Let me perface this by saying whoever sculpted this skull has a lot of talent, it might not be perfect enough to pass off as legit but its far better than most artist hopefuls could hope to do. As well, some of the points I make deal with anatomical comparisons to human anatomy. Obviously, if this was a real alien skull it would be reasonable to credit it with its own properties removed from human anatomy. None the less, human anatomy is the only bar we have by which to measure this skull, even more so considering how hominoid it is.
Anyway with out further adieu, heres my bloated critique....
(1) This might be the most telling sign of an artists hand. One challenge artists face depicting realism is the conflict of how things look vs how we think things should look. We think eye sockets should be darker, this is due to how lighting interacts with recessed areas. However, the reality is that the eye socket would develope the same patina as the exterior of the skull unless the conditions (for example, buried in soil) were different between the two areas. In small cracks and tight areas we might expect deeper (thicker) patina but considering the size of those eye sockets the patina should atleast follow the rules observed in human anatomy. In the top photo its clear the inside of the eye sockets are not entirely shaded as we might expect under other lighting conditions (by the tell tale reflection of light), yet even in the illuminated areas they are still a much darker patina than the extreior of the skull.
(2) These areas of the skull are problematic in my opinion. The rear teeth do not reflect actual anatomy. They aren't bad sculptures but aren't realistic. In the bottom photo they even appear to be a single form rather than independent of each other. As well they largely share the same patina as the rest of the bone of the skull (see photo 2). This is problematic because (in human anatomy) teeth are covered with enamel which should dictact different patina properties. The area in the skull which around the gum-line shows unsatisfactory sculpting of ridging around the roots of the teeth. As well, in the sceond photo the line of bone that meets the teeth is very symmetrical, or in other words its a straight line that the teeth come out of (but hey maybe thats how alien skulls are..).
(3) The "fangs" are very curious. They seem strangely juxaposed against the other teeth, which appear to be only useful for chewing. One possible answer to this is that aliens are vampires and only need fangs for deep punctures. However, realisticly speaking, the discrepancy between the fangs and the rest of the well rounded, almost dull, teeth is hard to believe. Its also curious how the fangs seem to be missing any patina where they meet the gum-line. In both photos this area is almost white, maybe a shade of clay or plaster? Either way, I can think of no reason why the massive eye sockets would be a darker patina yet these areas of both fangs seem to have no patina.
(4) This part of the skull's jaw bone has very sharp edges. Even more so considering they are the "ball" part of the socket joint. Maybe alien anatomy is really freaky, or maybe it just helps the model fit together better........ I cant imagine how these drastic edges could facilitate the function of a socket.
(5) Granted, there are a million patinas and a billion lighting scenerios but this just looks like the reflectivness of ceramics to me.
(6) (7) The skull plate cracks (sorry I don't know the proper terms) really looks painted on. As the skull grows the seperate regions of the skull fuse together. The division of the regions face of the adult human skull are much less noticeable than the larger plates of the cranium. Yet, here they seem to share equal clarity. The one in the second photo running from the nasal cavity to gum-line is (dare I say) never noticeable in adult human skulls. One last observation, if you follow the crack above the nasal cavity as in goes down and curves into the eye socket (in second photo) at the lowest point, following up to the right (and zooming in), it looks like it breaks into two lines.
In conclusion, my observations are unchanged from the original photo posted, this is a sculpted "model". I think its sweet but its not real.
This post has been edited by el midgetron: 15 September 2010 - 10:18 PM