About this project
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of my backers, I've reached my initial goal! Any additional pledges will now provide me with the capability to do so much more! (See "Stretch Goals" below) Thanks again so much for your support! - Tyler
Who I am
I collaborate with paleontologists and museums to create lifelike restorations of prehistoric creatures. The twenty-three and counting new species I have restored represent a “who’s who” of significant recent paleontological finds, appearing in documentaries, national news features, magazines, books, newspapers and scientific publications; my reconstructions are on permanent display in the collections of over twenty natural history museums in the US and around the world, and have toured over twenty-five major national and international venues as key showpieces in traveling exhibits. Please browse my website if you'd like to learn more about my Paleoart: www.tylerkeillor.com
How Kickstarter works
The process behind this site is crowd funding, and the power of crowd funding comes from as many people as possible seeing my project and contributing, or passing the link along to other people. Even the smallest donation helps! With Kickstarter, the funding is all or nothing, meaning that if I don't reach my goal in the timeframe, I will receive no funding and none of the backers will be charged. If I exceed my goal, I'll be able to do so much more to bring Dryptosaurus into reality...Thanks for your help!
My Kickstarter plan is to create the most realistic, accurate, and up to date life-reconstruction of the predatory dinosaur Dryptosaurus. Surpassing the traditionally sculpted life-sized dinosaur busts I've become known for, this will be a full body digital sculpture. I will use the latest paleontological information as the foundation for my creation, and have my work reviewed for accuracy by paleontologist Steve Brusatte, lead author of the most current in-depth study of Dryptosaurus. My references will also include discussions with paleontologist and theropod expert Dr. Thomas Carr.
There are several reasons for my decision to create Dryptosaurus digitally:
*Scale - working in the real world, a life-sized dinosaur sculpture requires tons of clay, vast amounts of molding and casting rubber and resin, and an enormous investment of time...The digital model requires no physical space or supplies as it is created three-dimensionally on a computer screen, and can exist at any scale for a variety of uses in a fraction of the time.
*Editable - a life-sized dinosaur sculpture is a permanent commitment of design, pose, and detail...The digital model is infinitely editable, so I can change the design if new fossils shed light upon the specimen; I can alter the pose through any imaginable range of motion; and I can refine such details as covering the skin in scales and also in feathers as a speculative alternate. This same model can also be edited by transforming its scale and proportions, so I can modify it to create the entire life cycle of Dryptosaurus, from lanky hatchling to grizzled behemoth.
*2D plus 3D - the digital Dryptosaurus will exist as a high quality, archived, editable model on my computer. This model can be "photographed" within the program, creating still images that can be used in newspaper or magazine articles, slides in lectures, images in press releases, or as a reward for you! The digital image can also be displayed on a computer screen museum interactive or video, either as a still image or a rotating 3D model, for example. The model also serves as the foundation for digital animation, which could bring the beast to life for a documentary clip, for instance...But the real thrill for me as a traditional sculptor comes from the ability to output my digital sculpture into the real world at any scale. Prototyping and computer driven milling machines can take my digital data, and create anything from a miniature that could fit in the palm of your hand (one of your rewards!), up to a full life-sized carving of my model. My real-world artistry is still needed to finish the output models with color and other details; however the amount of labor and supplies that have been saved by using this workflow is staggering!
I've previously created a traditionally sculpted life-sized head of Dryptosaurus for the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda, Illinois. The museum is currently in the planning/design phase for relocating to a new facility and staff are considering purchasing the remainder of the Dryptosaurus - the full size body - for permanent exhibition.
Here's what I need to create this project and share it with the world:
1. ZBrush - this is the digital sculpture program that I will use, which I have been studying for almost a year through books and webinars.
2. Digitizing tablet - this is how I will interact with the program, using a "pen" on a tablet to control my digital sculpture tools as I sculpt my digital clay.
3. Dedicated laptop - I need a powerful new laptop that can handle both the sculpture program and the level of detail I intend to create.
4. Prototyping services - to create the proof of concept real-world models from my digital sculpture, I'm working with Acme Design, Inc. to generate my miniature Dryptosaurus reward.
If I exceed my initial goal, there is so much more I can do with additional funds -
* Life-sized tests - I want to ensure that the appearance of my Zbrush model's details (that I view on my computer screen) also appear natural when 3D printed at life-size. I'll work with Acme Design, Inc. to run a series of tests with a section of my digital Dryptosaurus, outputting it in EPS foam on a FROGMill 4 axis CNC router for inspection and testing. Within Zbrush I can alter the intensity of the skin texture, for example, to determine the best solution for the real-world full size sculpture.
* Protofeathers - The fuzzy coating of protofeathers on my original full-sized head were individually created and hand applied one at a time, a process that required close to a week for just the bust! For the full sized body, I'll need another technique. I'm going to develop a custom-created fiber on a stretchy fabric backing to replicate the look of the filamentous feathers that I've already established. National Fiber Technologies is the company that I'll be working with to create my feather fabric; they've created the furry coverings for most of the amazing creatures you've seen on TV and in Hollywood blockbusters.
* Surface scanning services - I'd like to be able to import my traditionally sculpted Dryptosaurus head into Zbrush, so I can digitally sculpt the body to meet up and blend with it. To do this, I'll need to have the head sculpture surface scanned, thus digitizing it and coverting it into a format that can be used within Zbrush. I'll be using the services of Exact Metrology, Inc. to scan the head and process the data so I can manipulate it within digital space.
* Documentation - I'm very excited at the prospect of working with a Chicago filmmaker to chronicle my project and progress as I bring Dryptosaurus into being.
* Augmented reality - I had originally hoped to include some augmented reality as a backer reward, but it proved a bit too complicated for me to tackle at the time. However, I'd love to do some experimentation with my digital Dryptosaurus and a company that creates Augmented reality interactions. My idea is to create a card with a code printed on it, which you will hold up to your enabled computer cameras - then, on the screen, the Dryptosaurus will appear to be standing on the card, and can be rotated or moved around with the movement of the card in your hand!
Thanks for your interest!!
Steve Brusatte - American Museum of Natural History
Clint Borucki - Acme Design, Inc.
Thomas Carr - Dinosaur Discovery Museum
Steve Furnett - Lake County Discovery Museum
Ryan Kingslien - Visualarium
Photo credit (initial photo): Jess Smith, Photo Smith
Video clips featuring Tyler's sculptures:
I have added a short video (Update #2) to the Update section at the top of this project page, in which I describe the Alioramus heads in more detail and demonstrate their appearance.
I describe the head as a miniature, scaled down version of the full size sculpture I created. This small cast measures 2.5 inches long. I added a more detailed description with images in Update #1 (see top of page to click).
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