WIP: anatomical rat model

Hi all,

I haven’t shared it here and I am still less than half way, but here the progress of a project I am working on: making a accurate 3d anatomical model of a rat.
Although I can get a lot out of scientific papers, for the skeleton I dissected one rat and for the muscles I am working on now I am in the progress of dissecting another rat. I will probably need a third rat for the intestines.

the rat skull:

the complete skeleton:

basic nerve system:








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And here the first muscles of the head. For this I mostly had to rely on the actual rat. Most visual data in research papers is to vague and I found that a lot of the time simplification also changes the accuracy of illustrations.
I first started with a generic color, but in the end I try to be as accurate as possible with the colors.

BPR_Render.jpgNekspieren2.jpgAcromiotrapezius.jpg24-07-13 - 1.jpg
Look ath the muscle structures I found in the neck!

What you see is indeed a work in progress. Most of the time I start out with what I find in the literature and then adjust that accordingly to what I see in the actual rat. The head muscles are a good example of that: in illustrations they look separated from each other while in reality they smoothly align. So the first pictures are from the data I got from literature, while the last ones are renders as I saw in the real rat.

Working on the rib cage


Hi I really like the style , the process is it all in ZB ZSphere or Dynamesh or do you start with a base mesh ?

Looking forward to seeing more


Hi James,

It all depends on the complexity of the part I am working on. The muscles between the ribs for example are based on meshes I made in blender. Goes faster. But the bones and nerves are mostly build out of ZSpheres. After that I work with dynamesh and of course ZRemesher. The skeleton you see in the images with the muscles is a reduced skeleton that I made as small as possible. After each layer (bones, muscles, nerves, intestines) I go through a optimization process where I make everything as small and efficient as possible.

Yesteday I closed the abdomen with the Obliquus externus abdominis
And I adjusted the pectoralis major. Still have to place the pectoralis minor.
Here you see the latissimus dorsi that covers most of the ribs and the space that the Obliquus externus abdominis left open.
And started with the intestines. First the main tract: sarcophagus, stomach, small intestines, appendix and colon

Great stuff. I am curious about your material and transparency settings on the muscles/gut subtools. nice, clean renders.

Thanks, Carver,

You can find the transparency settings in the tool panel at the display settings. The only problem I have is that when you make a sub-tool transparent, it becomes very transparent immediately, not that tweak-able. But it does do the trick. Later on I will make better renders, this is only for the WIP :wink:


I continue where I stopped last week: the intestines and reproductive organs. I made a start with the testicles and urinary tract. Look at the beautiful shapes of the different parts!

P.S. The kidneys aren’t in the right place. The left kidney is placed lower than the right one

I have put the heart and major arteries in place and the lungs, including the trachea. Also put the nerves I made earlier in the model. Still a lot of work to be done but it is beginning to look like something!


Impressive !


That’s it for today. Working on arteries and veins in its lower abdomen.

It is going slow right now: I am making the skin and although that seems to be easiest part of the rat, everything had to fit in and it still has to look natural. I know now, for example, that the hind legs are a bit too strait underneath the body. I adjusted the toes and fingers with the help of living rats, but those hind legs I still need to do. And still to come: brains, veins and arteries in the legs, molars, glands in the neck, the tongue, the muscles of the legs…
So as you can imagine I am still in a bit of a dip. But I will proceed!

Ton of work there, impressive.


Although I planned to do the muscles of the front legs yesterday and today, I still had to finish the brain. And, as with almost every part of the rat, that wasn’t easy. The 3d renders that are already out there are, I am sorry to say, inaccurate. Although there are a lot of brain atlases out there, even in 3d, most are hard to access or even not maintained anymore. So it took me 2 days to finish this brain, based on bits and pieces found in scientific literature. I also tried to dissect the brain myself, but since I am working from the kitchen table (yes, for real!) I didn’t have the proper equipment (yet). Anyhow: enjoy!