Author Topic: 3D Modeling an Andalite  (Read 324 times)

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Offline Artisan219

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3D Modeling an Andalite
« on: May 15, 2017, 10:03:58 PM »
TLDR: I'm 3D modeling an Andalite and I'm trying to nail down their anatomy. Exobiology is kind of a thing for me. Yay for strange hobbies.

Warning: This is a very long post. Stay to enjoy the rant and by all means leave feedback, but I have a lot of random thoughts about aliens and no one to talk to about it, so lucky you guys. I posted some of this on Reddit and Tumblr, but I figured I'd out all my thought processes in this post.

Okay, here we go.

I've been procrastinating on redoing my portfolio for way too long, and since I've recently gotten back into this series (and haunting the subreddit), I thought it would be a fun pet project to try to 3D model an Andalite (on top of writing my fan fiction).

The first step for this kind of project would be to nail down the anatomy through a series of concept sketches, and I thought it might be cool to put this to the board and see what kind of anatomy we end up with, as I think a lot of us have a different head canon of what an Andalite looks like.

Now, all respect for Romas Kukalis, who did amazing illustrations for the series, but I personally want my Andalites to be more obviously alien than simply blue or purple centaurs. This is a species that evolved very differently from life on Earth and I don't want to copy and paste human and deer anatomy. It would be easier, by far, but that's not where I want to go.

I did a lot of image searching for fan art and I included the ones that really caught my eye.



Lackofa
http://lackofa.deviantart.com
http://lackofa.tumblr.com

This is a clipping of a larger piece on Andalite evolution and various primitive states (hence the lack of stalk eyes or tail blades). What really caught my eye was the way that Lackofa was able to capture the elements described in the books, but execute a creature design that was very alien and a far departure from Kukalis' imagining of Andalites.

I especially like how Lackofa designed recessed arms and reduced the humanoid elements. Further, the seven-toed hoof was, I felt, a very intelligent choice, given that Andalites are described as having seven fingers. The detail sketch of the Andalite foot-mandible was also very impressive, as it really reinforces the idea that this is both a real animal with biology, but is obviously non-terrestrial.

Veit Stanz
http://veitstanz.tumblr.com

For the most part, this design is not very far removed from the Kukalis version, but I was very impressed that just reimagining the fur of the Andalite could make the whole creature look much more alien. There is almost a creepiness to this design that is missing from the Kukalis standard.

Virginia Greene
https://www.instagram.com/virginiagreeneart/

Like Stanz, this design is similar to the Kukalis interpretation. But her design on the skull caught my eye, as did the details in the hooves. Further,  the addition of "gills" in the ribs and other line decisions add understated hints that this is an alien creature. I really liked her take on the tail blade, and the barbs above the hooves.

Victoria Chastan
http://vickie-believe.deviantart.com

This drawing is obviously meant to be more of an animated style, but I was nevertheless intrigued with her artistic choices. The feather-like quality of the hair, the larger eyes, and the decision of the ear placement all work. This concept was intended as a baby Andalite, and the cuteness factor is definitely cranked all the way up. But I was especially keen on the way she interpreted the stalk eyes as far more robust and stable than most Kukalis-inspired designs. The thicker, more tubular stalks sells the biology that there is an eye with nerves, with musculature, et cetera.

Alex Ries
https://www.artstation.com/artist/abiogenesis

This concept is clearly not an Andalite. In addition to a basic Google image search for Andalite concepts, I also looked at other alien drawings and specifically ran a search for hexapod concepts. This one was one of my favorites. Obviously the design is lacking a tail, fur, and so many of things associated with Andalites, but this is a roughly ungulate design (though lacking hooves) that - much like Lackofa's design, includes the "arms" without forcing a humanoid torso. It wouldn't be hard to adapt this concept into an Andalite and it offers valuable insight on how far I can push the definition.

And finally, we come to the Venezuelan poodle moth. I included this for a few reasons. For some reason, looking at those overly large black eyes amid the white fluff, it seams to really sell that this would be a creature that speaks telepathically. Also, I came across a comment by a Tumblr user  that envisioned Andalites with more insectoid qualities. With the Taxxons also in-universe, I would be hesitant to really push for too much insect attributes, but this moth is just too cute and I could see making a case for making the Andalites less obviously mammalian.



This is just a thumbnail sketch, but it gave me a good skeletal anatomy for Andalites, and right now I'm working on some soft-tissue designs. I figured Andalites would have an internal anatomy somewhere between arthropods and vertebrates (an idea Lackof actually tried recently). I've designed the "human" torso as something of an elongated neck or thorax. I'm having trouble working out the tail. It needs to be long enough to whip past the torso, and it's something I'm going to have to work out later, I guess.



And here's one my first test renderings. I'm still working out Andalite ears, but I'm otherwise really happy with the way this turned out.

I came up with a way to account for the Andalite "jaw" as being a highly sophisticated respiratory function. Life on the Andalite homeworld is described as having very little biodiversity and I've attributed this to their planet having a thinner atmosphere and slightly less sunlight. This would also explain why the plant forms on their planet are said to be so highly evolved. The three-slit nose and "jaw" work together as something of a biological gas mask and the Andalites would have a lot of evolutionary adaptations to absorb oxygen from a thinner atmosphere.

I figured the lungs would be housed in this proto-torso. I thought the segmented sections would look very cool and moth-like as they inflate and deflate, but without doing the test animations, I'm still on the fence about it.

Offline XenoFrobe

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 01:16:04 PM »
This is fascinating stuff.  :D  I love the concepts you're pouring into it, keeping it from being too obviously mammalian.  Excessively humanoid aliens is something that bugs me because it doesn't really make sense most of the time.  I also like that the skeleton sketch you're going off of has that kind of short leg base which would enable more tail-whipping past the upper torso and give more rotational mobility for that purpose.
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Offline Forlin

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 04:52:39 PM »
Oooh, this is delightful.  I absolutely love the work you've put into this.  I've never been able to design one, but I'm always such a fan of very alien-looking, well, aliens, and I'm digging your design for the Andalites.  I am so looking forward to seeing more!

Offline rubyPui

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2017, 08:23:52 AM »
Your model look amazing! But it made me wonder about the facial different between male and female andelite. Also, i have thought that their jaws are not need and become small. so they have  1 piece of skull only (i mean mammals need to eat through mouths, Andelites dont.
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Offline Artisan219

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 02:55:19 AM »
This is fascinating stuff.  :D  I love the concepts you're pouring into it, keeping it from being too obviously mammalian.  Excessively humanoid aliens is something that bugs me because it doesn't really make sense most of the time.  I also like that the skeleton sketch you're going off of has that kind of short leg base which would enable more tail-whipping past the upper torso and give more rotational mobility for that purpose.

The tail gave me some issues at first. My current solution is that the tail is thicker at the base where it needs to be very strong, then tapers abruptly to more of a monkey-like tail. Further, since I'm incorporating some invertebrate anatomy, I think the tail may have some tentacle-esque design so it can stretch when swung.

Oooh, this is delightful.  I absolutely love the work you've put into this.  I've never been able to design one, but I'm always such a fan of very alien-looking, well, aliens, and I'm digging your design for the Andalites.  I am so looking forward to seeing more!

Yeah, I haven't forgotten about this project, but my time has been spent other places: mostly on the kids, our new guinea pigs, and my fan fiction. I've been spending some time trying to figure out specific details - How do Andalite hands work? What is the feeding anatomy of the hoof? Right now, I'm thinking the seven "fingers" are going to be short segmented tentacles, like having earthworms or caterpillars for fingers. I really like one of Lackofa's concepts that the feet would have something like insect mandibles.

Your model look amazing! But it made me wonder about the facial different between male and female andelite. Also, i have thought that their jaws are not need and become small. so they have  1 piece of skull only (i mean mammals need to eat through mouths, Andelites dont.
Sr, my mother tounge is not English :(


In this concept, the "jaw" is actually a highly evolved breathing apparatus.

Offline DinosaurNothlit

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 11:53:14 AM »
I know it's been months since you've posted here, but I only just now saw this, and it is awesome.  :D  I love the direction you're taking by rejecting the notion that an alien would be even remotely humanoid.  Can't wait to see your finished design (hopefully life eventually gives you a break long enough to finish it).

As a side note . . . I'm probably going to be getting a 3D printer sometime in August.  I don't know if you'd be interested in having a physical copy of your finished design, but if you are, I'd be willing to print one and send it to you.  If not, though, that's understandable too, since I've heard about a lot of people's designs in the 3D modelling community getting stolen and then sold for profit (I'd promise I wouldn't do such a thing, but you don't know me, so you'd have no reason to trust such a promise).  It's up to you.
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Offline Artisan219

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 08:30:00 PM »
Yeah, I'm still working on it. I just can't post gif links here for some reason. I'm on Facebook if you want to chat. Go to the Animorphs group and you'll find me.

Offline Quaf

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Re: 3D Modeling an Andalite
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 04:05:17 AM »
If you download the attachment and go through the photos really fast, it works like a gif XD

Looks awesome dude
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