Nov 7, 2009

Mosasaur Overhaul

Well with everything in my life falling to bits... shoes, pants, and now the car is "unworthy" to drive according to the transport authority (with just slightly over a month to go here in NZ)... I thought there has been a few 3D projects that could use some fixing up or outright replacement... which leads them to fit in with all the junk currently forms my basis of a life.

There is of course the whale project, which I'm planning on turning out a high quality final product of by the end of the month (knock on wood), but there has been a project I've been meaning to do pretty much since my first year here in NZ...

That is of course the Mosasaur... I guess technically I'm aiming for a Tylosaur, but I typed up the rest of this post using Mosasaur and I'm too lazy to change them all. Besides technically a Tylosaurid is a variety of Mosasaur, so I win.

He has received updates throughout many stages of my 3Ding techniques. The Mosasaur started life as one of only two "Mark: 1" generation models (the other being my first version of Larry). Pictured here in the only rendering of it I still have.

Of course as my modelling and, especially, shading techniques improved I'd try to keep the Mosasaur up to date.
His initial Mark: 2 version was a little too Ichthyosaur in the skull...

A quick update had him corrected quite a bit!

For quite some time I came back to the Mosasaur every few months to keep him update with what I was doing 3Dwise.

As I stalled on my Mark: 2 modelling technique, the improvements got harder and harder. (The top Mosasaur is the latest version the bottom one is its predecessor).

This is where the poor guy has been sitting, never officially seeing the light of day. Yet being cutting edge when he was created, my Mosasaur is now dreadfully behind the modelling times...

I can't let this stand! I've decided he will become the prototype for my new Mark: 6 technique, which will involve a new means of creating 3D objects.

What am I aiming to improve exactly? Well I'd very much like to do a Mosasaur piece for ART Evolved, it needs to be scientifically accurate. So here are some of my current inspirations.

My latest palaeo-art obsession of late has been this Tylosaur by Julius Csotonyi. It completely captures the connection between Mosasaurs and their Monitor Lizard ancestors. Which is one of the things that intrigues me about Mosasaurs (I love monitor lizards, they are such elegant predators... except in their walking :p). Julius has accomplished this mostly through the colouration. Though a few slight hints on the skull anatomy help too.

I would very much love to capture this same feel...

Fortunately I have some fantastic reference photos of the Australian Perentie monitor lizard (Varanus giganteus), which I think if slightly modified would make an excellent Mosasaur colour pattern.

I have a couple ART Evolved articles in the works off what I've been doing with my extant references...

There are still other influences on what I'd like my Mosasaur to look like. Dan Varner is the man when it comes to restoring these marine killers back. So I'll be looking at his work from time to time.
I've had a huge respect for the line drawings of Russell Hawley, and have found them a very good reference for the difference in skulls between various families of Mosasaurs. I've cut his Tylosaurus out from a selection of other Mosasaur types as this is what I am striving to emulate.

In addition to my recent discovery and inspiration from Csotonyi, this Mosasaur by Luis V. Rey has become one of my key references. I especially love the lower jaw and all the teeth on this guy!

Lastly is this old reference of mine, by I think, John Sibbick. If anyone knows one way or the other I'd appreciate it. Anyways I love his paddles.
I have one big question before launching into my effort. Monitor Lizards and Snakes, Mosasaurs closet living relatives, both have lips covering their teeth. Did Mosasaurs too?
This makes a huge difference to my restoration effort. So I'd like to know.
Anyways I'm going to conclude this huge online ramble. Just firing a few of my thoughts and feelings onto paper (after a fashion :P). I find it sometimes helps.
Start updating you once I've dived into this project.


Peter Bond said...

What about this reference pic from Robert Nicholls?

Can't wait to see how Mark6 goes. Folds, details, wrinkles = loving it!

Albertonykus said...

I can't wait for that mosasaur to be finally finished. It's been hanging around for a while now, hasn't it?

I suspect mosasaurs had lips, as they were lizards... I don't know if there's any evidence contradicting this, but for the moment I suggest adding lips.

davidmaas said...

Hmmm... a bit sexier than my ur-amphibian. :-|


Weapon of Mass Imagination said...

Peter- That is an awesome pic. Though I always thought it was a Dan Varner piece... :(

Albertonykus- This Mosasaur has been in the works for nearly 3 years! So I agree, the poor thing has been in hanging for too long.

I too think they had lips, based on the ridge along the upper jaw. However there is a distinct difference in Mosasaurids vs. Tylosaurids on the ridge that should support a lip (Mosas is much more pronounced, Tylos not so much). So I've asked a few experts I know what they think on the subject. I'll keep you all posted on the answer.

David- I love your amphibian... So keep him coming.

More to the point you put yours together so much better then me. So in my book there is no point comparing the two. Though I hope to come close to the quality of your 3D with my new "Mark: 6" style of model.

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

umm.. now I see why you were searching that track you mentioned me a few days ago.

I have an idea and I'll let you see if I can "cast the right spell".

Raptor Lewis said...

Looks good, man! I like the idea of trying your hand at something new! I really have no suggestions, but I kind of find Albertonykus' suggestion of lips interesting and a definite possibility as they are like marine monitor lizards. ;P Morphologically...anyway.

Nima said...

The last reference painting of a Mosasaur you posted, is by Raul Martin, not John Sibbick. Although he certainly imitates Sibbick's style in that piece.

Your 3D Mosasaur is coming along pretty good. The only thing at issue here is the texture and some parts of the jaws look too bulky.... maybe this is just from a weird angle or something. Overall I think it needs to be a bit more lizard-like, but I see you addressed that in the next post!