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Centaur Anatomy _ Skeleton by JEDI-Sheng Centaur Anatomy _ Skeleton by JEDI-Sheng
Yes. I know I'm weird.

I was watching fantasia a few months ago with Lenny and Van, and I decided that I wanted to work on centaurs...
Centaurs with real, working anatomy.

So I sat down and did a quick sketch to get an idea of the proportions and then did the skeletal layout.

Things to note:
If you look at Greek/Roman sculpture and art, centaurs are not as huge as mots people make them, and I tried to stay true to that, instead of more current, popular, media. thus, A centaur stands at about 12 hands at the whithers, about the same as a Welsh Pony.

The human torso segment of the centaur masses about the same as a horses head and neck, perhaps a bit heavier, but not that much

To counter the weight of the upper body and provide tighter manuvering and the like, the hind quarters are based on a quarter horse, raised and heavily muscled.

No, you're not seeing things, there are THREE toes on the ground, not one. I wanted some slight differance with a true horse and I wanted them to not have the exposed frog that a horse does.

The head is not in proportion for 'just slap a human torso on a horses body'. If you notice the headis probably nearly twice the size a humans would be. They've got a bigger body, so they also have a bigger brain to body ratio.

The jaw and nose are also differant tehn a humans, giving them a 'roman' nose like apperance and a HEAVY jaw.

There's quite a bit of space inbetween teh vertibre of the 'human' lower back area, that is to allow maximum flexibility. A centaur can lean down and touch his/her front toes; or twist around and reach tehir haunches/tail.

The ribs continue up from the horse ribs. Tehre are NOT two seperate rib cages, instead three of the ribs in front of the front hooves create a basic ';pelvis', then are almost completly lost in the waist section to allow manuvering sace, tehn form a rib cage like that of a human for the foremost 'sixth limbs/arms' to attach to.

...Oh and the arms are slightly longer in proportion then a humans as well.
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:iconroseofthenight4444:
RoseOfTheNight4444 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is very useful for a race in my video game I am working on - numerous races actually. One question that I anxious to know...how do they run and how fast? Being top heavy, I imagine much slower but Idk if they run with human torso leaning forwards or backwards er what. But yeah, I like creatures...and I like this lol 
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014
Well they certainly wouldn't be thoroughbreds.  Their legs-to-body ratio are closer to a Morgan Horse or Welsh Pony...  They're also not as BIG as racing horses and lack the range of motion in the forelegs to gain the infamous stride angle of the true racers (Secretariat has the widest known stride angle at 110 degrees, but most thoroughbreds have a 85-90 degree stride angle).
I gave them large hindquarters so, like a quarter hrose they can get up to speed FAST and likely could hit high speeds in a sprint (call it 40mph in a sprint) with a slower long distance running speed (30-35mph). 
Centaurs have a lot of mythology about covering long distances and running without end so my guess is they've got several gaits.
Walk(1-3mph), Running Walk(8-10mph), trot(5-8mph), lope(a sort of slow canter, used for distance running 10-25mph), canter(15-30mph), gallop (20-35mph) and the sprint (35-40mph and they go from 0 to 40 in a few strides)

My general basis for how they look when they run is based off a quarter horse, especially when they are pulling tight maneuvers around obstacles.   The torso I see usually being held vertical or leaning back towards the spine in most gaits - it's heavier than a horses neck and skull and while I have strong muscles holding it up the natural curve of the neck/spine is highly curved and wouldn't stretch out as easily as a true horses neck...

Best visual reference I can think of would actually be the centaur/greek mythos section of the first Fantasia film, especially the female centaurs (the males are a little too heavy in the human torso). 

I'm glad this was of aid to you and that you like it, I had a lot of fun coming up with it^^  My apologies for taking so long to reply, life has been very busy for me.
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:iconroseofthenight4444:
RoseOfTheNight4444 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
What's funny is that I saw tidbits of the chronicles of narnia. Their upper torsos are straight for a trot I'm guessing and forward for a sprint. Lol your thoughts on that? The video I watched was beauty of centuars on YouTube. You know more of horses than me xD that's OK, you answered. That's what's important to me :)
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014
I'm hardly an expert on horses, I only know the basics really.
That is true about the Narnia centaurs (although WOW were they long in the back for the horse portion).  I think it might simply be a case of artistic interpretation.  How do YOU see them holding the body as they move?  Do you feel that the spine/muscles are up to holding the weight of the torso, head and arms in a forward position?  Do you feel that having it held upright or tilted back shifts the center of balance badly?  It is also a case of what looks good in a visual medium ^_^
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:iconroseofthenight4444:
RoseOfTheNight4444 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not sure. It seems awkward with their upper torso forward but yet it makes sense when you look at how we humans run. I think upright in a canter and forward in sprint makes sense. Especially when i see all my taurs run with weapons
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014
Mix and match works then ^_^
What sort of weapons do you see them using?
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:iconroseofthenight4444:
RoseOfTheNight4444 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It depends on the taur and the creator. ive seen general centaurs with staffs and bows. my taurs that arent centaur vary depending on species
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
*nods* Makes sense^_^
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(1 Reply)
:iconcentaur71:
Centaur71 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
eeyup, that's pretty much how we Centaurs are built...
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:iconpetrino:
petrino Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i like it, except for the ribcage, i feel it should be just one continuous one, it dont need the "bridged" space between human and horse.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012
*nods* Actually I'm planning on modifying (well, posting an updated version of) this. One of the changes will be a more obvious extension of the ribcage, although I will have it thinner and shorter near the 'horse' shoulders to allow said region the freedom of movement it'll need (I can't have the ribs too wide or the shoulders/upper arms of the front legs will smack into bone during the full stride... not good for locomotion (or pain management) ^_^
Thank you so much for commenting and my apologies for taking so long to reply, I had to head to south Florida to take two tests and had no net access for quite a while there.
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:iconlxblack:
lxblack Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Why has no one considered removing the human ribcage all together?
It'd be more believable than two rib cages but still provides the flexibility that a continuous ribcage does not.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012
I think mostly (for me at least) I retain the ribs for the 'human' part of a centaur because they're needed for the arm bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc to attach to, if they aren't there, then the arms are lost, and then it isn't a centaur but a Al-Burāq^^
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:iconlxblack:
lxblack Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
the arms wouldn't necessarily be lost they just wouldn't be attached like arms which suggests that they originally weren't arms and creates an evolutionarily feasible centaur.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012
I'm not certain I understand what you mean by 'originally weren't arms' do you mean boneless 'trunks' like that of an elephant?

To try and make a 'tetrapoda with non-arms' would be interesting and might be something I'd try;), but it'd be separate from this and the original concept of an at least semi-functional hexapoda.
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:iconlxblack:
lxblack Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I meant that the arms could have evolved from mandibles. Moving down the body and becoming more complex until, at a glacne, they looked like arms.
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:iconpetrino:
petrino Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
no worries.
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:iconmwezii:
mwezii Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Man! That's pretty damn epic! Wow. I'll use it for a reference sometime!
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011
I'm glad you like it^^ Thank you very much for commenting as well.
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:iconmwezii:
mwezii Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
x3
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:iconmuddworg:
muddworg Featured By Owner May 22, 2011
very nice like to see maybe a interal organs based on alway figured a centaur would 2 heart too aid in blood flow and cirilation up to the brain or to encrease enduraces over long runs etc
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner May 22, 2011
The increase in blood flow is the reason that I gave centaurs such a big heart (for size references, in proportion this centaurs heart is supposed to be about the same scale as that of Secretariat, about 2 and a half times the size of a normal horse's heart - that is a LOT of power and blood flow, negating the need for a second heart and also allowing for some fairly impressive speeds and stamina. That is also part of the reason for the 'air sacs' in the human torso - increased air circulation and blood oxygenation to deal with the slight increase in body mass, that big ol' brain and also to help deal with the needs of that huge heart.
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:iconwheresmytea:
wheresmytea Featured By Owner May 21, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nifty! Well-thought out design, especially like the extra ribs there.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner May 21, 2011
Thanks!
Yeah, coming up with 'well how would this work and still provide function, mobility, support yet still look 'right' took a lot of time, but it was FUN to do
...Also as a big tea drinker may I say that I love your name and icon, if you'll permit me an off topic comment
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:iconwheresmytea:
wheresmytea Featured By Owner May 21, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Infusing fantasy anatomy with realism is so much fun. I really like how you made the hind-quarters higher now that I look at it again. Kind of like an antelope.

Lol! Most people think its a reference to 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' but really, it's just because I love tea. When I needed a handle for dA my then-roommate suggested it since I was always leaving my cup somewhere and asking her where I'd put it. :3
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner May 22, 2011
I'm not the only one who thinks the infusion is fun, yay! ^^
*nods* While having the human torso be largely 'hollow' (basically just houses a crop and airsacs) made it's weight similar to that of a horses neck, the weight of the arms made it front heavy and I wanted to counter it - so I raised the hind quarters and muscled them up (I also lengthened the tail, it's almost twice as long as a real horses tail bones and has placement for muscle attachment rather like a cat's tail, it's not MUCH of a weight increase but it add about 5-8 lbs)
And you're right, and the first person to catch the antelope reference. I did actually draw from members of the antelope family when I was working on the hindquarters, much for the same reason I was drawing from a quarter horse - fast initial start and high maneuverability.

I'm not the only one who does that then, yay! I am forever putting my tea down and then going - wait... where is it? I need a beeper for my tea!
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:iconwheresmytea:
wheresmytea Featured By Owner May 22, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ooooh I like your idea about airsacs in the torso part, both to lessen the weight and for extra ventilation. I always thought centaurs might have two hearts: a big powerful cardiac heart in the horse chest (a well-protected and central location) and then a series of smaller hepatic hearts along the spine in the torso, small pumps to help force the blood up to the brain. The extra long tail you've got going on would help counter-balance actions of the torso and arms, especially if you're centaur is, say, a swordsman or something. :) Super cool idea!

Oh god, I totally agree. I would pay a ridiculous amount for a mug with a beeper! :D
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner May 22, 2011
There's some rough draft images of the musculature and internal organs for this model in my gallery, should you be interested.
While I do have mention of a second, primitive, heart in the internal organs zone, to be honest if you look at the size of the heart in that image you'll see that it is to scale with the heart of Secretariat, 2 and a half times bigger to scale than the heart of an average horse - that is a POWERFUL engine, good for sudden bursts of speed and the endurance. Of course having that large a heart also ups the protein/fat/fuel intake needs, which would push the centaur further into the carnivore scale of omnivorism... which conveniently fits in the old mythologies^^
...And now I have images of swordsman dancing in my head - I need to find time to do some study sketches of those! Thanks!

*laughs* Yeah, I went for the most outrageously colored mug I could find, which makes it a little bit easier to spot it at least.
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:iconfranciscathedragon:
Franciscathedragon Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
super duper awesome centaur skeleton
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2011
Thanks! I'm glad you like it^^
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:iconfranciscathedragon:
Franciscathedragon Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
welcome :iconrainbowsheepplz:
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:iconpb-zeppelinfan:
PB-ZeppelinFan Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2010  Hobbyist
Lots o' ribs you got thar horsie.

I like how you changed the conventional anatomy, to fit your needs. very nice.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2010
Well I figure if a snake can increase it's rib count fo evolution why not use that trick for a centaur? ^^

Thank you very much
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:iconbunnish:
bunnish Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2010
This is a great reference, it's nice to see someone put so much effort into anatomy for others. ^^
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2010
Hey, thanks for the compliment! ^^
Yeah, I always figured that if I'd ever wanted a weird reference, I couldn't be the only one, so I always try and think of what other people may want or need and such while I'm making my anatomy sketches
As with any artwork, I may later come up with a better adaptation or the like
But I'm glad you like this^^ that's what makes the work and research all worth it ^^
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:iconanimepriestess324:
AnimePriestess324 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010
Have you thought about doing one on a centaur's internal organs? Or perhaps mermaid skeletal structure? They have been driving me crazy.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010
Well, I actually have done the centaur's internal organs, and I do have some work done on mermaid skeleton/organs and such, but RL has gotten a bit chaotic and it's on hold at the moment.
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:iconranya-ni:
Ranya-Ni Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nicely done. I had a watercolor assignment that was similar to this in college, and I picked a spidern (a spider with a human head) but I like the attention to detail you added to this.

I think I would either add small, semi-functioning ribs that traveled from the top area to the bottom or I would make the ribs further spaced. The purpose of the ribs is to protect the soft organs (e.g. heart and lungs) so perhaps a broader sternum on the human section or smaller ribs, depending on how flexible you want them. I would also make the rubs go down farther because the ribs stop just above the kidneys so as not to puncture them, but because the kidneys would be in the human section it wouldn't matter and they would still have support. The spine looks great, but you might want to make the protrusions on the lower back of the 'human' section more prominent to support the withers.

This is a wonderful design. Great work!
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2010
I'm guessing you mean the human ribs for kideny protection? The human torso is only holding bird-like airsacs in the ribs and then a 'crop' like a birds in the intestional region. The horse torso has the primary lungs and the true guts (lungs, heart and internal organs based off a canines rather than a horse to make them omnivores) are stored. You can't put much in the human torso and still have it supported by the muscles and skeleton I found, so I made the human segment mostly hollow to keep the weight the same as a horses head and neck (it's also why I raised the hind quarters, more rear mass to balance the front)
Hmmm, yeah I should definitily raise the human spine protusions now that you say that, the muscles from the horse-to-human need it for better attachment. Thanks!;)
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:iconranya-ni:
Ranya-Ni Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your welcome! Thank you for at least listening to my advice. I think your piece is turning out great.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2010
Thanks!
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:iconlarkspur-kiwipickle:
Larkspur-KiwiPickle Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey cool! I was just thinking of doing an anatomy of a centaur, and thought that I should look for anybody else's ideas (if they existed). I wasn't thinking of doing the skeleton though, that's just as interesting.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2009
I'll be keeping an eye on your gallery then, I love seeing how other people see centaurs and how they (and other mythicals) 'work'. I tend to take a very general idea of what i think the 'finished product' should look like. Then I think up the skeleton first, then muscles, then I sort out internal organs and the like, and finally I sort out the true 'finished product', a bit of the reverse of most anatomical artists, I guess, but it's how I was trained;)
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:iconlarkspur-kiwipickle:
Larkspur-KiwiPickle Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I just had this thought one day that because there is room in the centaur for a set of both human and horse organs, what would a centaur anatomy look like? I have a pretty good image in my head, and now have to do the hard part...put it on paper.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2009
I wish you luck, but if you already have a rough working idea of how the anatomy works sorting it out on paper is easier then you'd think.
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:iconlarkspur-kiwipickle:
Larkspur-KiwiPickle Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, I hope so.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2009
Finding image referances of skeletons is fairly easy. For image referances of the guts try looking up 'human internal anatomy' or horse. I tend to find the best referance images that way
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:iconlarkspur-kiwipickle:
Larkspur-KiwiPickle Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed. That would also help with the general shape of things. It would be useful instead of just jamming together a whole bunch of blobs and labeling them to actually attempt to make them look like organs.
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:iconjedi-sheng:
JEDI-Sheng Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2009
*nods* I have dozens of anatomy referance books at my house, mostly for the various anatomical designs I get hired to create (none of which, sadly, have I been given permission to post here or at other sites :( ) however even with those I still almost always go 'hunting' for skeleton, guts, lungs, etc. images online to get differant angles or a species that I don't have in my books but am unlikely to draw again (which means buying a book for them would be a waste of money) Always check the animal anatomy pics you find online against two or three other sources (they can be online too), just in-case you got a bad site; which, sadly, happens far too often.
Oh and snake skeletons are really RUDDY annoying to find good referance images of.
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(1 Reply)
:iconshebakoby:
ShebaKoby Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2009
awesome! :D
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