Case Study : Zeke the Lion
Meet Zeke. He's an anatomical virtual Tsavo lion created in-house with ZIVA VFX.

ZIVA VFX software reduces the time and cost required to build life-like, anatomical characters like Zeke for films and games.
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Physically realistic results.

The ZIVA VFX FEM Solver empowers artists to simulate soft tissues that follow the laws of physics and biomechanics. All tissues can be accurately coupled together to naturally flex, jiggle, collide and fold with unparalleled realism.


Agile editing and versioning.

Ziva allows every team member to iterate alterations more easily. With geometric representation, new changes are instinctively integrated and solved, making collaborative reworking faster and more manageable.


Faster timelines for better characters.

ZIVA VFX reduces the need for time-consuming alterations and shot sculpting. With higher quality characters out of the box, and minimal parameter tweaking, every step in the production is improved and accelerated.
We’ve been truly impressed by the results the Ziva team has achieved with this lion. This is exactly why Scanline has committed to using Ziva.
– Mohsen Mousavi,
VFX Supervisor, Scanline VFX.

Muscle & Bone Modeling

ZIVA VFX modelers can iterate new geometry at any point during the production. Alterations will be ingested into existing builds, effortlessly.

This empowered our modeler to rapidly design a rudimentary first pass of Zeke from a pre-existing quadruped muscles, thus accelerating initial TD work, and later model more intricate, feedback-informed geometry.

Click to view Zeke's Muscle Iteration Comparison


ZIVA VFX Cloth Solver and tissue can be used to simulate connective tissue, known as fascia, that supports more lifelike stretching, sliding and creasing between the muscles and fat. Advanced fascia sliding and folding can be seen primarily on Zeke's shoulder and hind legs.

ZIVA VFX's Inertial Damping feature was also used to increase stability of cloth attachments in Zeke's fast moving run cycle.

Click to watch Zeke's Fascia Run Cycle
To create Zeke's fascia, his skin model was first exported with MeshMixer and retopologized into quads with MudBox.

This simplified mesh (around 60k vertices) is then shrunken onto the muscles and bones using Ziva Cloth.

Rest strain was used to shrink the cloth and collisions on the muscles and bones to create the forms of the fascia.

Pressure was then added to enhance the valleys between muscle and bone objects.

The settled state of this simulation provides the base mesh for future fascia work with Ziva.


ZIVA VFX facilitates secondary motion that follows the laws of physics. Varying levels of elasticity can be painted onto a single tissue, resulting in the non-linear wiggle and jiggle of fat under gravity and force.

This step can be used to improve the dynamics of existing, non-ZIVA VFX rigs as well. Even the most primitive 3D characters can receive organic secondary motion within hours.

Click to view Feature Animation Elephant Example


Although Zeke's grooming and lighting were completed with external solutions, they effectively highlight the end benefits of Ziva's anatomy-first approach to character creation and the strength of the robust FEM solvers.

Throughout Zeke's creative process, our Modeler and TD were able to work collaboratively and simultaneously, with some feedback edits taking less than a day to complete and render.
Skeleton & Muscle Modeling
Muscle fibers & attachments
Fat & Skin
Texture & Lighting
* Fur/grooming not included in the ZIVA VFX toolset.


INTEL I7-47490K
CPU @ 4.00GHZ (8 CPUS)


307,000 Total Vertices
~11,000 collision proxy pairs
132 Tissue bodies
209 Bone bodies
30,036 Tetrahedra
9.4s per step @ 4 steps

Fascia (Cloth):

61,623 Total Vertices 
~880,000 collision proxy pairs
317 collision meshes
291,519 vertices on bone meshes
48s per step @ 8 steps

FAT (Tissue + Cloth):

87752 Tetrahedra
123,246 vertices on fat mesh
108s per step @ 2 steps

Benefits overview


Modelers can continue to improve geometry and respond to team feedback more efficiently. Everything is flexible and can happen at any time.


TDs will achieve more realistic results that are directly informed by real-world physics. Intuitive tools and controls grant greater artistic freedom from the start.


All existing anatomy can be re-shaped for other characters. From Zeke, any number of quadrupeds could be rapidly simulated. 

For greater applications, teams could leverage our character platform tools to create a game-ready or posable Zeke for future productions.


Zeke effectively captures the intricate motion and realism achievable with ZIVA VFX. His skin and fat collide and transform with lifelike precision while the physics-abiding musculature excite and contract with visible weight and power.

ZIVA VFX's physics-based anatomy expands the artistic range for creators and eliminates the costly, time-intensive, and tedious processes often associated with creature simulation.

For more information about Zeke and how he was made, you can visit the 'Making a Lion with ZIVA VFX' thread on the Ziva Community forum today.

Ziva VFX for

Available for single and multi studio locations.
Team pricing available for over 3 licenses.

Global Floating Licenses: $6,250 per unit
Studio Local Licenses: $5,000 per unit

*Includes upgrades. Annual upgrade fee after one year: $2000
All prices are in $USD.


Build life-like characters for your independent projects
with under $500k in total annual revenue or funding.

Indie License: $500 USD per year

All prices are in $USD.