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Anitarf
02-20-2008, 07:43 PM
Having little experience with modeling, I was uncertain wether I should join such a big thing as DWIII. However, while reading the contest details, I stumbled upon the word "angel" and since those were my favourite creatures in the card game Magic: The Gathering, I couldn't resist starting to brainstorm; so now here I am ready to fight as cannon fodder for CGTalk. :) Hopefuly I'll be able to finish a decent model in time and learn a couple more things about making models along the way.

For starters, here's the background story for my character that I made up over the past few days. I'll be posting some sketches of it soon.

Race: Seraph

The Order of Light was one of the first groups to study magic as it appeared in the galaxy. Maintaining its traditions, the Order has never specialized in the study of a particular type of magic, but has maintained a mixed membership of Invokers and Clericons studying the ways of magic together. It was this collaboration that, after six centuries, led to their greatest achievement: synthesizing an organic, intelligent being, the Seraph.

These graceful winged humanoid beings would follow seemingly any command given by their makers, but would otherwise remain passive and do little on their own. Because of this, they were initially regarded as no better than a summoned beast, but it was later concluded that they were very intelligent, independent and in fact sentient. Some argued that the will to act was an important part of living beings and that Seraphs who seemingly lacked this were incomplete creations; however, in the end, the view that prevailed was that the Seraphs were in a way the incarnation of pure Good, beings without sin. While the concept of morals seemed alien to the Seraphs, their creation has ironically spurred a lot of debate about ethnics and morality within the Order.

The Seraphs became sacred beings to the Order and restrictions were put in place regarding how they could be used. The Order would also dedicate much of it's time into further creation of Seraphs in order to maintain a steady population since, as artificial beings, they could not reproduce on their own. While some cynics viewed the Seraphs' loyalty as a means to achieve just this, most members of the Order still felt they weren't doing enough for their creation, their children. Seeing how the only thing the Seraphs actually did on their own was observe the world around them, it was decided that their destiny was to be explorers and that's what they would from then on do.

Class: Stalker

The Seraphs have excellent perception, apparently using senses that even magically apt humans don't have. As a result, some people have proposed that the Seraphs can in fact perceive the Truth of the world around them. Skeptics see this as an ungrounded attempt to further sanctify the Seraphs, and metaphysical subjectivists downright refuse to comment on such theories. Either way, Seraphs are well aware of their surroundings, making them good at, among other things, locating and navigating planetary wormholes and avoiding trouble in the worlds they lead to. Their ability to fly allows them to cross large distances quickly and reach wormholes in remote places.

As a result, the Seraphs have over the course of two centuries explored many worlds and mapped countless routes, in most cases surviving until their natural death. As wars between different worlds erupted, the Order of Light offered this knowledge as their contribution to the war effort, but the generals demanded more, they wanted to see the fabled Seraphs on the field of battle. The Order opposed this strongly and eventually reached a compromise with the generals: the Seraphs would serve their world's armies as scouts and messengers, using their great knowledge of and access to the network of wormholes to keep their allies ahead of the enemy as far as information goes. The Seraphs accepted this task with the same, for lack of a better phrase, indifferent enthusiasm as any other.

Artifact: Bow

Now, the machines appear to be returning.

As Seraphs are sent ahead to bring some more tangible information on this new threat, the Order grows more and more concerned for the safety of their beloved creations. In these uncertain times, they have decided to arm the Seraphs so that they could defend themselves from foes they can not elude. Since they can not carry heavy armour if they want to fly, the Seraphs are equipped with powerful bows instead of melee weapons so that they could fight their enemies from safer distances.

The metal bow has a crystaline core infused with stone magic; when activated, it can momentarily considerably increase the stiffness of the bow limbs, allowing a drawn bow to fire an arrow at a much higher velocity. Likewise, it can be used to strengthen the tip of the arrow, allowing it to penetrate heavy armour. Should the arrow break on impact despite that, or be otherwise unretrievable, the bow also has a materialization chamber which can use the bow's power source to generate new arrows slowly over time.

Anitarf
02-21-2008, 12:06 AM
Here are some initial sketches of the Seraph's body. It's close to humans in size and proportions, except that it's thinner/lighter so that it can fly (in reality, it's probably still too heavy for wings of that size, but lucky for me this is a fantasy themed contest :) ). It also seems a bit more alien this way, I didn't want it to look like just a human with wings strapped on. That's why I also gave it the pointy elven ears, I wanted to do something different with the head and that was the first thing that came to my mind. I like them, but I might still try some other things as I develop the concept further. The Seraph on the sketch is bald because I didn't really know what kind of haircut to give it, but the more I look at it the more I entertain the idea of leaving it this way.

I'm more or less happy with this outline, so I'm currently thinking of what kind of clothes and equipment to put on it.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=123977&stc=1

Anitarf
02-21-2008, 05:52 PM
I have started working on the clothes for the Herald. They're a bit plain at the moment; I'm not a fan of adding detail for the sake of detail, so it's going to take me some time to think of enough useful details to fill the concept. Another difficult challenge is making it look awesome while not going into the absurd; as a stalker, it's supposed to be inconspicious, so I can't really push the "awesome colours" slider too far, also, as a flier, it's supposed to be light, so the "awesome armour" has to be kept at a minimum too.

Perhaps the base character idea is not the best for this contest, but Ilike it, and I like a challenge. Once I design the bow artifact it will add a lot to the character's wow factor, and I'm sure I can do better with the clothes too, given more time.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=124024&stc=1

Anitarf
02-22-2008, 01:14 AM
Sketching continues. I added a knife on the Herald's back, it fits nicely but it would probably be more practical hanging from the belt.

I also started working on the artifact bow; it's element is earth, assuming this also covers metal, the element is used to materialize metal arrows and strengthen them and the bow when fireing. I will be adding a more detailed description of how it works in the first post. The source of the elemental power is a piece of special ore with metallic crystals coming out of it, imbued with magic. In the sketch, I placed two of them on special metal beams coming from the tips of the bow; the idea was that as the bow was drawn, they would move forward due to the deformation of the bow and then, when the arrow was released, back again, thus with their momentum countering the force placed on the bow by the departing arrow.

This all seems too complicated now, and having two rocks with crystals makes them seem more commonplace and thus less awesome, so I'll probably only have one such rock on the riser and add shock absorbers to the grip instead. Since a bow can't really be used in close combat, those blades are there mostly for decor and are subject to change.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=124063&stc=1

Anitarf
02-24-2008, 08:34 PM
I did some experimenting with the three forum colours (red, black and grey) to see how they apply to my character. Here are 4 different results that I liked, though I'm not so sure about 2 and 4; having large areas of a strong colour like red on a stalker doesn't seem right. What do you think?

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=124201&stc=1

DDS
02-24-2008, 08:37 PM
I like the weapon! It's very Van Helsing-ish

I think the dress could use some more details. I'd just dump 100 belts around it, would be badass :D

Blaschke
02-24-2008, 09:22 PM
I agree with DDS.
Keep it up.

StacyOgie
02-24-2008, 09:28 PM
That bow is the s***. I'm really liking him and his graceful wings in one of the primary sketches. I agree with you; you should go with an outfit that isn't predominately red since he's stalker. The neck of the outfit should also be a little more form-fitting to retain the gracefulness of the creature. Keep it up!

Anitarf
02-25-2008, 02:25 AM
Thanks for the replies.

I have been doing some brainstorming on the bow and have found a way to be happy with keeping those "blades" that give the weapon it's killer look; I haven't exactly made them functional, but at least now they're decorative conclusions to functional elements of the bow rather than being decorative elements stuck onto the weapon for no apparent reason. The final bow should therefore look at least as cool as the one on the sketch. :)

DDS: Hey, you gave me an idea. It won't be exactly a hundred belts, but enough to add some detail to the body anyway.

Stacy: I'll try more variations of the outfit, including what you suggested. The reason I first made it the way it is now is because I thought a more form-fitting outfit would make the neck appear thicker, so I made the jacket wider and shorter in that area so the Seraph's neck can be seen behind it as thin as it is.

Anitarf
03-01-2008, 02:23 AM
I have been thinking about where to put the logo on the character. I can't really decide between various options; what do you think?

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=124517&stc=1

Anitarf
03-02-2008, 12:02 AM
Here's another sketch of a Seraph landing, with some colours spilled on. It still needs more work on details, but I think the belts were a step in the right direction.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=124550&stc=1

I'll start working on the low-poly model soon.

Anitarf
04-06-2008, 11:55 PM
Darn, I can't believe I haven't updated this in a month. Time sure flies when you procrastinate; there's suddenly so little of it left to finish this thing, and that's after an extension. I still intend to finish this, but considering I have less than a week I suppose I can already give up on fancy high-res sculpting and normal maps. Oh, well, smoothing groups to the rescue.

Anyway, here's some of the little progress I've made so far: a WIP of the bow artifact, currently at a little less than 950 tris. The magical power source, a metallic crystal formation, will be attached at the front of the hand-guard.

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