I’m now posting this as a backtrack not realising I hadn’t posted however, as mentioned in one of my earlier posts about how I wanted to touch upon creature creation I then went ahead into Zbrush and worked on one of Kasdeia’s demon followers that she can summon. This was heavily inspired by the Chimera with influences from magitek FF game series. I feel as though I put too much detail within the base model as this is something that should have been done within substance painter leaving cleaner normal maps. Due to this I feel as though the general finished effect of the model is taken away.
These where two of the concept art pieces for the creature with the character design sheet to base its poses from. The concept art here is very basic as a lot of the main design came from my previous character creation unit and therefore did not need to be expanded on by much. From the concept art I then had to come up with a backstory for this character.
“Once a formidable predator within ancient Pangaea Alkabir spent their time roaming vast mountain planes hibernating for a little time a year. Although they were feared by many Alkabir was still prey to some of the larger titans of the times, due to this Alkabir found themselves only hunting around nightfall when they knew it was safe to leave and scrape up the scavengers of the night. As all was going well and to plan for the smilodon a terrible earthquake caused by a nearby volcano resulted in a collapsing of his den revealing the beast to one of the titans. Within this moment blue lava rushed down the valley straight into the Titan preventing what could have been the death of Alkabir.
After this scare, the beast decided to change his ways and help those he once hunted of a night to safety with exceptions to any who opposed him. Due to those small few who did oppose against his ways an occasional battle would break out leaving Alkabir with war scars, over time the battles increased as the Titans began imbuing more fear into the various creatures across Pangaea, fewer fights were being won by the Smilodon and their fur was beginning to shed from the stress that their body had been put under soon enough would be the time for Alkabir to die. In one last hope to save the lands in which they prowled they made their way up the volcano sneaking past any foe detected. At the top lay a symbolical shrine made from an ancient explosion of the volcano here Alkabir presented trophies from their most formidable battles in hope to be noticed by the ancient gods. Being at the peak Alkabir had lost all their energy only managing to place the trophies on the shrine just before collapsing.
A few of the larger enemies detected Alkabir’s life draining from them and began to make their way to the peak to feast and bemuse themselves on how this vigilante had now fallen. Unknowingly to them the ancient ones had received Alkabir’s offer and had been watching their struggles since that life changing day. As a gift to Alkabir, the ancient ones bestowed godly powers upon him to become immortal and spend their time helping any who call upon them. Many years had passed and the now God had helped many creatures across the land, little known to him a threat so great not even the most
powerful of ancients could prevent was about to strike. During the early morning, just prior to dusk a green flash lit up the sky across the continent following the flash was a large asteroid moving at incredible speeds. It hit the crust so hard the continent split off into various lands and killed of near all those who inhabited. At this moment Alkabirs immortality felt like a curse ripping all their fur from their body and leaving them in wrenching pain from the shockwaves while watching everything die around them. Due to the heartache felt Alkabir fell into a deep hibernation. Hidden away in an overgrown valley, the land changed around him rainfall shaped a stream which later developed into a river connecting to a waterfall.
One day Alkabir was woken by a young girl known as Kasdeia shaken up by how much the land and creatures had changed Alkabir was aggressive towards the young human. It didn’t take too long, however, for Alkabir to sense the girl had good intentions and just wanted to help the god. Following the girl back to her home he was then locked away and trained to perform as a cruel circus act for many of years. Although nothing compared to the stress and pain already experienced Alkabir’s body began to break even further all their fur had gone minus one long main down their spine revealing a feeble body covered in scales. It was not only Alkabir who had been out through this cruel act as other creatures were also made to perform for crowds of humans.
One day Kasdeia came and rescued few of the beings she could and run away from the circus I which they were kept, Alkabir could still sense her good intentions and followed Kasdeia to a moon temple. A place where he could contact the other ancient ones, Kasdeia helped the beast up to the shrine where he could be healed during this time Alkabir also spoke with the gods of his time granting faunae powers to Kasdeia so she could speak with the various beings and summon when needed. Alkabir swore to fight alongside Kasdeia throughout however many years, during one of the battles a large amount of Alkabirs leg was torn off using what parts she could fix together Kasdeia formed a mechanical leg in place of the decapitated limb.
Kasdeia would ride around on Alkabir’s back sitting on a saddle fashioned from any materials she could lay her hands on taking him up to the place where she found him as a young child once a year to rest and restore both their powers. Throughout the years a temple had been built just next to the lake this was then used as a haven for Alkabir and their tamer during one visit Alkabir caught a glimpse of themselves in the lake noticing how large antlers had grown from the top of their head and giant tendrils in place of their whiskers the trophies he had offered billions of years ago had been bestowed upon them as a permanent reminder of their battles and kind heart. From this day forth Alkabir would use these as weapons in a hope to avenge Kasdeia and the creatures harmed within the circus, setting off from the Haven one last time Alkabir and Kasdeia fully suited up in battle gear ready for the final fight together.”
I used this backstory for when i then modelled my creature in Zbrush and rendered it out in unity i thought about the different environments i could place the creature in and how to convey emotion. Although I would have liked to have posed the creature and included Kasdeia in the final piece I didn’t have the time to finalise. This was the end single pass renders from that project.
Continuing on from my initial concept with Kasdeia and how she could summon demons I began drawing out ideas heavily influenced by Chris Ryniaks work. These would be the demons in their summoned form however, I wanted to look into the way they would appear before taming. Along with altering designs from concepts I had already viewed I worked on my own. The first of these was the idea of a giant toad/ frog creature I was struggling to create a creature that looked fierce enough therefore referenced one I had already found and altered different aspects of this along with merging matte painting techniques.
The second of my designs was that of a leviathan, not those shown within the Final Fantasy series however, more of a biblical type. Again, I used ideas from Chris Ryniak’s work to influence me when designing out the summoned demons. The following step was to draw out the not tamed idea of the leviathan this was another concept where I took aspects from my references and blended it in with a final idea, I feel like this is a downside to the first two concept pieces as more of my own influence could have gone in to them.
The following concept was for a demon rodent or small creature, the idea I chose to go for was a hamster as its so controversial as to the idea of scary. I found it difficult to find a reference picture for the proportions of this however, after some time I found a suitable image for me to base my drawing off. From this image I then added in slightly more threatening features such as sharper teeth and green slime finally finished by a extruding tongue. The fear aesthetics of this creature came from a mimic in the dark souls series.
The final and what I believe to be the most successful in the concepts was that of the sabre tooth demon god. I wanted this to be one of the main demons that Kasdeia used if not had summoned on a permanent basis. For the idea of godlike I gave it tendrils either side of its face that harnessed magical powers. Although similar to whiskers in there placement they where more like sensors. The inspiration for this idea came from the Coeurls within Final Fantasy XV and how they used the tendrils to charge and harness lightning powers. The main feature of the demon was the sabre tooth face and body. For this I searched for both 3d models and fossilised references. Overall I believe this was the more successful of the concepts and is the one I will be taking forward over others.
Link to time lapse video of sabre tooth god: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGur_gMD-lg
before heading into backstory for my character I chose to sketch out fast thumbnail designs on Photoshop using a pen pressure controlled transparency. I chose to do this to get a rough idea on the character I ended up creating and others that could push ideas within the future. As a time limit and to loosen myself up i gave myself a set time of 30 seconds for each thumbnail. In doing so I was allowing my hands to loosen and not to think too much on the brush strokes I was creating. Having already studied life drawing prior and having brief understanding on how human anatomy was I saved time in not looking at reference images.
A lot of the same designs started reflecting in each new thumbnail with ideas then bouncing from one another resulting in me knowing further the type of character I wanted to create. The next step was to devise a background for the character as well as details such as name, age and appearance. Drafting this out a few times the final result was that she would be a Demon Tamer, 25 years old and that her name would be Kasdeia Ravada. The full in depth back story is below.
It was then from the backstory that I began drawing out more detailed concepts first by hand then transferring the styles and elements digitally all the meanwhile using references to help me along the way. Initially within my hand drawn concepts I depicted Kasdeia with the faun like ears from a young age rather than something she was given. It was playing with this idea though that helped me within developing the back story.
This was the hand drawn idea within my sketchbook initially the idea was to make her look mysterious even as a child however, i felt this didn’t reflect her persona or the troubles she was going through. I also started writing notes along my work a small example of this can be seen on this concept where I’ve commented on removing the ears.
Next to this I also began in drawing out the various poses from basic zsphere models I created within Zbrush. From these poses i could then develop further by adapting them digitally and making a skin to sculpt with.
During the process on coming up with a character concept I was presented with the task of creating a matte painting to place my character in. Before working on my own from concept pieces I followed a tutorial based on Machu Picchu and how to expand a high angled wide shot. The software I used in order to carry this out was Photoshop CS6. This was the base image I was given.
I didn’t want to strictly follow the tutorial so added in my own elements and found a lot of inspiration from Asgard within the Thor films. The first step among this process was to sketch out a rough idea of what I wanted to create using the given image as a basis on composition. I chose to keep it simple to begin with extending the mountains within the distance and bring a cliff edge together in the foreground. I started painting in the sky with a soft brush using a basic gradient of dark blue at the top of the sky fading into a softer blue along the lower horizon line from here I began painting in clouds and blocking of colours using the Idropper tool to gain as close to the pre-exsiting spectrum as possible the Idropper tool was used heavily throughout the matte painting in order for me to make it as realistic as possible. This process was carried out throughout the majority of the painting until the surrounding negative space was filled. Following on from this I chose to add in spire like features attached down with chains as well as a distant waterfall this required some rearrangement of the composition however, didn’t take much longer to fix. The next steps involved adding in the finer details for this I had to zoom in and make light brush strokes following the pathways other trees, cracks and grass where following although I believe this was carried out successfully more time could have gone into this at a later stage to again make the image more detailed. after finishing off the finer details I then again decided to change to composition of the image more so the left side rather than having a sloping mountain edge I decided to make this into a sharp cliff edge with various drop offs. Overall I felt this worked out better however, more could be done to the image in order to gain a more professional result and is something I will be taking into consideration during my main matte painting along with any others I am tasked with during future projects.
This is the final composition for what is titled ‘Project Sloth’ the inspiration on the layout was taken from Bone Temple as mentioned in a previous post. Although I was planning on adjusting the layout to a new temple as well as discussing this with the group it came to a decision that this would be the more appropriate image. Furthermore the textures, values and overall feeling of the image was a lot stronger than other layouts tried with one example being;
Although the rule of thirds is evident within both and very similar in the placement of the main image I could not get the idea across of steampunk. Furthermore this would have been more awkward within the group as their objects could not be placed accordingly.
Before editing the layout of the composition one more cave piece was tested, unfortunately I could not record this piece however I have a series of progression pictures of each individual layer.
The first layer composed of a rough sketch line art where a basic idea was created. Further more rough ideas of highlights and the direction the light entered the cave at.
Then next step was blocking out the colours using pen pressure and a chalk brush this way the colours blended together more easily. For this step a class mate helped me in the methods and how to develop a more professional finish.
This is how the cave appeared after the image was blocked out along with the specular light and radial light being evident. In parts the light reflected i added in a slightly more saturated value creating a lower light space. The next step involved adding increasing more detail.
This is where a higher opacity brush was used however this was later lowered to blend in with the under layer. The final step was to include in more foliage and detail within the image to finalise the composition.
This is the final composition I believe the level of detail is successful as well as the various tonal values. I also believe that a little more story and 3d aspect is identifiable within the final image.
Nearing the end of the project my group and I started changing around the composition of the final image to account for everyone’s placement and roles for the conceptual piece. After creating numerous layout one issue we came across was that the flat image was too boring and never told a story therefore I changed the composition. However, again this was then discussed as a group and it was decided that a cave would not account for the placement of a city, robot dinosaur, airship and character. Furthermore the cave did not come across as steampunk enough which was our decided theme.
In order to fix this aspect I researched into different composition method such as the rule of thirds and then started applying this to my layout along with two point perspective. I also found a previously worked on digital piece however could not find the artist that cohered with the finished piece. I found this through YouTube channel Adrien Von Ziegler a composer who specialises in Fantasy and Celtic music.
Of course the elements within this are not steampunk which could then be adapted to the project being carried out. However the layout is more appropriate to what we needed. Furthermore this would be a greater image to get across the notion of Dystopia.
After more discussion with the group we finally decided that this was more suitable for us all including the placement of each individual component.