Digital Dinosaur: Parasaurolophus
Hello Dinosaur fans!
Have you seen the recent news about a high school student who found a fantastic baby dinosaur skeleton? This story, publicized in conjunction with the release of a major study of that specimen, was years in the making, and I'm privileged to now share with you the small role I played in it.
You might remember that when I launched my Kickstarter campaign a year ago, I pledged to donate my digital reconstruction services to the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's annual auction as a way of giving back to science. Almost exactly a year ago, at that auction, my services were won by paleontologist Dr. Andy Farke, from the Raymond Alf Museum in California. Andy and his team had been working on this baby Parasaurolophus skeleton for some time, and he thought that a digital rendering might add to the press release. Long before I became involved in the project, Andy had been collaborating with several other artists as well, to illustrate various aspects of the dinosaur's anatomy for the publication. Scott Hartman created the precise skeletal illustration, which was a tremendous aid to me in the work I did. Ville Sinkkonen modeled an accurate digital skull reconstruction, which also played into my digital flesh model. Lukas Panzarin painted a stunning portrait of the animal in life (which unfortunately at least one online news outlet has erroneously attributed to me).
This past May, I began working on the project in earnest, creating draft Zbrush models of the baby dinosaur based upon the data that Andy was sending me, and then revising and refining my digital model based upon his feedback. By late September, I handed over a 2D rendering of my model and a video clip showing the model turning in 3D space, and Andy was preparing for his Oct. 22 press release (see image and video below). It was a tremendous experience, both in terms of the collaboration with Andy, and also in that I was compelled to learn even more about Zbrush than I had while working on the digital Dryptosaurus project. In addition to using the timeline feature to create camera moves, I learned the basics of how to render a painted, lit and shaded view of the model and edit that in Photoshop - something I can now do with the Dryptosaurus model (as I had originally intended to do, and will share with you when it is ready).
While my contribution to "Joe" the baby Parasaurolophus' story is certainly not the centerpiece, know that without your support of my successful Kickstarter project, there would not be a digital life reconstruction of this amazing discovery at all!
Thanks as always!