How long did it take you to learn human anatomy?

Question is for sculptors and painters alike. How much time has passed since you started learning anatomy till you were able to draw/sculpt a realistic human character from scratch? With no basemesh, references, overpainting etc. - you open a clean file and you can draw/sculpt a human right there, with no help.

I'm not asking "how long it takes" - I'm asking how long it took you to get there.

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  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi polycount lvl 666
    I've been doing this for 8 years, and I can't confidently do that.

    Who doesn't use reference?  O.o
  • BIGTIMEMASTER
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    BIGTIMEMASTER ngon master
    everybody works from reference.

    download the gumroad tutorials from any of the top character artist. They don't not work from reference. So "draw/sculpt a human right there, with no help" is kind of a useless question. Nobody is making game art "without any help." It's just not a situation you'll ever be in so there is no need to train for that.

    Also, study never ends. Look at artstation. The best character artist are still doing anatomy studies during their lunch breaks.

    Personally I learned the names of muscles and bones in high school when I took a Human Anatomy and Physiology class. I was big into working out at the time so I actually payed attention in that class.

    As far as having a mental library to quickly and accurately judge a character to ensure common proportions and key landmarks are how they should be... I dunno, probably many years from now I could be there, but again, reference ensures I don't have to rely on my own faulty memory.

  • slosh
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    slosh ngon master
    Yea I'm not sure you ever "master" anatomy.  Even those who most would consider "masters" will tell you they aren't.  And EVERYONE works from reference.  If I see someone ditching ref, I'm immediately dismissing that person as someone who isn't taking this seriously.  ALWAYS use reference when you work...I don't care who you are.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    I learned all my anatomy from dissecting human cadavers in medical school.
  • ned_poreyra
    NikhilR said:
    I learned all my anatomy from dissecting human cadavers in medical school.
    The question is "how long", not "how".
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    NikhilR said:
    I learned all my anatomy from dissecting human cadavers in medical school.
    The question is "how long", not "how".
    Whoops, thought it would be self explanatory since duration of medical school early years, so 2 years.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi interpolator

    Yeah, do yourself an almighty favour, make use of those refs.

    I hale from a traditional painter/sculptor (...base relief) background and still references are an integral element in order too capture a accurate representation, well close enough anyway. Anatomy is a life long quest in a fruitless search for perfection few have mastered although in my humble opinion quite possibly during the classical Greek sculptors or indeed Renaissance Masters would number among said 'few' but even then Da Vinci, Buonarroti Simoni and Raphael utilised cartoons as preparatory drawings prior to transferring the approved work too plaster, cadaver research notwithstanding.

    EDIT:

    In terms of "how long" studying anatomy in my case on and off, best recollection began around about 1982, whilst attempting a Fine Arts degree course of study (...partial completion) aged 21.

  • FourtyNights
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    FourtyNights polycounter lvl 5
    I've been studying anatomy for 5+ years so far, and I'm about to get to a decent level, still a LOT to learn, it's a never ending study. What comes to references, there's no way to work without them, ever. End of story. :D

    I managed to create a full finished character within less than a year when I started 3D for the first time. That was back in 2013, and I started getting into 3D in December 2012.
  • Biomag
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    Biomag interpolator
    Why the hell would you do anything without using references? Typically this is a sign of an unexperienced artist not someone who knows what he/she is doing.

    It took me 3 years to get to a decent level where most issues were no longer 'in your face type' that every student could spot, but for the level required for AAA gig it took me longer. Still it is always an ongoing process, you will keep learning. Every time you you 'master' something you will notice another 'big' issue with your work and so on.
  • ned_poreyra
    I think I was misunderstood. I know that people use references. But some people are on such a level that they no longer need them to get a decent result. Like Kim Jung Gi for example He's 44, but he didn't reach that level last year, he can certainly draw like this for quite a while. I'm just interested how long (statistically) does it take to get there. I thought that a couple of people will reply and I would be able to calculate the average learning time. But apparently this is way more rare than I expected and there is currently no one like this on Polycount at all (or they didn't notice this thread for some reason).
  • sacboi
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    sacboi interpolator

    ned_poreyra said:

    I think I was misunderstood. I know that people use references. But some people are on such a level that they no longer need them to get a decent result. Like Kim Jung Gi for example He's 44, but he didn't reach that level last year, he can certainly draw like this for quite a while. I'm just interested how long (statistically) does it take to get there. I thought that a couple of people will reply and I would be able to calculate the average learning time. But apparently this is way more rare than I expected and there is currently no one like this on Polycount at all (or they didn't notice this thread for some reason).

    I think you've totally misunderstood the scope of the foundational tenet you had queried.

    ...may I ask, are you a visual artist?

  • ned_poreyra
    sacboi said:

    I think you've totally misunderstood the scope of the foundational tenet you had queried.

    Sorry, I'm not native English. Could you say it in a little less complicated manner?

    Yes, I'm a beginner sculptor. https://www.artstation.com/nedporeyra Why does it matter?
  • sacboi
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    sacboi interpolator

    Well, I'd suggest as a resource that'll shed more light whilst providing professional insight regarding Anatomy but only one of a number of artistic principles known collectively as the The Fundementals Of Art rather than attempt to explain why in fact your question seems to me at least, meaningless.

    An example from my perspective that profoundly illustrates work by a Baroque Master, which during the course of his short career drew and painted from life, just ordinary people quite literally chosen right off the street too model for his paintings, hence renown down through the centuries as the father of figurative realism alongside a theatrical use of Chiaroscuro.

    "Disposition" - Caravaggio circa: 1600 - 1604

       

         

  • BIGTIMEMASTER
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    BIGTIMEMASTER ngon master
    I doubt any institutions are keeping data about "how long it takes 3d artist to learn anatomy so well they don't need reference."  How would you even record that?

    And what if there was? And the answer was three years. What would that do for you?

  • ned_poreyra
    And what if there was? And the answer was three years. What would that do for you?
    It would mean that it's time for me to give up.
  • BIGTIMEMASTER
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    BIGTIMEMASTER ngon master
    yeah, that's what i thought.

    but the logic doesn't make sense. a professional, digital artist job is not to work from memory. so if you are having trouble achieving the quality of art that you want, try asking for help. Check out the 3d/2d showcase sections. That's what they are there for. Just get involved. If you become part of a community, people aren't going to let you just fail so easily.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 5
    And what if there was? And the answer was three years. What would that do for you?
    It would mean that it's time for me to give up.
    That's bizarre. I don't know of any 3D artist here that doesn't have some reference in front of them when they work. 
    Even for purely concept work they may have a mood board of sorts.

    I mean maybe can manage with muscle memory, but honestly what is the point? If you have references use them.
    Its not like you're pulling up porn as references on a busy day at the studio.

    Also I think more than understanding the fundamentals of human anatomy, its getting comfortable with gesture and form that will help more.
    This is why a life drawing class adds so much more to an artists workflow, since you learn so much about the flow of the human figure.
    Same with speed sculpting which I highly recommend.

    Could you post some of your work we can help.
    I've visited your artstation, since its more cartoony work, given your question are you looking to learn to do more realistic character work?
    Also I love love your rick and morty fan art! Your other pieces are great too! Really nice renders and innovative compositions.


  • ned_poreyra
    I'm pretty bad at reading people, so I'll ask directly, just to be sure that I understand what you all meant: is the ability to draw/sculpt a realistic human on the spot, without the use of references, something so hard and rare, that it's regarded as nearly magical?
  • BIGTIMEMASTER
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    BIGTIMEMASTER ngon master
    no, it's just a useless skill. Or a useless goal, at least. Sure, it's impressive. But there is no shortage of reference and never a reason you cannot use one. So why handicap yourself? Certainly building more knowledge about anatomy is your goal. But you do that by working with reference.

    its like if my goal was to run a marathon. But I got this idea that I should do it by hopping on one leg. And then I asked people, "how long would it take me train for a one legged marathon hop?" What would people say? "We all run with both legs. That's just what we do."


  • ned_poreyra
    Looking at Kim Jung Gi performing I wouldn't say it's a useless ability.
  • BIGTIMEMASTER
  • sacboi
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    sacboi interpolator
    @ned_poreyra said: 
    "Looking at Kim Jung Gi performing I wouldn't say it's a useless ability."

    Now If your end goal is to find employment in the entertainment or for that matter other peripheral sectors of the CG industry i.e. medical, aeronautics, industrial design, military sim, archvis....etc, etc...it most certainly is I'm afraid!

    However your call if spending decades in order to replicate the attribute demonstrated in your linked example is a viable skillset too achieve, then fine by all means go forth...

    BUT! personally it's just an inconceivable waste of time and effort to even contemplate doing so.


  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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