Analysis – Ian Joyner

Cowboys & Aliens

Head sculpts for the Aliens in the film Cowboys and Aliens. The head is relatable because of its general similarities in proportion and placement to humans.

The images show the creature in various stages of distress, creating a compelling series of images that accurately portray the character.

The angles in the face imply that it is more aggressive by nature, the wider mouth and constantly downward tilted brow help to realise this.

The realism could be argued, where to the eye lids go, why does it have a nose shape if it has no nostrils, but the level of detail and polish help to suspend the disbelief in the design.


Manta Pup

This creature is a 3D model, made in zbrush and featured in “Creative Essence : Creatures” Ian goes into depth speaking about his inspirations for their mood and attitude being based on his dogs and cats.

He builds a whole back story for the character, imagining the food chain and ecosystem, and then builds the creature around that.

This creature was also made to be slightly lighthearted. He knew he wanted it to be cute, so made adjustments to the proportions accordingly, making the head bigger, the legs stumpy and putting extra size into the eyes.


Star Gazer



The final piece is a render of a 3D model. Its a creature that has protruding eyes on stalks , sticking out from the head beside a large wide mouth , with small sharp teeth sticking out. All of this is beneath a sharp horn on the top of the head. The creatures skin is wrinkled and wet looking, with drool pooling around the corners of the mouth. The body of the creature is lizard esque, with long legs like a lizard, and a thick tail to help it balance.


The model was made in Zbrush, then posed and rendered, compositing the renders in photoshop afterwards. The texturing and colouring was done in Zbrush, as a polypaint.


i can see the animals influences with the anatomy, the mouth is like a fish, the head and eyes remind me of a snail , and the horn is similar to a rhino. Likewise the skin is loose and tough looking, implying the creature uses its horn to fight, both for mating but also for hunting.


The over all shape is bizarre, seeming both dangerous, but clumsy and inept, making the horn seem less useful. Though something i definitely wouldn’t want to meet on a dark night, I’m not sure that all of the elements fit together. However the field requires some suspension of disbelief and the presentation is professional and detailed, giving it a credibility and realism that overrides the small discrepancies in the anatomical correctness.


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