View Full Version : The Journey Begins Challenge (3D) Entry: Ronald Kary Black

02 February 2006, 03:02 AM
Ronald Kary Black is entered in the "The Journey Begins Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: Exit Origin (

03 March 2006, 05:17 AM (

I got here circuitously. I started thinking about a human cannon ball, which somehow lead into the Fisher King and the quest for the grail (well... a human cannonball would have a good chance of being wounded :), then bumped into this article ( ) which lead into thoughts of the tree of life and to a common story of ultimate beginnings.

I wound up on: Sadly the angel contemplates Adam and Eve's footsteps at the exit of Eden.

I hope for the angel and the tree of knowledge to compete for initial focus, and then have the sorrowful expression of the angel and the footsteps come into play -- a lot of the audience would have Adam and Eve's journey out of Eden playing in their mind as it's a rather well known story. It is not a ďover the shoulder as they're leavingĒ take on a journey, but hopefully it comes across.

Overview of the relevant bit:

Lots of amazing work already posted, it's a little intimidating coming in. I'm aiming mainly to learn a bit, have some fun and... finishing ;)

03 March 2006, 05:19 AM (

Quick doodles to get the basics in there.

03 March 2006, 04:22 AM
Hmm, a very interesting take on the challenge theme. Great Stuff!!
I'll be following this one for updates.

03 March 2006, 04:23 AM
Well some real interesting research you have done there. I can't help thinking about the mythology of the cheribum and the flaming sword. Conjours up quite a different image for a lot of people i would think.

03 March 2006, 04:51 AM
Seems CG talk hung up on me and didn't post my first post.
Disregard this post please.

03 March 2006, 05:53 AM
Wow, great concept! I've never seen the story of Adam and Eve from the point of view of an angel... It makes it much more interesting than the usual Adam-and-Eve-looking-sad pictures. Should be fun watching this develop!

03 March 2006, 09:38 AM
Original concept! I'll follow this thread... :thumbsup:
Waiting ups!! ;)

03 March 2006, 10:50 AM
Go for it man, everybody is learning here hehe. Interesting concept you've got, time to start modeling stuff. Good luck!;) (

03 March 2006, 10:28 AM
Very original concept! Definaely prefer the second sketch! I would like to see the Adam and Eve characters in the image as well -my reason for thinkng this, is i'm not sure how imediately obvious the footprints will stand out to the eye otherwise. Looking forward to seeing where you go wih this idea!

03 March 2006, 07:52 AM (

I've started to sketch out the form of the angel. She'll be 9 heads high, fairly thin, etc. There will be a fair amount of costume in play (greaves for sure to save myself the lower legs ;).

I am a little worried about the wings, haven't done anything similar to before, and going straight into a feathered version...

03 March 2006, 07:59 AM (

Opening shot at the wall, built off of a procedural approach that Chris Subagio posted a few years ago.

Some of the close rocks will have to be built by hand, but it's spot on what I hoped for middle and long distance.

03 March 2006, 08:15 AM
Thanks everyone who posted :) Sorry for not having an update sooner, but I was a bit under the weather in the early part of last week, and then my free time was caught up in a Wordpress installation (CSS is a little weird ;)).


I definately agree that the second sketch is the way to go. I'm a little worried at the composition though. Having the wall form a pair of diagonal lines down the middle is a little weird (although having the walls hide the garden is a great feature). Hopefully I can keep the eye from shooting off the page with colour and tone.

I've got a quick session in on the angel character, tons to rough out on it still -- trivial things like wings, faces, costume... etc :).

I'll have to take a look at it with an Adam and Eve, or perhaps more particularly take a look at it with the footprints in play -- if it doesn't communicate I'll go more literal.


So much to do.

03 March 2006, 09:21 AM
Either she's got a really wide ribcage or she's got a very small waist. You might think about giving her a little bit more meat around the middle. At any rate. Nice job so far.

03 March 2006, 04:21 PM
Either she's got a really wide ribcage or she's got a very small waist. You might think about giving her a little bit more meat around the middle. At any rate. Nice job so far.

Looking at it in the morning, there is probably a bit of both. I'll be working into it tonight, and I'll get the form defined (properly). Oddly -- I went in with the intention of working the whole mesh at once, but wound up with 4 fingers at the same time as a poorly defined torso. Best laid plans I guess :)

03 March 2006, 12:55 AM
I do think the rib-cage needs to be narrowed slightly, especially in the armpit region, where its bulging out, where it should be concave instead.
Having said that I do like the slight stylisation of the form. It has the feeling of a character from an El Greco ( painting about it, which given your subject matter, seems quite appropriate.

03 March 2006, 07:41 AM (

Wrong weekend for getting a lot done.

Most of the roughing out is in play now, but in my mind I'm seeing it with a lot of the costume in -- and I imagine I am missing some of the basics.

In an odd twist someone started a thread on how to create wings just before I was about to. Paul Hormis (who did the rigging on the birds from Blizzard) shared how he does his. ( I am going to have to grab a few more wing anatomy samples to get the base right, but I think it is do-able (and mobile in the end which is a plus).


Hope to get the character settled in rough soon, then do a quick pass for the overall scene.

Selina: Thats a very kind comparsion. I wish I could claim to have been going after it conciously ;). I don't think I've had much exposure to Greco since HS, when I copied a bunch of his stuff in charcol.

Hopefully the worst of the rib issue is clear -- tho looking at it now she seems rather barrel chested still... well something to think about tommorow.

Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights ( has some stylized figure work in it as well that was kind of interesting. Might be a direction for me if Adam and Eve need an on-screen role.

03 March 2006, 07:54 AM (

Sorry for the backgroun, rendering error.

Well it proves that wings can be made this way, and it's very fun that they're moveable and deform reasonably well.

Looking at this right now the wings are likely far to small, but I'm going to sit on it as is for a for a day or two and then finalize the size I want. "...not make the same mistake twice" etc.

03 March 2006, 02:41 PM
hey kary, great job so far. i'm stunned by the wall being procedural. could you point me in the direction of that thread possibly or tell me how you do it? it's a great job.
as for the angel, i think you're well aware of the problems she has, but i may offer a couple of suggestions to help you get her right. first of all, standard proportions dictate that a tall skinny fashion type body is 8 or 8.5 heads tall. just eyeballing i think that your's is the tinsiest bit above that. and i think theres an inch more in the neck than you need. to help get the forms in the torso better you may want to consider rotating the ribcage (and thus everything above it and attached to it) 15 degrees backwards and push it back a fraction. that'll help you get a better curve in her lumbar region too. in her hip/abdomen area, if you have a go at building in obliques then the transition from the ribcage to the top of her hips will be a little more believable. i like to exagerate them first then refine them. you have wonderful edgeloops, especially in the face, i wish i had that much control. but in the body may i suggest that they are a little too regular and predictable? i've found that concentrating on defining the form first then evening out the edgeloops only where i can makes for a more human/oid type mesh. but that's just personal opinion.
yes, the weings are too small, but i especially like the muscular definition around the wing insertion, seems very well thought out. (obviously if they were big enough to be useful then the amount of muscle required is going to make her look grotesque and will have to be toned down).

well i hope this is useful. keep it up, you're going to have no problems.


forget about the wall, i use maya...:sad:

03 March 2006, 11:14 PM
"forget about the wall, i use maya...:sad:"

I was just wondering about that ;). There is one really handy little plugin that max has (greeble) which does random extrusion detail. Fantastic way to add tertiary detail on things, and some people (eg: Chris) can turn it on it's head. Basically comes down to a mesh select > random extrusions > geometry noise > smoothing > then 3 more layers of the same - with a blend texture on top with a bump/disp to round it out.


I really appreciate the detailed input Clevland.

I hope that the problems I have with this come from the way I developed her. I started with a regular human outline (7.5 in fact) then realized this would definately be the time to go for the classic fashion look of 8+ (good eye btw, I had it set to a 9). I screwed up lesson #1 pretty well with this one (reference, reference, reference ;)).

I've taken a stab at the ribcage changes you point out and it seems to have cleaned it up a quite a bit (I'd post something, but I got myself into the middle of major wing surgery -- hope to have an update by the end of the weekend). I think that will wind a tremendous help in the flow of the figure in the end. I've wound up very muddled and a clear eye helps tremendously :)

Thanks for the comments on the loops, I've been trying to focus on that a bit lately and it's nice to hear it's showing. The mid-body region you mention is sort of an area of debate for me; I have rough plans for a lot of costume to be in that area (a breast plate which would likely be a plain cylindrical form so I didn't spend an enormous amount of time with it). You're absolutely right about that section -- I have been thinking of it as a rough guide instead of a final visible element. The major change to the line of the ribcage is huge change even with it just as a guide.


I wondered about how much muscle to suggest around the wings -- even taking a pair of 20 pound dumbells and standing in a T pose is a fairly tough experience, putting the muscles in place that would "really" be able to lift a body's weight would be pretty grotesque ;)

03 March 2006, 07:38 PM
Hey Kary! Regarding your point about the wings -lol! I think youre right and in this case its best to go with artistic license! The wing muscles do look very natural and i think theyre going to be rather magnificent! Also - i love a bit of Heironymous Bosch! I think using him for inspiration would be no bad thing! Looking forward to your next update!

03 March 2006, 08:21 AM (

I took a shot at a cloak earlier... It's amazing how many ways wings can get in the way of that.

I'm taking a quick look at a breastplate / pauldron arrangement. If this winds up holding up I will run a tabard underneath it. If it doesn't I'll switch back to the 'classic' robe look.

03 March 2006, 08:25 AM (

... and I also wanted to show the final form I arrived at. I can't see myself making major changes on this (especially as either costume option has a good chance of a lot of coverage). Still have to do the textures, and displacements to do so there will be some fine tuning there.

04 April 2006, 02:37 PM
well the body looks so much better now. just a little tweak to lift the top of the hips (iliac crest) higher by an inch and make the tiniest mass aparent in the lats (from the front) i think she's done. and i've figured out what's bugging me about the wings. the feathers need to be longer. i would guess about double the length overall. try it, i think you'll like it! and the wing bones definitely need to be much thicker too. also, classic angel wings (as a guide) tend to stick up much higher and less further back when closed or much wider out to the sides (and less further back) when opened. either weay, i think less z and more x or y.

keep it up.


04 April 2006, 08:28 PM (

Oy that was a long stretch on other things (and curse you beautiful spring weather).

There needs to be a bit of taper to the wall, more variation in the colour, but I am nearly to the point of letting that stand. Gate geometry is looking ok (Iím debating sealing the holes or putting in enough background too... alright Iím sealing those holes). I'll tie the sides into the wall when I have that finalized.

The first pass at the gate texture is criminally bad, so Iíll be scrapping and restarting.

05 May 2006, 07:44 PM
Hey Kary!

Youve really improved on the body and i absolutely love those gates! Hope to see more soon man!

05 May 2006, 02:11 PM
kary, those gates are fantastic. just one question. how did you do them??

also, i like the fact that they have holes. i would just shove a 2d background behind there. not every single aspect has to be 3d. if you just paint a rough image behind i think it will add.


05 May 2006, 02:46 AM (

I kind of wish I didn't address such a popular creation story now. People bring to much baggage, and it definately wasn't intended that way. Happily that comes up only when the image is explained... or unhappily from a story telling pov I guess ;).


That is with the figure in the scene, she's locked down from a skinned model (first time I've tried that, heck of a lot of fun - - and a lot of errors to fix ;).


Selina and Cleveland: Thanks :) The gates have been the high point in 'look and feel' for me so far.

Cleveland's construction question: Box modelled. The two gates are actually one object, flipped so that you're seeing the back of the other. A few times the roots protrude from one side to the other, but it makes for more of a mildly amusing side game then a distraction.

Holes: Yes I definately need to get an image in there, as I haven't the faintest idea how to build a garden in 3D without going mad ;) Not sure exactly what setup it will be, but some idea will click soon. There is a displacement map governing it -- I have it jacked up atm so that the holes are very minimized, they were distracting. Once I have something back there I'll open it back up.

On making it: I still have the development files, might be interesting to grab a few caps from that to show how I did it. Definately will have a wireframe of them up shortly.

I didn't even start to feel like I was going mad doing it until the last 10% or so even :D

05 May 2006, 12:07 PM
Hey Ronald,

I agree with everyone else, the gate is very cool:thumbsup: and the stone wall is looking great too. Just a thought on the wall, maybe if you vary the stone colors a bit it would look a little more natural. Great job so far and good luck the rest of the way.

05 May 2006, 05:09 PM
cmon kary.

everything looks great. i want you to finish, you've come so far. i'm digging the angle. the design of the clothes the stance si great and the wings are looking freaking awesome.

keep it up man!! only a couple of days now..


05 May 2006, 06:06 PM
I was rendering a final middle ground pass last night and upped the res to 3600, from my 1800 tests with low/med quality settings, and much to my dismay I was greeted by another 21 hours estimated time on the render this morning (I had been expecting about 3-4 :)). With Time left: 3 days, 6 hours, 2 minutes, 9 seconds left... not good.

Right around my birthday so I have two dinners out in the next two days as well >.<. It's going to be tight. :(

05 May 2006, 02:43 AM
well, at least you'll be drinking while it's rendering...

05 May 2006, 11:08 PM (

Nearly straight out of the renderer, with all the layers together

05 May 2006, 11:11 PM (

On the different elements (and their shadows) there were 9 layers in play. Some of them were a bit odd eg: the yellow light turned the skin quite alien so I pulled out a seperate layer for that to get it a bit closer to chalk and pink.

Still a lot more that I would like to do, but it's been a heck of a learning experience :)

05 May 2006, 11:16 PM (


We look back on the gates of Eden as an angel contemplates the footsteps of Adam and Eve.

In that creation story it is the moment when all journeys begin.

05 May 2006, 09:43 PM
Hey Kary!

Thanks so much for your comment! I think you did a really good job with a very difficult subject matter! youve successfully placed the focus of the image on the angel and gate which are definately the strongest elements within your scene. Its an intriguing image so well done and good luck!

06 June 2006, 08:40 AM
hi kary, you got a nice work here [I don't now how I missed it], I especially like the gate, great work, congrats :thumbsup:


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