologist, sculptor and anatomical artist. Richer approached anatomy like a draftsman; he created drawings of top, side, and front views that can be used for developing 3d models. A great tool for  using with ZBrush! I began this sculpt with my Zbrush basemesh and used the image plane tool with the various views to get the finer detail. I also included the skull I sculpted earlier to ensure correct proportions.







Working on Likeness…

Working on Likeness is one of the most difficult things to do in sculpting. Trying to replicate the shape, shadows and angles of a face based on photos taken at different stages of someone’s life is challenging. Here are two of my attempts in ZBrush. Scroll to the end to see who I was trying to portray.



“Read More”

Bernini's David from Wiki Commons

My Nine Favorite Sculptors (Digital and Traditional)

Figurative art is all about observation. Looking at the work of other artists helps to improve an artist’s technique. These are the artists who inspire me to be better. I learn just by looking at their work and some of them have videos detailing their technique.

1) Ryan Kingslien

rki_09Ryan Kingslien

(Samples of Ryan’s work from Gnomon Workshop & CGSociety)

Ryan Kingslien attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and trained as a traditional sculptor. He was the first product manager for ZBrush at Pixologic and played a key role in developing the sculptural feel of ZBrush. Ryan is an excellent teacher and his curriculum has been used by computer graphics companies such as ILM, Sony Pictures, Imageworks and Electronic Arts. To see Ryan’s teaching methods you can look at his YouTube channel, his iSculptStuff website, his Visualarium training website or ZbrushWorkshops. What I like about his ZBrush work is that it looks like traditional clay and has a very loose sculptural quality. His teaching focuses on anatomy and he gives his students a solid foundation to build on. I see the influence of Rodin in his work.

2) Rodin (1840-1917)

The Kiss400px-Monument_to_Balzac

(Rodin’s Thinker, Monument to Balzac and the Kiss from wikipedia and tumblr)

François-Auguste-René Rodin was largely self-educated although he did take drawing classes from Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran. Like many great artists of the period (look up the Impressionists), his work was not appreciated by the Academy. His work has a very loose expressive quality with great mastery of anatomy. He breathed life into his work
through his treatment of form.

3) Scott Eaton


(A sample of Scott’s work from

Scott Eaton studied both engineering and art as an undergraduate at Princeton University. He later received his master’s degree from the renowned MIT Media Lab and continued his art studies at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. He is a master anatomist who teaches courses in anatomy and digital sculpture through his website. He developed an anatomy app for the iPhone with Michael Defeo called L’Ecorché.

4) Kris Costa

kris-costa-28 (A sample of Kris Costa’s work from izbrush)

Kris Costa trained at Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasilia, Brazil. He works for Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and was responsible for sculpting the incredible Hulk in the Avengers movie (2012). He has a tighter realistic style.

5) Magdalena Dadela


(A sample of Magdalena ‘s work from Magdalena Dadela beta-test)

Magdalena Dadela is a 3D Character artist educated at the Vancouver Film School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her work has a very delicate realism and has a very high level of polish. She has worked on some of the most popular video games in the world including Assassin’s Creed. Her work has been used by Pixologic to illustrate the documentation and training videos for ZBrush. Her work shows echoes of Bernini.

6) Phillipe Faraut

mysoul1 artcritic1

(My Soul and the Art Critic are samples from Phillipe’s website)

Phillipe Faraut trained at Germain Sommeillier in Annecy, France. He is a master of portraiture and expression in clay. I love the sneer he created for “The Art Critic”. I get the sense he was making a comment about a real critic.

7) Bernini (1598-1680)


(Bernini’s David from

Gian Lorenzo Bernini trained under his father in Rome and became an important sculptor in the Seventeenth century patronized by Cardinals and Popes. His delicate realistic style is impressive even now. He turns marble into living humanity. Compare his dynamic energetic David to Michelangelo’s David. Bernini’s David looks like he is about to kill a giant.

8) Honoré Daumier (1808-1879)

Daumier busts

(Sample sculptures by Daumier from

Although best known for his political cartoons, Honoré Daumier sculptures are another example of a loose painterly approach to sculpture. Please read my poem based partly on his work “Gargantua”

9) Rembrandt (1606-1669)


(Rembrandt’s self-portrait from

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is the only painter on this list. I put him here because he applied paint as though he were sculpting especially in his later works.

Blender with BSurfaces: My Dream 3D app come true?

BSurfaces v1.5 on Vimeo

Image taken from a video by Blend_ideas at vimeo.

Three years ago, I knew about Blender but it still had many usability issues and had poor implementations of the things I was used to in commercial software.

The move to the new 2.5 interface made Blender more attractive and easier to learn. With the addition of BSurfaces and Cycles, Blender is seriously giving commercial software a run for its money in the areas of modeling and rendering respectively. External renderers like YafaRay and LuxRender make Blender even more competitive. Sculpting and animation are two areas where Blender is still not as strong as compared to commercial software like ZBrush (can’t rebuild subdivision levels, can’t handle billion+ polygon counts, and a limited number of sculpting tools) or Maya (more compatibility with other 3D apps and sophisticated rigging and animation tools) but given the rate of improvement this could change.

What is so great about BSurfaces? Put simply, BSurfaces allows an artist to create an intricate surface with just a few hand drawn lines; ZBrush has a similar feature but Blender’s version preserves good topology. BSurfaces also supports retopology in a method very similar to Topogun. Draw the guidelines and BSurfaces fills in the polygons. Although it does not come standard with Blender, you can download the addon from Blender Artists Bsurfaces thread (Dec. 1, 2015). If Blender had been this good in 2009, I could have saved myself some serious change. Click on the image above to see BSurfaces in action in a video by Blend_Ideas.

Update August 17, 2012: QRemesher in ZBrush 4R4 provides similar topology functions to Blender’s BSurfaces.