Why do people still learn Anatomy with all this 3D Scanning?

Hi everyone,

This might be a stupid question but I just don’t understand why people still model bodies by hand.
You can buy posed or unposed scanned males and females and simply modify them a bit to fit your needs.
I mean for games or figure sculpts the endresult is what matters.
So why are people still learning anatomy so eagerly?
I’m asking because I try to make a decision on what to spend my time best for to learn.
Maybe I just have overlooked something.

Cheers Chris

Learning and ultimately mastering anatomy is one of the most important aspects of art and is probably the #1 most important skill when it comes to sculpting. It’s also one of the most challenging. It is the difference between a decent, acceptable sculpt and a masterpiece. Lets say you’re given a perfectly scanned model of a woman. Great. But your project leader/director wants you to change her smile to a frown. People who don’t take the time to study anatomy will most likely not understand the mechanics of a frown, the muscles involved, etc, and when they attempt to push and pull verts around, or simply move the corners of the mouth and call it a day, the character’s frown will look “CG” and fake, even to non-artists. Or what happens if the director wants you to make her fat? You can’t just up the brush size to max and inflate the entire mesh. That’s not how fat deposits work. How can you pose this character without knowing the mechanics of the human body?

It’s like someone using a guitar VST plugin with pre-recorded licks instead of knowing how to play the instrument through diligent practice and knowledge of scales, music theory, etc.

JSOC already gave a fine answer in regard to how it makes you a better artist, but I’ll give you an even more practical one.

Simple. Because the people that you’ll be competing against at the professional level will all have a strong grasp of fundamentals, and there’s no room those who don’t. Why would you as an employer hire someone with such a limited skillset, over someone much more versatile and adaptable?

I’m 100% agree with you. it looks artificial

Another reason to learn anatomy… Why is it a good thing to limit yourself to what is possible to scan? what about fantasy heroes or monsters? what about stylization?

Scans dont come out all that clean, and are very high resolution. Someone who understands anatomy needs to sculpt in that missing data, clean up the model, and produce proper topology. That topology follows anatomy, in which you need to know.

Aside from this people learn anatomy for difference reasons, one is simply because they are artists, and wish to sculpt, draw. To sculpt out a concept where the art director has something specific in mind, you need to be flexable, be able to create hybrid Human, animals, and without skeletal and muscle knowledge it will look bad. A character artist needs to understand dynamic anatomy, and getting someone to pose a T pose scan without anatomy knowledge will have to know his/her anatomy very well for this.


Well, yes you can buy already made model, or scan somebody and get model with real anatomy. But what if you need an unique character. Not like standart models, or any people living(whom you potentially can scan). So you would need to create a new model, or make changes to a prescanned one (as I actually do most of the times), and this is where you need some anatome skills to do it correctly. Myself i made tons of strange stuff while learned, before i realized that i need to know anatomy to create realistic models. On the other hand, whan you rigg and animate your model, you have to know how the mussles moves to make your character move naturally, without twisted joints and broken bones.
If speaking about unreal characters like monsters, you don’t need much human anatomy(if it’s not humanoid) but you should understand how mussles works to make your monster more realistic.

We can 3D scan now, but what if you need to make a character that isn’t realistic? Take Overwatch for example. That kind of character would be a bit more difficult to 3D scan. It’s always useful to know anatomy, and the artists who do are stronger for it. Good anatomy knowledge is also a requirement on a lot of job applications for character artists :slight_smile: