|Screen grab of Zbrush sculpt with polypaint.|
Inspiration For The Dragon's HeadI've painted dragons here before and read up on descriptions of what dragons look like. They are described as having elements of the horse, camel and dog. A very broad mix to play with and part of why I enjoy making fantasy creatures so much. I have some pictures that live in my head when I think of dragons, I can remember seeing Smaug by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt on the cover of the Hobbit when I was probably 8 or so. Strange to see two brothers credited for the same picture, I had no idea it was by two artists. That picture echoes round the web as well as the inside of my head so I expect many of you will recognize it.
Another big influence for me was lead figures for fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons. I actually went looking for some of the miniatures I used to have and found The Great Fire Dragon, there's clearly an influence there. I couldn't find the artists name but it's fair to say that the artists who made those figures had a big influence on me and I learned a good deal of what I know about painting from painting miniatures. More recently I saw the cover art of John Jude Palencar for the novel Eragon and that stuck too.
Making The Dragon's HeadI screen grabbed the dragons head at intervals as I was working so you can see how the dragon developed. The dragon started as a poly sphere and I remeshed round about every time I did a screen grab. Remeshing prevents the polygons from being overstretched when you are putting detail into an area which lacks the required number of polygons.
This model was intended to develop ideas and have fun. I would normally build a base mesh in Maya with a low polycount with the intention of having a fully poseable skinned model. I may still do this but I enjoyed just focusing on sculpting for a change. Low poly modeling is a very different process and not as good for developing ideas. Zbrush has a much more organic feel which very much suits pulling around fantasy creatures.
|I start with basic shapes which I pull around using the move tool.|
|Once I had the head shape looking the way I wanted I put the details in.|
|Scales are quite easy and fun to do using Zbrush.|
|If you have a nice form to start with the scales almost draw themselves.|
|That was where I stopped on the sculpt.|
|Early polypaint, I experimented with some materials too.|
|Almost there, this is an outliner material that helped the texturing.|
Painting The Dragon's HeadI painted the model using polypaint in Zbrush. It's probably the first time I've used it so much and it worked out quite well. Because I painted directly onto the model in the same way I sculpt, it's much easier than painting an unfolded map in photoshop. I did use photoshop to tweak a little but for the most part it's polypaint. The best part is not having to guess how it's going to look. When you're painting the flat map what you're looking at is a peculiar pancake version of your dragon that looks like it has been skinned ready for stuffing. This is not a rendered model, all the images are just screen grabs so this model could look even nicer with the right lighting.
If I develop this model further (which depends on how much attention it gets) I think I would start thinking about more of a crest of horns and a larger mouth with more prominent teeth. I would also texture the eyes as they are currently just placeholder spheres with a material applied.
If you would like me to develop the dragon further please like, +1 and/or share this post and I will get the message. Thanks to all the plussers on my last post I very much appreciate active readers, this blog welcomes and needs your support.