View Full Version : Dominance War II: Imagus

02 February 2007, 10:46 PM
WIP thread for Imagus's Dominance War II entry.

Good luck, all! :thumbsup:

LATEST UPDATE: Modeling Update 3 ( (

All Updates:

[ Character Concept Sketch - Pencil ] (
[ Head Study 1 ] ( [ Head Study 2 ] (
[ Character Concept Sketch - Color ] (
[ Scythe Concept Sketch 1 ] (
[ Revised Character Concept ] (

[ Normal Mapping Test ] (
[ Modeling Update 1 ] (
[ Modeling Update 2 ] (
[ Modeling Update 3 ] (

[ Character details (written) ] (
[ Character Concept Revision (written) ] (

02 February 2007, 10:54 PM
good luck t'you too!

02 February 2007, 06:14 AM
Character Concept Sketch - Iathia, Harbinger of the Storm

Source: The Tome of the Elements

"In the known Universe, there are ancient forces beyond the comprehension of most sentient beings. These forces, known as the Great Elements, are said to be parts of the Universe itself, appearing when neccessary to purge the Universe of its greatest evils and maintain balance in the very state of Existence itself.

To contain these Great Elements, a handful of Chosen Ones, known as "Harbingers", are appointed from among the most ancient races of the Universe. Passed from generation to generation responsibility of each Harbinger is. Waiting for the Great Sign, each Harbinger maintains steady vigilance to keep the tremendous forces in check. It is a duty that carries tremendous status, but incredible responsibility. And such power comes at a price...
The voice spoke to her from far beyond, echoing across the fabric of time and space itself. Iathia raised her sightless eyes to the heavens, and the voice took on tangible form, a painfully bright point in the vast darkness she had known since becoming the Harbinger of the Storm.
"It is time."
Iathia rose from her cross-legged position in the Great Citadel and bowed her head. She felt a strange mixture of fear and excitement as she reached her hands out from her sides. The twin scythes Kat'iel (Vengeance) and Kat'iar (Justice) flew to her hands and, in her mind's eye, she could see the bolts of lightning that arced between their blades as she slowly raised them over her head, the incredible energy dancing across her skin.
"You know what must be done."
Closing her eyes, Iathia silently invoked the Rite of the Harbinger, releasing the Great Seal that would begin the Summoning. Another silent incantation, and her body begin to dematerialize, being transported to the place where the Great Element was needed.
As she felt the last of her slipping away into the void, Iathia prepared herself for the coming battle. For once she rematerialized, Iathia, Harbinger of the Storm, would unleash the tremendous fury of the Great Element upon the world.

Here is the first version of the concept for my Dominance Wars II character - Iathia, Harbinger of the Storm. The basic image came to me while I was looking at last year's Dominance War specs. When this year's theme was anounced, I thought that she would make an even better "Shadow" than a general, so I decided to run with the concept.

The pseudo-Egyptian nature of the costume and the ornate tattoos may seem a bit cliche, and the sketch may not be 100% perfect, but the concept and feel I was looking to capture is there. Huge twin scythes with lightning arcing between them, a great storm that can be brought to bear on the enemies of order - more mystic than tech, but certainly not at a disadvantage.

The character herself is a mix of ferocious warrior and calm monk/priestess, her battle tactics relying on strong magical offensive attacks and shielding. For coloring, Iathia has fairly pale skin, and her costume is pretty much all off-white, with the exception of the clasps for hood and side ribbons, which are brilliant red jewels set in silver. The scythes, being her weapons, are definitely removable and, depending on polygon allocation, I'd ideally like to make the hood and cloak removable as well - we'll see how it goes. :) The intricate tattoos are black, but they glow either red or blue when invoking the Great Element of the Storm.

I still have a few more studies to do, especially regarding costuming details and face details. Aome aspects of the design may change, but I'm happy with this first run, and looking forward to the daunting task of bringing this character into 3D.

02 February 2007, 06:31 AM
it's unique, but i'd definitely add at least a little tech to the design. say like the clasps of her cloak or maybe make the edge of her scathe glow like it's a beam. it's a cool design but i don't see how wind is going to stop energy blasts if she gets into a fight.
i like the scythes, but i think you may want to consider adding some curves to them. if she's got wind kicking & they're long & straight, she may pick up some wind sheer & well... ouch. if you bent them to shape an 'S' (including the blade), it might add a cool effect. also i think it would be cool if they latched together some how, maybe made a two prong fan of whirling death or something. just some ideas while everything's still fresh & early. good luck!


02 February 2007, 09:39 AM
it's unique, but i'd definitely add at least a little tech to the design. say like the clasps of her cloak or maybe make the edge of her scathe glow like it's a beam. it's a cool design but i don't see how wind is going to stop energy blasts if she gets into a fight.It's the "elemental forces of the universe counter your technological toys" argument. For offense, she has bolts, rings, hailstorms, blasts, etc. of elemental energy that takes the form of lightning. For defense, she has an energy shield that draws on the same energy, concentrated into a shell around her, to repel projectiles, energy beams, etc.

I had originally thought that I might add some form of tech to the design (arm, head, etc.), but I really don't think it works for the concept, and feels a bit "tacked-on". I really want to stick closely to the concept of an ancient, mystical warrior who relies on her powers, not technology, to defeat opponents. I plan to address many specifics in future design sheets. For now, I primarily wanted to stake out the basic look and concept.

i like the scythes, but i think you may want to consider adding some curves to them. if she's got wind kicking & they're long & straight, she may pick up some wind sheer & well... ouch. if you bent them to shape an 'S' (including the blade), it might add a cool effect.Actually, the handles do have a little bit of an "S" curve to them - they aren't completely straight - it just didn't translate well into the sketch.

For what it's worth, they are also weighted (that got cropped) - there's a large, heavy, flat blade on one side, heavy counter weight on the other - and they're used more as conduits for the elemental energy than as slashing weapons, though they can most certainly be used for that as well. Keep in mind that wielding two such large weapons at once is already severely pushing the laws of probability.

I may be relying a bit too much on the "mystical power" aspect, but it's what I really like about the concept - I think that a purely mystical warrior in a sea of tech really stands out.

I didn't mention it here, and it will be better detailed in the scythe's design sheet(s) - there are ancient symbols carved into the blades that, along with her tattoos, glow with the same energy that is used for her attacks and/or shield. I was also thinking that she could channel the energy directly, should she lose the scythes, but the fact that she can recall them to her hand at will (quite possibly through an opponent), makes that seem like a last resort.

also i think it would be cool if they latched together some how, maybe made a two prong fan of whirling death or something. just some ideas while everything's still fresh & early. good luck!

-JUnlikely that I'll have them latch together (interesting suggestion), but I did envision a spinning attack where both would be used to cut a wide circle around her. I'm also toying with the grip - although my original concept was just a single, long handle, I'm also considering adding a typical, scythe-like side nub(s) for each, allowing her to better grip them in combat. I'll play around with it and see what I come up with.

Thanks for the suggestions. A lot will (hopefully) be clarified with the soon-to-come detailed element design sheets.

02 February 2007, 04:35 PM
Character Details

After responding to ill_logic's post, it occurred to me that, since I probably won't be able to post any more concept sketches today, a written breakdown of the character concept would be a good idea... (that's what I get for posting at 1:30am. :p)

Though there's a lot of information that isn't neccessarily directly related to the character's appearance, I find that having a good mental picture of the character, the character's background and motivations helps a great deal when making design decisions.

As things change, I may return to this post to update. For now...

Character Brief

Name: Iathia, Harbinger of the Storm
Race: Ancient (humanoid)
Gender: Female
Type/Class: Warrior/Monk/Priestess
Temperament: Calm, philosophical, vengeful when summoned
Weapon(s): Dual scythes, Kat'iel ("Vengeance") and Kat'iar ("Justice")
Attack: Channeled Mystic Energy, various forms, bladed attack (when neccessary)
Defense/Armor/Shield: Deflection field(s) created from the same mystic energy as the attacks.
Tech/Cybernetics: None

Overall Concept

A member of an ancient race that relies on mystic power, rather than conventional weaponry, to aid her in battle. A calm, calculating, incredibly powerful warrior whose will is driven by the Universe itself. Though "low-tech", she can easily hold her own against the forces of technology that often threaten to destabilize the Universe.

Character Background

Iathia is a member of one of the Universe's most ancient races, and has inherited the duty of Harbinger, maintaining and guarding one of the Great Elements of the Universe. The Great Elements are tremendous powers that are invoked in times of great need to maintain balance in the Universe.

Having been Chosen at an early age, Iathia inherited the duties of Harbinger and was entrusted with the dual scythes Kat'iel (Vengeance) and Kat'iar (Justice). As a side effect of her new power, she was robbed of her sight, relying instead upon the flow of energy throughout the Universe to guide her.

As a Harbinger, Iathia does not require sleep nor sustenance, but is relegated to living apart from others of her own kind, sealed away until such time as she is needed to maintain balance in the Universe, or is compelled to pass on the powers of the Harbinger. This is done to prevent undue influence and pressure to use the Great Element for any specific being's purpose.

Character Personality

Having been Chosen at a very young age, Iathia has pretty much only ever known the existence of a Harbinger. As such, she has accepted and embraced her role, facing it with calm and patience. In battle, this calmness and presence of mind is offset by the tempestuos raging energy, creating the striking contrast of savage but controlled agression.

Since she is, in a sense, connected to the entire universe, she has spent the many years of her tenure meditating and mentally exploring, darting from galaxy to galaxy, world to world, watching and waiting. As such, she does not harbor bitterness or envy as a result of her blindness or isolation. Since she does not require sleep or sustenance, she spends every moment of every day mentally preparing for the moment that she is summoned.

Iathia is not devoid of emotions, but she subjugates them to accomodate the will of the Universe, her one true purpose.


Iathia's weapons are the Kat'iel and Kat'iar, large-bladed twin scythes with curving handles and weighted blades. The scythes are emblazoned with mystic runes and symbols that allow the Great Element of the Storm to be channeled through them, taking whatever form she desires. For offensive purposes, this energy may be used as a projectile blast, a slicing ribbon, a swirling maelstrom, or pretty much any other form she desires. For defense, the energy can be channeled into force shield(s) or a protective shell, capable of deflecting both projectile and energy attacks.

Though great in both size and weight, the twin scythes can be easily wielded by Iathia through use of the Great Element. The runes emblazoned on the scythe are echoed in the ornate tattoos automatically emblazoned on her flesh as a result of the Harbinger ritual, and both glow when the Great Element is being channeled.

Should it be neccessary, Iathia can wield the dual scythes as bladed weapons, channeling the Great Element to make them far stronger and more powerful than a standard scythe. However, even given the ease with which she can handle them, they are still awkward for defense, and energy fields are still used.

Should Iathia lose one or both of her scythes, she can summon them to her hand by will. Should there not be time to do so, she can also summon the Great Element directly through herself, but this is not recommended as, without the scythes to act as a buffer, it takes an enormous toll on a Harbinger's physical well-being.


Iathia is clad in the ceremonial cape, hood and wrappings of a Harbinger. All are a white/off-white color, representing purification and balance, and made of a medium-weight, slightly coarse cloth. The clasps for the hood and side ornaments are searing, fiery red jewels embedded in silver, representing determination and vigilance.

Iathia's skin color is pale, and she is mostly bald, the hair at the back of her head gathered into a long bound ponytail that is often hidden by her hood and cape. Iathia's tattoos are stark black, and are positioned on the sides of her head, arms and legs, as well as on the front and back of her torso.


Though powerful, Iathia is still mortal. Should she be killed, the twin scythes would vanish, appearing wherever the next Chosen Harbinger resides.

It is unknown exactly how many Great Elements exist in the Universe.

Iathia has been summoned to the battlefield because the war threatens to destabilize and potentially destroy a great portion of the Universe. It is her duty to prevent this from happening by helping to bring the war to a swift end.

Chaneling a Great Element takes a toll on a Harbinger, even when it is done through their Sacred Artifact (in this case, the twin scythes)


That's it for now. Hopefully, it gives a good idea of what I have in mind - I believe that it meets the contest specs in a unique and interesting way.

More concept sketches to follow, quite possibly in color. :)

02 February 2007, 06:14 PM
nice work so far, the fleshing out of the background works well! i'm going for a little of the mystic power vibe myself, hopefully it'll work out well for us ; )

look forward to updates!

02 February 2007, 06:35 AM
A quick sketch of her head with the hood down, revealing the bound ponytail. Not sure I'm going to continue the tatoos to the side of the head... just the one on the forehead.

02 February 2007, 07:58 AM
Another quick sketch with the hood up, and showing a little bit of the jewel clasp for the hood.

02 February 2007, 08:48 PM
I like the idea, would like to see some of the forces she can conjure to defend or defeat foes, nice going.

02 February 2007, 05:25 AM
Color Character Concept

Okay, another update... decided to take the original pencil sketch and paint it up... get a better sense of the character's aesthetics...

bonzepeet: Glad you liked the character background - your concept's coming along nicely as well. Mystic power rules! :D

Airflow: Thanks. :) I still have a little bit of concepting to go, so I'll try to put together a couple of quick sketches of the scythes' powers.

02 February 2007, 07:27 AM
looking good imagus :D

she's got quite the set of abs on her!

think you could maybe jazz up the scythe hilts a little, work in some more sculptural/technolgical/stylistic motifs rather than just plain wood all the way down. up to you of course, but it looks like you're on the right track so far!

keep it up!

02 February 2007, 03:25 PM
looking good imagus :D

she's got quite the set of abs on her!Hehe... thanks, Peet. Yeah, I toned them down a little from the original, but the abs are a bit over-defined... a painter friend of mine mentioned them as well. The thing is that, along with the tattoos, they give a sort of edgy, hardened feel to the character. She's not just some fragile priestess, but a ripped, ready-to-go soldier. In some of my earliest thoughts, I was picturing UT2k4 characters (, so that's probably at least partially where it came from. :)

think you could maybe jazz up the scythe hilts a little, work in some more sculptural/technolgical/stylistic motifs rather than just plain wood all the way down. up to you of course, but it looks like you're on the right track so far!Yeah, I've been toying with the scythe details, especially the weighted part and the hilts. I'm thinking of continuing the runic markings winding from the handle to the bottom of the hilt, candy-cane style, but not sure how feasible it will be. I'm also still pondering adding a side handle (as in a traditional scythe), and trying to decide on material - wood, metal, or possibly something else.

I plan to do some more concepting over the weekend, focused primarily on the scythes, so we'll see what I come up with. I'd like to wrap up the bulk of the concept by Monday, so I can spend the next couple of weeks modeling.

keep it up!I will do my best! And thanks again for the comments. :thumbsup:

02 February 2007, 03:41 PM
i think she would look even better with more soft cloth :-/
it looks really nice btw. :)

02 February 2007, 06:44 PM
i think she would look even better with more soft cloth :-/Hey, avengerninja. Thanks for the feedback. :thumbsup:

Point of clarification... by "with more soft cloth", do you mean "with more clothing" or "with a softer cloth material"? Or both?

it looks really nice btw. :)Thank you. :) Hopefully, I'll be able to do the concept justice in 3D.

02 February 2007, 03:50 AM
A quick concept sketch of the head of one of the scythes. Rather than a wooden handle, I decided to try a metal one, engraved with the same runes as the blade, wrapping around the handle in candy-cane fashion. I also eliminated the heavy "weights" on the other side of the handle from the blade. I'm liking the look a bit better now.

I may try one or two more scythe concepts, but I get the feeling I'll only really start nailing it down once I start modeling the scythes. I also want to do a couple of scythe usage concept sketches. Finally, there are a few details to flesh out on the character herself.

02 February 2007, 06:51 PM
Normal Mapping Test

Being new to normal mapping, I decided to do a relatively quick normal mapping test, to allow me to set up the software and get used to the process. I modeled a quick-and-dirty "head" object (no, it doesn't have eyes), both low-res (256 tris) and high-res (11840 tris), then created and applied the normal map to the low-res model.

It came out fairly well... I still have a bit of trial-and-error to go through to achieve the exact results I'm looking for, but for now I at least know the procedure. There's going to be a bit more research on how to apply textures, etc... I may create a normal-mapped scythe to jump in to applied normal mapping.

Test image attached below. The upper images are the low-poly mesh. The lower images are the low-poly mesh with the normal map applied.

02 February 2007, 05:19 PM
Character Concept Revision (opinions wanted)

Okay... I've been thinking a lot about the design of the character, and I keep getting stuck on the scythes. Though it was the original way I'd envisioned the character, the way I have her using them makes little sense, and they seem a bit awkward and out of place.

As such, I was thinking that the character should channel the energy directly, using her own body (primarily hands) as the conduit, aided by the bracelets that are already in the design. This would allow her more stealthy options, as well as full-out attack capabilities.

Here are some examples:

- Place hand on the ground and send conduit of energy through the ground to knock out guard
- Send highly concentrated, thin blast of energy from fingertip(s), sniper-style
- Send blast of energy from open palm/fist for more explosive effect
- Generate energy "shield", to be wielded in either hand
- Generate energy "weapon" (any form, including... scythe ;)), to be wielded in any hand.
- Summon elemental energy "storm" with both hands (as in the character sketch)
- Generate energy "shell" with both hands, protecting her from attacks

I think I'd still like to keep her clothing white, but I've been toying with the idea of her cloak providing a "masking" effect, obscuring her from view as long as she doesn't use the elemental energy for anything else.

This is a fairly radical redesign, though primarily from a functional point of view, as this changes her from a full-out assault character to more of a stealth/infiltration type, with the ability for frontal assault if necessary. I think this rounds out the character a bit more, and also more closely meets the contest specs. The 1000-poly weapon allocation would be for the various forms the energy would take.

I don't have an updated sketch at the moment - picture the existing concept, just without the scythes. However, any thoughts and/or comments on this redesign would be welcome, as I'm getting ready to move into modeling. Thanks in advance.

02 February 2007, 05:29 PM
i have to say that the weapons dont seem to fit the character. its too grim reaper like which is dark and evil where as the ancient race is more enlightened, spiritual, god like etc.

03 March 2007, 03:10 PM
End of the road

Well, it looks as though this project just isn't going to happen. Numerous sidetracks and time demands, coupled with my relatively slow modeling speed, have combined to derail this particular contest entry.

I may try to get a start on this later this week just for chuckles, but even if I go all-out, it just isn't looking that feasible from a time perspective, at least to create a fully realized model. I could create and texture a fairly decent low-poly model, but I don't own Z-Brush and don't have time to traditionally model the type of hi-poly normal-mapped detail that would prevent this entry from getting laughed out of the competition.

However, I wish all of my fellow competitors good luck, and I look forward to seeing the final results of your efforts.

-=[ Imagus ]=-

03 March 2007, 03:15 PM
On the Road Again/Highway to Hell

Well, I just found out about the one-week extension for this contest, which was posted as I was creating my "end of the road" post. Believing that I had no time to finish this entry, I moved on to other projects, and have made no progress on this one at all over the past week. Had I seen the extension sooner, I would most likely have at least the low-poly model nearly completed.

However, I have decided that, no matter how terrible it is, no matter how sub-standard, I will post an entry for this contest. Presently, I have no revised concept sketch, and no modeling done. My plan is to create an old-school, low-poly-with-texture model by the 26th. Without ZBrush, a true competition-level normal-mapped sculpture is all but impossible. If nothing else, everyone will get a good laugh out of it.

Sometimes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Sometimes, you throw the lemons away. And sometimes, you run them through a juicer so many times that even the peel becomes liquified, then choke it down and claim victory in the name of digestion.

I'm firing up the frickin' juicer.

03 March 2007, 02:01 AM
Revised Character Concept

Pencil Sketches only - no coloring due to time constraints. Skin now has a texture like cracked desert sand. Clothing and Jewels the same color as before. Jewels on hand the same colors as jewels on hood and hips. Instead of tattoos, the cracks in the skin's texture glow blue when the Element is channeled through a nearby jewel. (example: hand/arm glows when hand jewel is used).

Power (Element) usage details

A sampling of ways to use the Element (13 shown, 2 not shown)

Various Details

On to modeling...

03 March 2007, 04:07 PM
Modeling Update 1

Just a quick post to show that I've been working... here are a couple of four-shots showing the basic model and a close-up of the head. A long way to go, but it's a start... not sure if I'll have enough time to take care of everything, but I'm going to give it my best.

Next steps are to start adding detail, and tweak details that seem off. The face is giving me a bit of trouble, so I'm probably going to concentrate on the body for a while.

Current polycount: 2186 tris

C&C welcome, of course.

03 March 2007, 10:24 PM
Modeling Update 2

Cut the basic forms for the wrap cloth, and created the dual bracelets on each arm. The cloth will have volume, but I had to get them cut into the figure first. The sides at the bottom don't come in toward the center as much as the original design, so I may have to tweak them.

I haven't optimized the wrap areas yet, so the poly count is a little bit up there. Hopefully, it'll come down once I do a second pass. Cothing and bracelets have a temporary material applied for visibility and checking.

Current poly count: 2716 tris

View of the back... had to do a little bit of last-minute costume planning, as I hadn't figured out how the lower wrap would stay in place. For now, here it is, though I may switch it up in the future.

Close-up of one of the dual bracelets, as they're hard to see in the pics above:

C&C welcome.

03 March 2007, 08:35 PM
Modeling Update 3

Optimized and extruded the wrap forms, added body detail, shaped hands, added finger joints, and tweaked other details. Looking like I may be able to finish the modeling by deadline, but most likely not the entry itself. However, I'll see how far I can take it.

Current Polycount: 3182 tris

C&C welcome.

03 March 2007, 02:40 AM
Out of Time

Well, it's about 1.5 hours to deadline, and I don't see any extensions, so I'm officially closing the book on this entry. Even had I had the full two weeks, I'm not sure I could have finished. As it stands, modeling (low poly) is about 60-70% complete - and that's being generous.

I may eventually create a WIP thread for this on CGTalk but, for now, I have other projects that I will most likely address. However, I think the concept and model deserve follow-through, and I don't plan to let them fade away. Hopefully, with a bit of practice and the support of the CGTalk community, I'll be able to produce something for next year's competition.

For now, I shall stand by on the sidelines and lend my support to those who managed to finish their entries. Congratulations, and best of luck! :thumbsup:

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