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March 29, 2013
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This IS your (great?) grandfather's theropod by ScottHartman This IS your (great?) grandfather's theropod by ScottHartman
Megalosaurus - the first scientifically described dinosaur (that is, wherein the describer had some idea of what he or she actually was describing). Though still woefully incomplete, I've utilized all of the material that Benson referred in 2010, and filled in the missing pieces with Torvosaurus-ish material to reflect the phylogenetic relationship found in the same paper.

Also, while the next couple weeks should be productive, it will also not have scale bars, rigorous versions, and other such niceties until I can catch up.
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:iconsauroniops:
please can you do afrovenator?
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:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 May 24, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing skeletal, Mr. Hartman. How do you do them, and how long does it usually take?
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman May 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!

I prefer to gather my own measurements and photos directly from the specimens, but often I rely on measurements and photos supplied by others (especially when I'm working with someone else on a collaborative project). At times I've relied on published descriptions, but only if I can get enough photographic documentation and there are sufficiently published measurements that it seems reasonable to attempt a reconstructions.

Once I've gathered all the data I illustrate individual bones in Photoshop on separate layers (to facilitate future changes in pose and/or corrections), which aside from drawing also requires a lot of quality time spent with a calculator to make sure everything is scaled properly. I usually articulate the skeleton as I illustrate the bones, although I often have to make corrections later (especially in quadrupedal dinosaurs, where the position of the forelimbs have a direct impact on the vertebral column). When all is said and done I illustrate the silhouette on the lowest layer, basing it on my current understanding of dinosaur soft tissue reconstruction.

The data gathering phase can last anywhere from perhaps a day (if the data is all gathered for me and I just have to read all the relevant technical literature and make sense of the images sent to me) to several weeks, if a project requires travel to get the data. Once that's done it usually takes most of a day to scale everything, and then another 2 days of solid work to produce a finished skeletal. Sometimes this is slightly shorter or longer depending on the taxa (turtles can be remarkably fast to illustrate, while armored dinosaurs seem to take forever).
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:iconsteveoc86:
How do you decide what resolution to use when doing a skeletal reconstruction? When I was starting my Paluxysaurus skeletal I couldn't decide how many centermeters each pixel would represent.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman May 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Honestly Steve, I don't calculate the pixels/unit distance ahead of time. I generally create the highest resolution image my computer can handle with hundreds of active layers (now that I have 24gb of RAM this is rather large), and scale the skeletals to fit within it. After illustrating known elements of the hind leg and pelvis I will scale them to the appropriate relative size and then create an absolute scaling factor from there for use with additional elements.

I also routinely illustrate the skull and mandible in a separate file at 2-3 times the resolution and then import a flattened version into the skeletal file to be appropriately scaled down.
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:iconsteveoc86:
That's what I ended up doing with all the elements. I had different files for the cervical, dorsal, caudal, limbs and skull. These acted as 'sandboxes' in which I could restore the bones. I then scaled in the elements into the final composition. The advantage it gave was increased resolution and a smaller file size. The disadvantage is that there is a lot of back and forth when you need to change somthing.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman May 27, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
At one point I did that (actually, my first digital attempts included scanning pen and ink drawings of sections into separate files and then joining them together). As RAM got cheaper I eventually transitioned to having everything in one master PSD (except for the skull and mandible), although those get to be pretty monster files.

BTW, in case anyone is wondering, an ideal computer for this sort of thing should have Photoshop installed on an SSD (preferably two, with a smallish secondary one only being used as a scratch disk) and as much RAM as you can afford. A mid-range video card that is new enough to work with Adobe's compute acceleration is also nice, but not as important as solving the read/write bottleneck.
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:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 May 24, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wow. I'd guessed it was an involved, complicated process, but not that it could take weeks. That is dedication. It must be a pain for you if new discoveries force you to totally redo everything.
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:iconscotthartman:
ScottHartman May 24, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hah, yes. I've done a series of updates and reposes this year, and since January I have over 100 hours in on revising skeletal reconstructions. I guess that's my fault for producing so many ;)
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:iconwynterhawke07:
Wynterhawke07 May 24, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Darn palaeontology, changing all the time like that! :D Keep up the good work, Mr. Hartman!
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