IVL Sketchbook

Thank you Harapuzo! :+1: It is great to see your work so well received. We have a beluga and a narwhal coming soon so keep your eyes on the thread. I may put up an exploded CT render of the juvenile’s skull today too if i can get it finished.



A little CT work. Render and layout all within Zbrush.
brain details final low.jpg


brain details final low.jpg

Awesome work and very useful
Thx for the share

Sometimes a good texture map makes all the difference.
grey seal skull.jpg


grey seal skull.jpg

Greetings Zbrush,

It has been awhile since we have posted in here, been lots brewing in the lab lately. We recently finished putting a series of works together for an art exhibit and as a good number of the finished renders had their
origins in or were made exclusively with Z-brush I thought I would share some of them with the community. Let us know what you think!!

This one is made from a rather old 3d scan of a pecked whale bone mask from Alaska. This entire assemblage is going to be revisited by us in the near future in order to capture better data so don’t be surprised to see variations of this artifact soon.

We wanted to include some more cetaceans because they were such a big hit last time. We made the executive decision that they needed to be enormous and decided
to throw a dolphin in for good measure as well. Measuring in at !! 120 x 40 inches !! this render is a real eye catcher.

This is a detail of the latest articulation Short Beaked Common Dolphin (Saddle Back Dolphin) masterfully done by Robert.

hotsprings ornate wall.jpg

These are 3D models of various artifacts from many years of archaeological research in Alaska. These are beautiful and extraordinarily rare. No question this was my all time favorite collection to have had the pleasure to work with.

whale seal layoutsmall.jpg
A little bump and displacement helps bring out fine details.

whorl combo.jpg

This is a piece from some bio-mechanical work being done in the lab with Robert and a team of exceptional paleontologists trying to unwrap the mysteries of the Helicoprion.
Shown is a 3d scan cleaned and rendered with a low resolution reconstruction of the feature represented in the fossil. We have much higher detail versions of this
but as the research is still very much underway I can’t reveal what else is behind the curtain. However, expect to see more of this material soon as well!
This is the kind of stuff that makes science sexy :wink:

ct 1 false color.jpg

Finally, a little more false color CT work. I really love pealing these files apart…don’t ask me why but it’s a little like popping bubble wrap for me.

That is all for now, we have tons of new stuff that we are working on and we have even more of these up on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IdahoVirtualizationLaboratory) so feel free to hop over and browse. Don’t forget to drop us a like and say hi while you are there!!




Beautiful work -> thanks for posting!!!:sunglasses:small_orange_diamond:+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:small_orange_diamond:+1:

bear ugly bone.jpg

Something a little Grizzly for Halloween.


bear ugly bone.jpg

Hello ZBC!

My name is Jesse, and I have been working with Nick and Bob at the IVL for going on 3 years now. I work as the labs paleontologist so I get to scan and model all of the fossils that come our way. It has been a while since we have posted anything here so I figured I would introduce myself and post a few of my better models.



This is a Coelacanth that I scanned at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and painted real quick with polypaint.

Great job! Perhaps in the future I will have to try sculpt model Latimeria in ZBrush. It’s nice to look at as a realistic model.

…are you a Coelacan, or a Coelacanth?
That looks great! Are you going to animate it?

rulonis, I would love to see it!

sadicus, Thanks! I would like to, animating is something I am going to try soon.

Here is a fun one. This a skull from an Ice Age Canis dirus, the dire wolf, scaled to the size of Ghost from Game Of Thrones! This is part of a project that Nick and I are working on, maybe he will share some of the cool stuff he has done so far…

Dire wolf skull.jpg

Here is an amazingly well preserved cranium of an Ice Age bison from Alaska. It is right around 33 inches from tip to tip of the horns.

Bison priscus.jpg

Last one for the night. This is another piece of the dire wolf. Nick and I are scanning and repairing a horrible cast that the museum owns. This is the pelvis with before and after shots to show what was changed. Nick made a nice video last week of a similar type of repair to one of the arm bones, I’ll try and talk him into sharing it here.

Dire wolf pelvis.jpg

I wanted to add up a little render and materials side project that we’ve been working on here in the lab. We have been trying to figure out ways that we can create single materials that emulate the natural look and feel of bones (or whatever) that we can then apply to an entire skeletal assembly and export as texture information to be used in other programs. The first and most important part of this is to make sure we get the materials looking and acting right, hence the renders below…I have read that once satisfied with these materials, using both zbrush and photoshop, we can pull displacement maps off each bone, apply those to a polymesh plane (one for each individual element), apply the desired material to it, and then export those as 2048x2048 tiles which can then be re-imported and read as texture information. I am still working out exactly how to do that. When I do I will add up some more images.

The individual bone models below were all scanned with FARO arms and edited in other software. We then brought them all into Z where they were: re-topologized to low density meshes with all quads (most scan editing software deals exclusively with tri’s which are a major headache to work with), had the original models projected back in to reclaim detail, added some more detail via sculpting just to sharped up a few spots, assembled with t-pose master, and rendered. The colors are all material based, no textures and zero polypaint. It is amazing what can be done with matcap, render and lighting settings in this program. Every time I push a new button something totally unexpected and amazing happens. The rocks in the second render were all sculpted entirely with z-sketch ‘blobs’ and, again, rendered using only a matcap material for color.

Full body perspective zpost2.jpgassembly low zpost layout2.jpgRock pose master cropped zpost2.jpgrock pose low zpost layout2.jpg

More to come on this…it’s a tinker project afterall.


Full body perspective zpost2.jpg

assembly low zpost layout2.jpg

Rock pose master cropped zpost2.jpg

rock pose low zpost layout2.jpg

Thanks for sharing those, it’s a great specimen!

In order to take a shader style into a texture map you need to UV the model and produce a displacement map. Then apply your shader and the displacement map to a relevant polygon level square/3d plane (this can be quite low). I would start with a document as big as you can manage in order to output the rendered plane as big as you can, perhaps 4-8k, then this becomes your uv texture map. The problem is that a shader is light dependent and so you wont have those edge/curve qualities that you can see in the large areas, but the shader will effect the detailed areas providing your model has them. The other problem is the seams that will most likely become apparent. Both these things may require some ZApplink usage although for so many bones it could take a while, and so you could also render out a rough patch or a few patches of your shader to use as brushes, then apply your finalized texture mentioned above, to polypaint and touch up with the brush set.


Thanks Arran!! I knew that this was possible but I wasnt clear on the steps. This definitely gives me something to work with. All of the bones have been unwrapped so producing displacements should be a snap. Ill post up progress as I make it!


I’m glad to see new pieces here. Great works! Inspiring too! Love the bone textures and the Matcap works wonders.

Happy New Year ZBC!! It has been a good while since any of us have posted in here…we find that happening a lot (time flies when you’re having fun!) so I figured it was time to put up a few of the art pieces I built for a mythical creatures exhibit we did in December.
When you are sitting on a database stuffed with thousands of models of bones it’s impossible not to play with them once in awhile. All work and no play and all of that.

This first one is a Mermaid. I started with a human skeleton that we modeled years ago and ‘fixed’ it. The ribs were hosed, the cranium had the calvarium removed, the spinal column was bent and gnarly etc. etc. So I went through and corrected everything,
rebuilt a few elements, idealized the ribs, re-fused the cranium, corrected its shape and made it into a quad mesh then started the build. This has some harbor porpoise, some stellar sea lion, some human, and A LOT of hand modeled stuff
(including hair…my first attempt at fibers :D)

Outside of the scanning software used to create some of the base models, this entire build: fixing, sculpting, editing, rendering, layout design etc. was all done with Z-Brush and Photoshop. Approximately 390 million points wrapped up into this one, minus the hair, and the final dimensions were 81x32 inches.