Wednesday, December 19, 2007

final presentation

Here is the final presentation for Core 7.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Infant stage composition:

Childhood stage composition:

Adolescence stage composition:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Here are some photos that I took for the sculpture that I made.
I mixed 3 types of color sculpey:
Translucent 010
Orange 7533
Beige 093

Then I built an armature with wires and aluminum foil:

This is the final one that I made. Tried my best, but still had trouble doing the details on the hands and feet.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

rough 3d head

Here are some test renders of the head, still very rough.

concept sketchs

These are some rough ideas for the compositions:

adult stage turntable

infant stage turntable

growth chart

general back story

A science lab in Queens, New York has successfully created a group of animal-human hybrids after the State Legislature finally passed the law to allow the breeding of hybrid embryos. These hybrids are being adopted by the scientists as well as people outside of the science lab.

thesis proposal 2.0

Here is the revised version of the first thesis proposal.

The basic key points are:

- To examine character design of parahumans, or animal-human hybrids from a scientific point of view
- Investigate the advantages of using computer generated images
- Raise the awareness of the social issues that emerge from current genetic engineering research

- A study of parahumans'possible appearances and capabilities and present it in the form of a series of digital prints
- All visuals of parahumans will be produced through modeling, texturing, lighting, and animating in 3D software
- Composite the parahumans in photographs or CG environments to show social issues

midterm presentation

Here is the powerpoint for the midterm presentation on Nov 14th.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Thanks to Catherine for sending me the link~

I'm afriad to post the images here becuase of copyright issues. Here is the source link for the complete set of images: and
Splice is a movie starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley that has gone into production and has scheduled to come out in 2009.

The Story
Base on limited information, the plot is as follow:
Two young doctors, Clive and Elsa who have became famous for their researches on creating new animal species. However, they have secretly used human DNA in the experiment and created this female animal-human hybrid. Up to this point, the idea is very similar to my project. Then the plot follows a similar direction as many of the sci-fi/creature/mad-doctor horror movies out there. This hybrid, whom they thought is the "perfect organism," undertakes a change and became a being that could destroy humanity.
For my project, I wish to create more successful hybrids who do not necessarily threaten humanity.

The Science
Splice, used in genetic engineering, referes to "the process in which fragments of DNA from one or more different organisms are combined to form a new organism." This is something different from the experiments that have been researching on, which is the process of injecting human cells to an animal embryo.

The Visual
Looking at the images, the hybrid is very nicely done using CG technology, reaching a photo-realistic goal that I am hoping to achieve. The lighting, the setting, her posture, the composition give a cold, horrific, science lab feeling to the audience, which is pretty different from what I want to accomplish. I wish to position the hybrids in the same living enviroment as humans. Seeing these hybrids in our every day setting might make them less intimidate, or make us more uncomfortable. I am not sure which will be true; it is something that I want to explore.

The Social Issues
Quoting from the director, "Splice is about finding the humanity in the monster...and the monsters that lurk within humanity. " This movie labels the hybrid as a monster, presenting an extremely negative view on the science experiment. Even though I am unsure about my postion in the current animal-human hybrid researches, I still do not refer to these hybrids as monsters. They might have problems positioning themselves in society, I do not see them as terrifiying beings that might destroy humanity.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

98% chimpanzee, the cuteness

Marks, Jonathan. What is Means to be 98% Chimpanzee: Apes, People, and Their Genes. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Because of the similarity of human genes to ape genes, Jonathan Marks, a well-known molecular anthropologist, assesses a number of issues in his book, including human genetic science, racism, animal rights and cloning. In Chapter 8, titled "Human Rights...For Ape?" he expresses his take on the idea of human rights for the great apes, or the aim of The Great Ape Project.

Marks thinks that there are two facts that are crucial to this idea. First is "apes aren't human." Second is "we can't even guarantee human rights to humans." He asserts that the fundamental basis of the idea is the apes' genetic similarity to humans. But the category "human" is always determined by "reproductive compatibility and ecological niche"and never genetic similarity. Furthermore, the idea of equal rights are usually granted to "citizens," and who can be considered as a citizen is determined by political reasons. Thus, asking people to accept the new notion that genetic distance should decide the appropriation of rights can be difficult.

The author also mentions an important question, "are apes merely disabled people?" Many people have apes to small children or mentally disabled humans because they have resembling cognitive perfomance. Marks disapproves the belief that because we give human rights to children, to the metally disabled, the autistics, the deaf, the dumb, etc, we should also give rights to apes, whose state of being human can be recognized through the same reasoning and communicating skills. He stresses that humans have human rights by merely being born human, automatically receiving citizenship. Losing the ability to reason or to communicate does not cause the person to lose his humaness and rights. Apes, on the other hand, are nonhuman. He states that "human rights should neither be forfeitable nor accessible by nonhumans. That is not to say that other beings should have no rights; it is merely to say that the phrase 'human rights' has no meaning if it does not apply to all humans and only to humans." (191)
In general, Marks believes that apes should have protection or even rights, just not human rights.

So, the question is should the human-animal hybrids have human rights? Applying Marks ideas, even animals that are 98% similar to humans cannot be granted human rights, how can it possible fo some one with say 60% human genes to be granted.

Personally, I do not have an extremely strong opinion on this issue and think both sides are reasonable. Then I realize it might be because of the fact that I am always thinking about the cute animals.

Considering the cuteness, Marks declares that the ape-conservation activists and animal-rights activists use apes as a starting point to try to liberate all animals because apes are among the cutest animals.

Marks has wrote on page 185:
"Apes are often objectified by callous and cynical entrepreneurs, who neither regard them nor treat them as the sentient, emotionally complex creatures they are.They are generally disposed of when whey lose their cuteness, usually less than one-fifth of the way through their lives. The lucky ones can live out their lives in the care of an enlightened or sympathetic zoo or primate research facility with sensitive caretakers and handlers. Most, of course are not lucky."

I believe this can be true for all kinds of animals, and in my case, all hybrids. They are more likely to be accepted at a younger age because of their appearances.

compositing - the olympics

Composting Ruru in an image of the Olympic games can illustrate the hybrid's role in society. She will most likely to ace some of the athletic games. But, should she be allowed to compete in the Olympics?

I haven’t found any official rules of the Olympic games, not even on the official Olympic's website. Other sources are also unclear but at least nothing mentions about the requirement of alternating both feet in a race.

According to the record of International Association of Athletics Federation:

100 Meters
Human record:
Male - 9.74s, +1.7 wind, Asfa Powell, Jamaican, September 9th, 2007.
Female -10.49s, 0.0, Florence Griffith Joyner, United States, July 16, 1988.

Kangaroo record: can speed up to 44 mph or 71kph in case of an emergency although only for a few hundred yards, perfect for sprints = 5.084s

Long Jump

Human record:
Male - 8.95 meters or 29-4½ feet, Mike Powell, USA, Tokyo on Aug 30, 1991
Female - 7.52 meters, Galina Chistyakova, URS, Leningrad, June, 11, 1988

Kangaroo record: 12.8 meters or 42 feet.

High Jump

Human record:
Male - 2.45 meters/8 feet, Javier Sotomayor, Cuban, July 23, 1993
Female - 2.09 meters/6.85 feet, Stefka Kostadinova, Bulgarian, August 30, 1987

Kangaroo record: 3.10 meters or 10.17 feet


In sprint hurdle races for men or 110m, regardless of the length of the race, the first hurdle is 13.72 m from the starting line and the distance between hurdles is 9.14 m.
In sprint hurdle races for women or 100m, the first hurdle is 13 m from the starting line and the distance between hurdles is 8.5m.
Hurdle height is 42 inches (1.07m) for men and 33 inches (.84 m) for women.

Human record:
Male - 12.88s, Liu Xiang, China, 2004
Female - 12.21s, Yordanka Donkova, BUL, Stara Zagora, Aug, 20, 1988

In long hurdle events or 400m, whether for men or women, the first hurdle is 45 m from the starting line and the distance between hurdles is 35 m.
Hurdle height is 36 inches (.914 m) and 30 inches (.762 m) for women.

Human record:
Male - 46.78s, Kevin Young, USA, Barcelona, Aug 06, 1992
Female - 52.34s, Yuliya Pechenkina, RUS, Tula, Aug 08, 2003>

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Looking at a red kangaroo, the most unique aspects are the strong muscular legs and the pouch. The body shape is also very interesting. Doing research on the growth of a joey, I've decided to start off with a baby kangaroo-human hybrid.

Imagine taking a kangaroo embryo, and injecting the nucleus with human cells. What will the embryo grow into after a year? It takes a kangaroo 40 days in the womb and 150 days in the pouch to develop into a somewhat recognizable form. It takes a human being, 270 days in the womb and a few year to develop into a stronger body structure, I picked a number in the middle.

Body structure:
1. First thing I focused on is the legs. They Kangaroo trait: strong muscular legs, with big tendons, long lower legs, bones are structured with bent knees in the relaxing position. Feet and toes resembles more of a kangaroo's. Muscle structure is also more kangaroo like: dense and takes up half the body weight. Ears are large, and flaps because they are not strong enough to stay upright. Hearing are very sensitive. No fur developed yet. Pouch visible, unsure of functionality yet.
2. Human traits: hands and arms shape more like humans.

Mouth and teeth are more like human. The digestive systems are more like human.

Respiratory System:
Lungs are structured like a kangaroo.

Cannot walk or hop with stability yet. Seems both are capable. Not yet demonstrate ability to walk backwards.

In the process of learning English.

Sensory system:
very good hearing

60% Kangaroo and 40% human.


I am switching to an animal that has a more similar body structure to human's. A kangaroo is a warm-blooded mammal and a tetrapod.
There are about 63 different species of kangaroos.
I am focusing on the Red kangaroo or Macropus rufus. They are one of the largest species of kangroos.
Phylum Chordata
SubPhylum Gnathostomata
Class Mammalia
SubClass Marsupialia
Order Diprotodontia
Family Macropodidae
Genus Macropus
Species rufus

Body Plan/ Sensory System:

I made this diagram to illustrate the basic body parts of a red kangaroo.

Respiration and circulatory system

Through lung, but have special way of breathing to save energy when they hop.
1. When its feet push off from the ground, air is pumped out of the lungs.
2. As its legs stretch forward, the lungs expand and fill.

Chest muscles are not needed to move air in and out.


- They eat only plants, mainly grass and constantly are eating every waking moment.
- Teeth and jaws are designed to ma
ke them eating machines.
- Lower jaw is two bones joined by a flexible band that
lets the two halves move separately – gap between the two teeth.

- They have replacement teeth – when their molars wear out, the molars in the back slide forward into space. They produce about 16 molars during their life time.


  1. The lower jaw spread making room for a bigger mouthful.
  2. Upper and lower teeth snip plants like scissors.
  3. Tongue pushes the plants into wads
  4. Jaws slide side to side, grinding plants with ridged molars.
  5. After swallowing, first part of digestive system only holds the food. One wad at a time is coughed up and chewed more.


- Comfortable cruising speed is 16 mph – 2 hops per second, each about 12 feet (4m) long.
- when searching for food: 12 mph - taking 5 to 6.5 foot leaps
- Top speed 44 mph in an emergency, for a few hundred yards
- Can jump up to 10 feet high

- Swimming kangaroo kicks its hind legs alternately.
- Walking on all fives-A typical kan
garoo is unable to walk, only possible when they are fight, for a few seconds. At slow speeds it uses its tail to form a tripod with its two relatively small forelimbs. It then swings its heavy hind legs forward together. This called “crawl-walking.”
This is a how a kangaroo crawl- walk:

- Hop: Tendon, acts like a rubber band, attaches to muscles, muscles move bones.

Kangaroo resting = human crouches body bent at knees and the hip.

Kangaroo is always ready to hop.
  1. To launch, muscles pull on the leg bones and straightening them. Tendons stretched stores energy.
  2. Tendons contracts, throws the kangaroo in air and forward without the use of any other energy
  3. Legs swings forward automatically
  4. Tendons are stretched again when landing.



Females are always pregnant after they are 2 years old with a normal birth interval of 8 months. She usually have babies in 3 different stages, one in her womb, one in her pouch, and one at her side.

Embryo grows inside womb, leaves after 30 to 40 days.

Blind, hairless joey, barely size of a bean, crawl through mother’s fur for a distance of 6 to 7 inches (15 or 20 cm), a time of 2 to 3 minutes into the pouch. Well developed nostrils and forelimbs. Lungs are developed enough to breath in air during the climb. Eyes, ears, hind limbs and tail are undeveloped. Skeleton is completly cartilagenous.

Sucking on nipple, joey gets all the nutrients needed to grow from mother's milk. Mother sometimes pokes her head inside the pouch to lick up the waste.

Joey first releases the nipple voluntarily around 70 days. Eyes open around 130 days. This joeys is 105 days.

First protrudes its head from the pouch around 150 days.
Leaves the pouch for the first time by falling out when time is ready, usually after 190 days. This only lasts few minutes at a time. The joey goes back into the pouch and stays there for another few months.
At around 8 months old, the mother forbids the joey from entering the pouch again.
At 1 year old, a red kangaroo is fully weaned.
At 18 months, the young kangaroo is almost fully grown.
At around 2 1/2 years, he or she is ready to mate.

Images are from Markle, Sandra. Outside and Inside Kangaroos. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1999.


Sounds are used.
Mothers make clicking or clucking noises to call their joeys to them.
Thumping of feet to warn others of danger
Smell: how they make friends

Other information
-Color: Males are reddish brown. Females are blue-gray to brown.
-Size: 4 to 7 feet tall with tails up to 3 meters.
-Weight: Adult males 150, females 80.

-Life span: 20 years old, 6 to 8 in the wild.
-Kangaroos live in 2 to 30 members groups called mobs.
-1 dominant male that fathers all the joeys in the mob.


Domico, Terry. Kangaroos: The Marvelous Mob. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 1993.

Jango-Cohen, Judith. Kangaroos. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2006.

Landtier, Patricia and Lehne, Judith Logan. The Wonders of Kangaroos. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2001.

Markle, Sandra. Outside and Inside Kangaroos. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1999.

Penny, Malcolm. Secret World of Kangaroos. Austin: Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 2002.

Spilsbury, Richard and Louise. A Mob Kangaroos. Chicago: Heinemann Library,2004.

Stone, Tanya Lee. Wild Wild World: Kangaroos. San Diego: Blackbirch Press, 2003.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

why elephants have big ears

Lavers, Chris. Why Elephants Have Big Ears: Understanding patterns of Life on Earth. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000.

In Chris Lavers’ book, he answers many questions of the natural world by explaining basic biology and theories of evolution with abundant interesting examples. The title asks a thought-provoking question that becomes a great starting point to explore the reason why do animals look like what they are.

At this point, I have only finished the first 2 chapters and have attained enough useful information to start thinking about designing my characters through the most anatomically logical approach. Some aspects are:

Larger the animal = larger the volume

Larger the animal = larger the surface area

But, increase in volume > increase in surface area

1. Size/weight of body vs. thickness and structure of legs

2. Structure of legs vs. need (to run)

3. Size/weight of head vs. thickness and length of neck

4. Size/weight of body vs. amount of heat generated within animals: Larger the animal more heat is generated.

5. Warm blooded animals: size/weight of body vs. rate at which cells produce heat – larger the animal slower the rate, but not enough to balance temperature

6. Size/weight of body vs. surface area for heat to escape, smaller the animal, heat faster heat escapes

7. Size/weight of body vs. amount of fur- larger the animal, more heat generated and less fur needed

8. Size/weight of body vs. rate of heart beat – smaller the animal, faster the heart beats

9. Size/weight of body vs. relative size of heart – smaller the animal, larger the heart-size relatively

10. Size/weight of body vs. relative amount of food consumption – smaller the animal, more food consumption relatively


Large animals grew thick legs and thick necks to hold the large body and head against gravity. Because they are large in volume, more heat is generated, surpassing the amount of heat that can escape through the surface area. Thus, they have other alternatives to balance their body temperature. Their cells produce heat at a slower rate. They have either less or no fur at all. They need to consume less food.

Small animals like gazelles developed thin legs and strong, light muscles to run away from their predators. Their hind legs have the same effect of a permanent sprinter’s crouch. Small animals like shrews have small bodies but relatively large surface areas for heat to escape. Thus, they need to maintain their body temperature by consume much more food, have faster heart beat, and have a larger heart in proportion to increase blood flow through their entire body.

questions to answer

Jurd, Richard. D. Animal Biology. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2004.

There are at least 33 phyla of animals. These 3 are the most interesting ones:
Phylum Mollusca: have soft, unsegmented bodies that are usually, but not always, enclosed in hard shells.
Ex: whelks, snails, slugs, clams, mussels, oysters, squids, octopuses

Phylum Arthropoda: have external skeletons as well as jointed bodies and limbs.
Ex: shrimps, lobsters, crabs, woodlice, insects, scorpions, spiders, centipedes, etc

**Phylum Chordata: have elongated bilaterally symmetrical bodies.
Ex: sea-squirts, salps, lancelets, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals.
- focusing mainly on the sub-phylum Craniata or Vertebrata.

Every hybrid need to answer the following questions:
1. What body parts does he have? --- Body Plan
2. How does he breathe and how is his heart structured? ---Respiration and circulatory system
3. How does he eat? --- Feeding
4. How does he move? ---Locomotion
5. How does he reproduce? ---Reproduction
6. How does he communicate? ---Communication
7. How much can he think? ---Intelligence
8. How does he recognize the surrounding environment? ---Sensory system

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

seahorse rough rough design

Becuase my method of character design begins with injecting human cells into a seahorse embryo, my original specimen has to be specific. Thus, instead of focusing on seahorses in general, I focused on Hippocampus Abdominalis, or pot-bellied seahorses.

These are very very rough sketches, just ideas that i have came up with, mainly just testing.
I tried working on the head first, then to the body. I actully like the idea of growing 2 tails to use as legs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

thesis proposal

Here is the thesis proposal document.


There are 37 known species of seahorses. They are in the Family of Syngnathidae and Genus of Hippocampus.

General Description:
The have a horse-like head, monkey-like tail, and kangaroo-like pouch. In fact, even their eyes can be likened to those of a chameleon in that they move independently of each other and in all directions. Instead of scales, seahorses have thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates that are visible as rings around the trunk. Some species also have spines, bony bumps, or skin filaments protruding from these bony rings. A group of spines on the top of the head is referred to as the coronet, and looks like a crown. Seahorses are masters of camouflage, changing colour and growing skin filaments to blend in with their surroundings. Short-term colour changes may also occur during courtship displays and daily greetings. Male and female seahorses can be told apart by the presence of a brood pouch on the male.

Functions of Body Parts:
-1 Dorsal fins: moves fish forward, using the propulsive force of the quickly oscillating dorsal fins
-1 tiny anal fin: balance
-2 tiny pectoral fins on either side of the bod: control turning, steering, and stability
-coronet: is nearly as distinctive as a human thumbprint, shape are useful in separating species.
-1 tail: hold on to objects such as seagrass
-2 eyes: binocular vision, eyes of seahorses can move independently
-strong external plates: hard bony armour, which are arranged into a series of 'rings'. These rings help to protect the body of the fish, but result in the fish having only limited flexibility of the body. the number of trunk and tail rings doesn't vary much among individuals of a species, but does differ between species, so it is a handy character for telling species apart.
-ability to change color:
change color and grow skin filaments to blend in with their surroundings for protection

Living Habits
eating: Three movements:
1.a rapid upward movement of the head,
2. a lowering of the floor of the mouth to make it bigger,
3. opening of the mouth.
All three occur almost simultaneously, resulting in prey being sucked in through the mouth and up the long tube-like snout. Often an animal too large for the seahorse's mouth, such as a small fish, may be ripped apart by the strong suction. Soft pieces are ingested, as the more solid parts are discarded.

diet: shrimps, crabs, and crayfish, fish fry, and other small invertebrates. Each day a seahorse can consume up to 3,000 brine shrimp.

Habitats: Seahorses are usually found in water less than 65 feet deep, but have been trawled from depths approaching 500 feet. Some may be found among seagrasses or eelgrasses, or among mangrove forests, corals, or on sea fan gorgonians.

They are more adapted to maneuverability than speed, cannot swim fast due to lack of tail fin.

low adult mobility and small home ranges

Most species of seahorse studied in the wild do appear to be monogamous, remaining faithful to one partner for the duration of the breeding season and perhaps even over several seasons.

Lifespan: from about one year in the smallest species to an average of three to five years for the larger species.

Male carries the baby. A brood may number from an average of about 300 to as many as 700 offspring. Gestation varies with temperature, but averages around 28 days.

More active during daytime
jeff’s nudibranch Site and coral reef gallery
project seahorse
nova online

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

background story finalized

Time: 2032
Location: Earth
Humans now share their world with human-animal hybrids. Due to overpopulation and drastic decrease in living habitat, the World Organization have decided to finally allow the creation of human-animal hybrids because genetic engineering is the fastest growing field of technology and has reached a far more advanced level than any other forms of technology. Now these hybrids have spread out around the world, occupying every corner of earth where original humans cannot reside. They have created their own communities and have acted as tourists when visiting the original human urban areas.

As for why do I think human-animal hybrids will be allowed to created eventually, I believe humans need to somehow display our technological advancements and we will not hesitate to temper with nature. For example, AIDS was released into the world because a road had to be built through a secluded area in Africa. Currently, human-animal hybrid embryos are created for research purposes only and have to be destroyed after 14 days. Maybe some mad scientist might already stole some samples and started breeding them in his basment. Hey, you never know.

2 final issues

My goal is to select an issue raised by animal-human hybrids and create a story around it.
I've narrowed downed my choices to the issues of playing god and social rights.

human-animal embryo's green light

According to BBC News, UK has given green light to the creations of human-animal hybrid embryos for research in September 2007.
There was a revolt by scientists, medical researchers and even patient groups when the government tried to outlaw almost all research into animal-human embryos. Currently, in the UK, the research is back by Nobel prizewinners, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Commons science and technology committee, and the government's chief science adviser.

The laws in other other countries are:
Australia - Embryos allowed to be created for research, but human-animal hybrids banned. The only exception is to test the quality of sperm
Canada - Legislation bans the creation of human-animal embryos
US - Federal funds can only be used for research involving pre-existing embryos - such as those left over from fertility treatment - and there is a ban on hybrid embryos
Elsewhere - Other countries do not specifically legislate on hybrid embryos. But Italy and Germany only allow the use of pre-existing embryos and many others including Austria, Norway and Tunisia do not allow embryo research at all

"This is not a total green light for hybrid research, but recognition that this area of research can, with caution and careful scrutiny, be permitted."

Graphic of how human-animal embryo is made

the story

Since I have categorized this project under "narrative," I've realized that I am still missing the actual story. -_- My goal is to tell a story in a unconventional way. I have been concentrating on creating only the background story, instead of one specific story to tell. In Character Studio, I've learned that characters are more vivid when being described within a character-driven story. Thus, I decided to develop a specific character-driven story that have happened within the world I have created in the background story.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

physiognomy and Le Brun

Physiognomy is a theory based on the idea that by looking at a person's outside appearance, especially facial features, we can determine the inner trait, peronality and characteristics of that person.
It is an ancient idea first appeared in 5th century Athens.

In 1806, Charles Le Brun created a series of comparative drawings of human and animal faces depicting the physiognomy theory.

Le Brun's System on Physiognomy has a detailed breakdown of Le Brun's work.

He studied the lines relating different facial features belonged to both humans and animals. He then correlated humans with animal charateristics through comparing the lines.

He believed that if a human's face resembled an animal, he or she would have the same character traits of that type of animal. For example, one who looked like a lion would have that fierce quality.
Should the animal-human hybrids that I am creating have the exact same personalities that are usually associated with that specific animal?

The drawings of human heads are extremely well qualified examples of how humans would look with animal characteristics. Although they are not distinct illustrations of animal-human hybrids, they can be used as references.

Le Brun's works are still drawings of humans. Thus I will be more focused on the steps in between the human drawings and the animal drawing. Textures such as scales and furs will be a very important aspect of my characters. I will also consider the entire body instead of only the head.