For those on a budget, the Internet is a rich source of reference material, home to hundreds of Web sites dedicated to various techniques and applications.
There are hundreds of anatomy-related Web sites. Following is a selection of some of the best and most useful. (Be warned, though, most of these do contain nudes.)
Human Anatomy www.3d.sk
(Subscription required) A fantastic site developed specifically for 3D artists and game developers. This houses lots of very useful images of people in various poses and states of dress. Even better: the photographs are specifically taken with the 3D artist in mind.
Human Anatomy Pictures for Artists www.fineart.sk
The sister site of 3d.sk offers free images as well as a selection of online Andrew Loomis books to help the budding artist on a budget.
Met Art www.met-art.com
Met Art offers the largest, freshest, classiest collection of nude art and fine photography in the world.
Simple Nudes www.simplenudes.com
Online Medical Anatomy Atlas www.rad.washington.edu/atlas
Henry Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body www.bartleby.com/107
The Bartleby.com edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body features 1,247 vibrant engravingsmany in colorfrom the classic 1918 publication. There's also a subject index with 13,000 entries ranging from the Antrum of Highmore to the Zonule of Zinn.
Here are various sites that have other uses, including references for poses and general information on traditional artists and beauty analysis.
Posing Guide www.photographytips.com/page.cfm/375
(Subscription required) Although this site is aimed at photographers, it offers good advice on creating poses, as well as images ideal for posing your 3D character.
Skulls Unlimited www.skullsunlimited.com
Marquardt Beauty Analysis www.beautyanalysis.com
Art Renewal Center www.artrenewal.com
High-resolution images of classic figurative painting through the ages.
Web Gallery of Art http://gallery.euroweb.hu
The Web Gallery of Art contains over 11,600 digital reproductions of European paintings and sculptures created from 1150 to 1800. A considerable number of the pictures are commented, and there are biographies of the significant artists.
The best reference of all: Click on the Images tab, and the entire world's collection of reference imagery is at your fingertips.
If you are interested in creating artwork for games, it's likely that you have at least a small interest in the world of computer graphics. Here are a few Web sites I visit quite often.
CG Networks www.cgnetworks.com
CG Channel www.cgchannel.com
The original and currently best site for all things real-time. Forums, utilities, tutorials, industry news, and mod assets are just a small part of what this site has to offer.
The 10 Second Club www.10secondclub.net
Monthly animation contest, forums, and advice for aspiring animators.
Real Time CG www.realtimecg.com
Home to a very popular monthly competition sponsored by Peachpit Press and New Riders. Entrants are given a game-art-related brief each month that they must complete and submit to a panel of industry professionals. The site hopes to one day be a complete resource for the professional and aspiring game artist; this is one to watch.
Forums. The following sites are home to some of the most popular CG-related forums on the Net. Discussions span everything related to computer art and animation, so sign yourself up and post your work to get constructive feedback and help.
http://cgchar.toonstruck.com/forum/index.php is a character animation forum that evolved from the original CGCHAR mailing list.
There is an enormous Maya community available online, where you'll find excellent tutorials, scripts, and plug-ins available for free. Here are just a few sites I find useful.