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Bison Latifron - Anatomy Study

Bison Latifron - Anatomy Study

Yoann Keraven
by YoannKeraven on 7 Jul 2023

This bison is my first anatomy study. For the first, I had to think about bones and muscles but also how they interact. I did all the aspects, including lighting and compositing.

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Anatomy study - Bison Latifron

This bison is the first anatomical study I have done. I chose a Bison Latifron because it is an extinct species whose anatomy is close to the modern bison, which allows to have many references while having a little freedom of interpretation.

To begin, I made many researches of references: photographs of bison, bulls, cows, but also bones of museums (some can be seen below). I also did a lot of research, especially with the books Animal Anatomy for Artists (Goldfinger, 2004) and Atlas Animal Anatomy for Artists (Ellendberger, 1956).

I started the modeling with the bones. All the modeling was done on Zbrush. I used a classic modeling method, starting each bone with a low level of subdivision which I then increased for detail. The brushes that were mostly used were Standard, Clay Build Up and Dam Standard.

I modeled 218 bones including the symmetrical ones.

Concerning the UVs of the bones that are similar, for example the vertebrae, I first modeled a single bone on which I unfolded the UVs. Then I duplicated this bone and scultped the variations, in order not to have to unfold the UVs of all the bones one by one. At the end, when I had all the bones, I unfolded and corrected the UVs to better match the shape of the variations.

I used the same method and the same brushes to model the muscles. I was particularly careful not to have bulging muscles but rather flat muscles at rest.

Concerning the color of the muscles and tendons, I did it on Zbrush with the Polypaint. I tried to achieve a color that tends to muscles, without looking like meat.

Due to time constraints, only the outer muscles were modeled. So I modeled a total of about 60 muscles.

I then modeled over the skin and fat shapes, to get a convincing bison silhouette. I used the same method of modeling in Zbrush as for the bones and muscles.

For the skin details, I used a base of textured brushes, and then worked on the details with Standard Dam brushes for the small striations, and Standard and Inflate brushes for the skin folds.

Retopology and UVs have been performed on Maya. The topology is worked on so that the model can be animated.

For the texture, I used mainly Substance Painter. For the skin, which is normally hidden by the fur, I tried to paint color variations according to leather references. By using a mix of different materials, masks and generators, I managed to get a leather look that I liked. I also used masks from Zbrush, based on the cavities and details of the skin, so that I could color the striations of the leather in certain areas.

To keep as much detail as possible from the Zbrush sculpt, I used a displacement map.

The lighting and materials were worked on Maya, the renderings were done on Arnold. For more realism, I added Subsurface Scattering, whose power I adapted to the bones, muscles and leather. I rendered in passes so I could rework my project in post-production if needed.

Finally, the compositing and the reconstruction of the passes were done on Nuke.

Thank you !

Thank you for taking the time to look at my work. During this project I learned a lot, not only about the character and creature production pipeline, but also about quadruped bones and muscles. It's been a pleasure to work on this Bison model.

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