Applying Human Anatomy to a Furry Character

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Critiques' started by OxfordTweed, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. Neon_Infection

    Neon_Infection Get Out of Here S.T.A.L.K.E.R!

    You have no idea how much this tutorial helped me. Thank you so much =D
  2. Stratelier

    Stratelier Well-Known Member

    Can I make a technical correction to one of the arguments about feet? Let's see, somewhere around this....
    A digitigrade furry's center of gravity doesn't strictly need to center over the knees or hips, but if it's intended to be a balanced pose then the center of gravity must be centered over the toes, the points which actually contact the ground. If this is the case then the posture is balanced, by definition, regardless of all other arguments.

    And of course, just because a digitigrade furry has the lower legs resembling an animal's doesn't mandate him to have the spinal curvature of one. After all, animal spines are optimized for horizontal orientation, and the furry is vertically oriented. The only good references we have for vertically oriented spines are ... well, us homo sapiens.
  3. RTDragon

    RTDragon RTP User

    These are some interesting tutorials. I wish the college class i went to Drawing I focused more on this stuff.
  4. Jw


    You'll likely find "life studies" or "figure drawing" or something similar at your college-- that should definitely go into detail there.
  5. OxfordTweed

    OxfordTweed BORED

    The design is still horribly flawed, though. It's all fine to have the centre of balance above the toes, but if the toes are forward of the hips, as they'll tend to be at that sort of stance, the character is off-balance all over again.

    The problem with a digitigrade biped is that while they do exist in nature, they're not built like a mammal. They're birds and reptiles. While in both cases, the spine does have a forward arch, rather than a backward arch, the spine is also horizontal to maintain a centre of balance, and the arch is closer to the shoulder than the hips. Plain and simple, unless you're going for for a strictly anthro look, that structure does not work for a character.

    I still stand by my original assessment that the digitigrade stance is awkward at best.
  6. Stratelier

    Stratelier Well-Known Member

    "Awkward" and "off-balance" are not, technically speaking, the same thing. But yes, an upright subject's center of mass tends to settle around the waist/hip area (insert obesity jokes here), so the hips are a useful guide as to where to place the toes. Visualize a straight line from the hip to the ground, and that's where the leg+foot starts and ends, regardless of digitigrade or plantigrade.

    And of course, if the creature is standing upright, it's safe to assume their legs will be as fully straightened as possible, to reduce the amount of load the leg muscles must bear to maintain that posture.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2010
  7. Girrominox

    Girrominox Doh Srsly?

    wow, this was exactly what I needed :X
    Really nice tuts, hope I can keep up with the information
  8. Ohh this was really good. I kinda wish you did more hands/feet though, I have a lot of trouble with those little suckers. Anyway great stuff, I think it's helped out a lot.
  9. Smelge

    Smelge Hey, Assbutt

    Are you taking into account tails?

    If you assume a divergent evolution that allows animals to walk upright while remaining digitigrade, in theory, the tails would be used as a counterbalance of sorts. It wouldn't completely eliminate the problem, but it would reduce it. It's the same principal as dinosaurs. The ones with long necks also had long tails to counterbalance each other. Let's face it, most people draw tails far larger than they should really be, so it's fairly simple to just say the increased mass is to act as a counterbalance.

    You know, any excuse not to have to draw regular feet because they are horrible to draw.
  10. BCRE8TVE

    BCRE8TVE Be creative!

    I am in no way an artist, and never will be. However, I found this topic to be extremely useful by providing anatomical analysis of furry bone structure. I am a visual kind of person, and seeing it makes all the difference to me. Writing it down for my stories is a lot easier now that I see it in my head. For that, I'll have to thank you.

    There are a few points I'd like to ask though. I have my dog lying here beside me (that lazy bum :p) and I can check on him most of the canine features. Let's talk about paws again. According to you, where would the claws be? We have nails, but the last bone in a canine paw is a claw rather than the tip of a finger. Would that mean that the claw should be sticking out up through where the nails should be, or pointing straight through the tip? I'm interested in this, because I want to make my furries as anatomically correct as possible, to be able to walk digitigrade and on all fours. When on all fours, should he walk on the palm, or on the base of his fingers? Where should the claws be? I'm asking because you seem to be the "resident expert" :p

    As for the tail, could it be possible to say our large sacrum/sacral promontary (for some reaon, that sounds kind of sexual :p) is just the ex-tails compressed vertebrae? Thus, if you had a tail, that bone would be elongated and would not be so high and large? Unless it serves some kind of purpose, it just seems to me to be some kind of de-evolved residual tail doing nothing much.

    Would you explain me a bit more about the arch of the back please? Because, as I said, having furries going from standing to all fours makes me a little confused as to how the back would work. Being digitigrade confuses the issue even more...

    Then there's the cranium. Do you think the maw should be a jaw extended forward, or should the jaw be completely remoddeled to form a muzzle. The way I see it is that our faces are long due to the distance between the eyes and the maxillare? mandibula? (bottom jaw bone), to give space for our cheekbones and our noses. Since in animals the nose is an extension of the muzzle, wouldn't it be correct to assume a furrie's head would be smaller, as in the jaw would be placed higher on the cranium to fuse with the nose? I think a furrie's chin would come about level with the tip of our noses.

    And last but not least, would you mind reading my story please? It's about a vet healing a child wolf-morph that has been shot by a policeman during his capture. I tried to cram in as many anatomical details, observations and notes as I could, but I don't know if it's good. Pwease?
  11. Jack McSlay

    Jack McSlay New Member

    I have to disagree with the plantigrade/digitgrade issue. The ref you've just drawn looks like it'll fall at any second. Most mammal tails have too few weight to be necessary to counter-weight it with the rest of the body. If it had, then it would be harder for the plantigrade one, not the digitgrade, because the centre of gravity would be further back. The digitgrade fur could simply further bend the knees in a way the centre of gravity is located directly above the support point. So it's the plantigrade one, not the digitgrade that would need to bend forward for balance, because they couldn't bend their knees instead in a comfortable manner.

    Bears, rabbits and kargaroos are terrible examples. None of these animals actually walk regularly in a bipedal plantigrade manner. Bears would make only a few steps at a time and also, bears and rabbits have no significant tail that has to be balanced and kangaroos move by either hopping in a DIGITGRADE manner or by small steps using a combination of arms, legs and tail as support. The only valid example is bipedal dinosaurs - they both stood and walked digitgrade while having tails large enough to have to be balanced, and guess, they are believed to be actually capable of a near-upright position
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2010
  12. Ruchii

    Ruchii Member

    Thank you very much for the tutorial; This is highly helpful.
  13. Cowrie

    Cowrie Member

    First of all, this is wonderful, very helpful.

    However, this is focused on applying human anatomy to mammalian, or even reptilian anthros, which is understandable because those are most commmon. I was wondering what sorts of considerations must be taken when applying it to invertebrete anthros. After all, the basis for their anatomy is completely different...

    There's just enough insectoids around that one can learn those by looking around, but some people like myself are infatuated with drawing the weird. What sort of alteratations are required for anthropomorphizing, say, a starfish or a tardigrade?
  14. GingerM

    GingerM Appaloosa Horsegirl

    I'd like to add my thanks as well for this tutorial. With this as reference and guide, I just might overcome my aversion to drawing and have a go at making my own art. Bookmarked and thanks again!
  15. Stratelier

    Stratelier Well-Known Member

    I don't want to single out an otherwise okay piece for criticism but:

    This is a good example of how center of gravity doesn't work. If you note the angle between hips and toes, and factor in the mild weight of her long tail, I really don't know this character is supposed to actually maintain balance. Not like that she doesn't....
  16. OxfordTweed

    OxfordTweed BORED

    I could do stuff with that. It would be a whole other sort of application, but I think human anatomy could be easily adapted for a bug of some sort.

    That's also an example of terrible proportions. Either she has no ribcage, or she has no spine. Her torso should be much longer, which would help her keep her balance much better.
  17. Taralack

    Taralack Hit 'em right between the eyes

    Holy crap hi Zeddish, it's been a while.
  18. OxfordTweed

    OxfordTweed BORED

    Yeah, man. Ya know. Life and shit. D:
  19. Sarcastic Coffeecup

    Sarcastic Coffeecup Hand. Cannot. Erase.

    great tuts, just what i needed
  20. OxfordTweed

    OxfordTweed BORED

    Furry v Human: Hands and Claws

    Okay. We've gone over proportions, and how the hand is structured internally, so now let's look at how to apply this to a generic furry character. As always species doesn't really matter, since most of them have some sort of paw in nature, and that's what we'll be looking at: making a hand resemble more of a paw.

    As I was trying to come up with ideas for this one, it occurred to me to use an example of a human hand that is as far from paw-like as possible; someone with long, slender hands and fingers. This guy seems like a good choice.


    The first thing I want to talk about is the way the fingers move. One thing to keep in mind is that fingers don't always have to bend the same way. We can do all sorts of things with our hands, which seems to be something that does often get overlooked.

    Now that that's pointed out, let's take a look at his fingers and knuckles in particular. Everything flows evenly, and nothing sticks out too terribly much. The knuckles on his metacarpals are slightly pronounced, but that's it. Otherwise, his fingers bend evenly, and nothing really calls attention to itself. This is a very human hand, because it was drawn on a human character. But let's pretend for a moment that this character was not drawn as human.


    Everything's pretty much the same, until you get to his fingers. His phalanges have all been shortened, for one. The second thing you may notice is that his knuckles have all been made more pronounced. Another change is that the pads of his fingers have also been made a bit bigger, and he has claws in place of fingernails. The combined effect of all of this is that the hand now resembles something more paw-like, but still enough like a hand that he's able to do everything a person would be able to do. This is a fairly common way of going about doing the hands, and you'll see incorporated into a lot of artists' styles.

    Personally, I don't fancy it. Mainly because I have a lot of other very much human elements in my style, so this seems out of place.


    What I do instead is simply add large-ish claws and paw 'pads.' Everyone does the pads a bit differently, but I fancy them this way. The claws that I tend to do go in exactly the same placement as the fingernails were, but they're much wider, thicker, and longer. Usually.


    Another thing I like about doing the claws this way is if a character happens to play the violin, the claws can be clipped down relatively short, so as not to get in the way. As with the rest of this thread, it's all a matter of finding the right balance between just animal enough to get your point across, and just human enough to work to suit your needs and style.

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