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Sabtu, 31 Agustus 2013

Hexapod evolution in a twist

Just a short post this time, as I am busy painting. The painting in question involves the early evolution of hexapods, something also discussed in a post titled 'The lateral fin theory and mackerel mode'.  

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk
Above you see the specimen of 'Fishes II' that was shown in the previous post. It was digitally sculpted and painted in Sculptris. Such sculpts help define the perspective of the undulating fins. Once you have such a shape in your computer, you can go two ways: the first is to  perfect digital sculpting, which at present probably means mastering ZBrush. That road does result in a 2D image, taken as a snapshot of the model, but do do that the models need to be sculpted with much more finesse that the rough ones I produce. Readers of this blog will know the work of Marc Boulay, who does all this at the expert level.

But I chose to stick with regular figurative painting, because there is something about a painterly look that I like. It is not that easy to define 'figurative painting' in such a way that it excludedes digital sculpting. Perhaps it is creating the illusion of a three-dimensional object by placing colours on a two-dimensional surface. This includes digital painting as well as classical painting using oils or water colours or any such technique (I sometimes encounter a resistance against digital paintings in art circles, which must mean they see it something else than it is: just another technique).

In this process, 3D sculpt programs are aids to get the perspective or the lighting right. As with any technique they have their own unique problems. People will accept any perspective on a photograph or computer rendering, but not on a drawing (see here for an explanation).

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk
Anyway, I try to produce a painterly effect. The two images above show two versions of the head of the Fishes II species Vexilloscissus. The left one was based on the 3D sculpt. I thought the painting was finished, and suddenly realised that there was no way that the six protojaws seen here could evolve into the typical four jaws of the basic terrestrial hexapod Bauplan. That design involves upper and lower jaws with two rows of teeth each, and two lateral jaws with one row each.  While sculpting I had forgotten that, so I had rotated the ensemble of six jaws incorrectly, with jaws in the midline in the upper and lower positions, and no jaw in the lateral positions. In world building it is hard to keep tracks of all the details, or at least that is my excuse for the mistake.  

So I had to erase the jaws and paint them again in the correct position. The result is at the right. It's a  pity really, as I rather preferred the left one. Oh well, never mind...      

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