View Full Version : Secret Agent Entry: Joel Appugliese

06 June 2009, 04:34 AM
Joel Appugliese is entered in the "Secret Agent" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Work In Progress: SecretAgent-HeadStart (

06 June 2009, 05:49 AM
New Concept On Page 2 ( (

A Collage of various assassin concepts.

06 June 2009, 06:01 AM (

A Collage of concepts for Loiosh

06 June 2009, 06:27 AM
Hello CGTalkers.

Let me start off by saying good luck to all. I`ve already seen some cool concepts posted and I can't wait to see them develop.

That being said, onto the topic at hand.

About my Entry:

Vlad Taltos is my favorite protagonist from the many fantasy novels I've read. Together, with his best friend and familiar, Loiosh, a small dragon type creature, Vlad finds himself in countless impossible situations, where he uses the limited information available to complete his mission. The author is Steven Brust, and in my opinion, one of the wittiest novelists there is.

I will be conceptualizing the characters based on a blend of thorough analysis of the descriptions available and my own imaginative ideas. At this early stage, I'm leaning towards a movie poster type entry, or a digital maquette of Vlad and Loish posed in the middle of a battle scene.

Vlad Taltos' Profile (As taken from Wikipedia):

As an Easterner in species, Vlad's appearance corresponds with real-world humans, in contrast to the tall, elf-like Dragaerans that also inhabit his world. Though shorter and weaker than most Dragaerans, Vlad is very fit and agile. He has a hairy chest and usually sports a mustache in defiance of the Dragaerans' lack of facial hair. He typically wears fine nobleman's clothing in black and grey, the colors of House Jhereg. Earlier in the timeline of the series, he carries a magical chain called "Spellbreaker" wrapped around his left wrist, but this chain is later replaced by a Great Weapon called "Godslayer". In addition, he carries a rapier at his side and a number of small weapons hidden about his person.

Vlad is intelligent, headstrong, and witty, prone to wisecracking even in the most dangerous situations. Hotheaded and often reckless, Vlad speaks his mind bluntly to almost everyone, regardless of rank or species. Though he often displays a cavalier attitude, Vlad prefers to plan his actions and is very pragmatic about avoiding danger. His personality has largely rubbed off on Loiosh, who frequently banters with Vlad through their psychic link. Though Vlad has several Dragaeran friends, he hates Dragaerans as a species and feels no remorse for killing them. Conversely, Vlad takes pride in his Easterner heritage, but rarely associates with other Easterners and feels little sympathy for their plight.

Vlad grew up working in his father's restaurant in Adrilankha, the capital city of the Dragaeran Empire. As an Easterner, Vlad was a second-class citizen and frequently bullied by Orca youths. Vlad's father bought a baronetcy from House Jhereg in hopes of gaining acceptance from Dragaeran society, nearly bankrupting himself. He tried to teach Vlad to turn his back on his Eastern heritage and embrace Dragaeran culture, but Vlad despised the Dragaerans. Instead, he studied with his grandfather, whom he calls Noish-pa, to learn the Eastern arts of fencing and witchcraft. With his Noish-pa's help, Vlad acquired his familiar, a jhereg he named Loiosh, and raised him from a hatchling. Vlad's father fell ill and died after refusing treatment with witchcraft, and Vlad ran the restaurant for a short time before entering the criminal world of House Jhereg as a low-level enforcer.
Despite being an Easterner, Vlad worked his way up the Jhereg hierarchy. He graduated to performing assassinations and proved very talented at the task, using his witchcraft, fencing skill, and familiar as assets. He eventually earned his own territory and divided his time between overseeing his operations there and continuing to take freelance assassination jobs. Through the course of his adventures, Vlad acquired a powerful artifact he called Spellbreaker, which has the ability to disrupt any sorcery that it contacts. Vlad made several extremely powerful Dragaeran friends, including Duke Morrolan e'Drien, who hired Vlad as a security advisor, Aliera e'Kieron, a one-time Dragon heir to the throne, and Sethra Lavode, a legendary enchantress. Vlad also met and married a fellow Easterner assassin named Cawti.

Cheers to all and best of luck everyone.


06 June 2009, 07:09 AM
Lookin forward to it Rages, good to see a fellow Hardcore Modeler stepping up to the big time

06 June 2009, 07:16 AM
Likewise Rob. Looking forward to seeing your inspector gadget concept realized. I was actually toying with an inspector gadget idea until I saw you post on the HMC lol.


06 June 2009, 09:40 AM
It's clear that you have a passion for what you're doing here, but I think you need to be wary of thinking too far outside the box. Perhaps if you can focus in on the Assassin/Thief side you can bring this in to line, but be careful of straying too far from the intended theme -- I just don't think the judges will want to see something that screams 80% high-fantasy and 20% Secret Agent.

Just my 2cents early on...

06 June 2009, 10:44 AM
Thanks for the honest reply, Monte-Cristo. And this early on, it's very appreciated. I will definitely take your crit into consideration as I flesh out the concept.


06 June 2009, 05:57 AM (

I've got a setting brewing in my brain, and am looking at having an interesting camera angle. The jist of the story is that our Assassin, Vlad Taltos, is waiting in the rafters, about to eliminate his mark. I remembered something similar to what I was looking for in X2, so I busted out the DVD and took some screens. A more concrete story will come soon.


06 June 2009, 06:34 AM
Concept/setting #1:

Infiltrating an impenetrable fortress is easy When your Demon Goddess helps you get in. Which is why I found myself High up above the king, in the rafters of his throne room, wishing for a way out. It seems escaping from an impenetrable fortress wouldn't be as simple, and Vera was ignoring me. That bitch! Presently, Loiosh spoke up inside my head.

LOIOSH: Boss, how much longer are we going to wait here. My neck is hurting, and you smell bad.
VLAD: Shut up, Loiosh
Loiosh: That fat bastard of a king hasn't moved in an hour. He must be asleep.
Vlad: I know, Loiosh
Loiosh: Then Why don't you just kill him so we can get out of here?
Vlad: Because there's 50 Guards between the king and the exit.
Loiosh: So what's the plan?
Vlad: Shut up, Loiosh. I'm working on it.
Loiosh: I think we should...
Vlad: Leave the thinking to those with opposable thumbs!
Loiosh: Can you fly?
Vlad: Shut up Loiosh.
Loiosh: I can. I could distract them.
Vlad: All 50?
Loiosh: I'm Charismatic.
Vlad: Do it Now!
Loiosh: Shut up, Boss.(Takes flight).

06 June 2009, 08:15 AM (

Ok, so this isn't EXACTLY wip, but I was trying to get into the mood of the character so I took an hour and modeled a loose version of Vlad's Rapier. Don't know if I'll keep it, but now the juices are flowing.


06 June 2009, 08:31 AM
Very nice concepts you got there mate, looking forward to see what you come up with.

And a very stylized sword, keep up that work!

06 June 2009, 08:52 AM
Thanks Andreas.

Fleshing out another concept. I find writing down the setting before sketching to be a huge asset for me. Sketches will come this week.

Concept #2:

*This scene is a simpler one. Front view of Vlad as he's walking towards the camera, Loiosh on his shoulder. Behind him are bodies laying dead on the ground, including the mark.

Loiosh: That was a close one, boss.
Vlad: My thoughts exactly. Another scar to add to the collection.
Loiosh: What are you going to do now?
Vlad: What I always do when I almost die. I'm going home, pouring myself a glass of brandy, then I'll shake uncontrolably until dawn.
Loiosh: Good. Let someone else clean up the mess
(They walk away).

06 June 2009, 09:36 AM (

Loose sketch of Vlad with Loiosh in the rafters, Trying to figure out how they are going to kill the king AND his 50 guards (of which only 1 are present in the sketch).

06 June 2009, 06:32 AM
Alright everyone, it was time for a drastic rethinking of this challenge and my entry. After talking to some friends to get opinions, it seems that, even though Vlad Taltos, Master Assassin is a really awesome character, he's just not right for this challenge. So I got to some brainstorming, and came up with something totally different. It's still in the planning stages, but here's the beginning. Sketch will follow up on the next post.

The idea is to have a very wide canvas. In the center will be a man, one half (his left side) will be styled to look like a family man. Khaki shorts, glasses, balding, simple button up tee-shirt. To his left will be his wife and child(ren?) in a family photo style of image. To his right, he will have his arm extended, holding a gun he just fired. farther to the right will be a bad guy in mid flight, having just gotten shot. The guy may possibly be a ninja, but I'm not sure yet. Anyway, I write these descriptions because my sketches are poor at best.


06 June 2009, 06:33 AM (

This scene depicts the secret agent. On one side, his family. On the other side, his career.


06 June 2009, 07:17 AM (

A 3D sketch showing my concept

06 June 2009, 07:24 AM
Hey Joel!

Great to see you entering this. I'll be watching with great interest. :)


06 June 2009, 07:47 AM
Hey Felix thanks for stopping by, man. Are you going to be joining us?

So I've been brainstorming this new idea and have a few different variations. Sketching is VERY difficult for me, So for the initial stages I prefer to use words.

idea #1: Movie Poster.

This would be a simple setup. The background would be pure white. The character himself would be the only element of duality. The family on the left would be portrayed with light colored hair. The "good" half of the agent would be wearing glasses, khaki shorts, a button up tee-shirt and would be balding. This half would be the epitome of yuppy.

The "dark" half of the agent would be wearing a black suit, sunglasses, strict haircut. He would be like the agents from MIB or like agent smith. His arm extended with a gun, having just shot a ninja. The ninja would be in mid flight, as if he JUST got shot, with appropriate bloodspray. There would be a ninja hanging down from the top of the image, and one hanging off the side, as if the fight weren't quite over.

06 June 2009, 07:50 AM
Idea #2.

This idea would have a little more depth.

The "light" side of the image would have a house in the BG...a perfect summer afternoon family photo, in other words. The "Dark" side, would take place in an alley type setting. I would also like to establish an esher-esque situation, where there is a strange reversal of perspective between the two halves. If you look at them seperately, you can make them out as seperate images, however, if you look at it as a whole, it would still flow properly.

Any thoughts?


06 June 2009, 08:09 AM
Are you going to be joining us?

I'd love to, but I didnt even have the time to finish my HMC entry so its very unlikely.

I like the movie poster idea. Sounds cool. Have you thought about including some of the stylistic action/ambiance background-elements of the classic, painted 007 movie-posters? I think those looked really great.


06 June 2009, 08:15 AM
hmmm... good idea about the oldschool 007. I like the idea of the escher-esque style, but I think I will go for the simplicity of the movie Poster. Although it won't really be a traditional poster because of the Panoramic Render required, but we'll see. Thanks for the feedback.


06 June 2009, 08:32 AM
Although it won't really be a traditional poster because of the Panoramic Render required,

Lots of them actually had that kind of format, as there were always multiple versions, ie:

Sorry, I couldnt find them any bigger in a hurry.

Looking forward to what you come up with!


06 June 2009, 10:24 AM
Woah. Thanks for those Felix. I will definitely put them to good use, and look for more. Your help is much appreciated


06 June 2009, 11:12 AM
lol I didnt mean to bulldoze over you with these. Sorry! ;)
I hope they'll help you one way or another.


06 June 2009, 11:13 AM (

A 3d sketch of the direction I would like to take my Secret Agent. I am trying to develop a form that will apear both menacing on one side and benign on the other. I know I need a strong chin and sharp jaw line to define the strength of poth persona, But at the same time I need eyes that can be perceived either way, depending on where the viewer is looking. More to come.


PS. No need to apologize for helping me out, Felix. I meant it when I said those were appreciated :D

06 June 2009, 02:26 PM
Hey, I don't have a lot of input to give right now, just wanted to jump on the thread and say I look forward to seeing this develop. Pretty neat idea right now. I think color and/or lighting should really play a big part in this duality world idea. The idea of varying perspective would be interesting too. Some kind of weird backwards escheresque perspective for his secretive backwards life is a nice idea. Good luck.

06 June 2009, 02:33 PM
looking forward joel

06 June 2009, 08:23 AM
Thanks Polymaster. (

Secret Agent WIP. Still playing with shapes and trying to isolate features and shapes that will translate both to the light and dark side of the image. Also posted the AO pass, because I thought it looked cool.


06 June 2009, 08:46 AM

I understand the duality concept you are pitching.

However, the current 3D model reminds me of Gettler from Casino Royale:

It might be just all a coincidence.


06 June 2009, 08:46 AM
This last idea is very interesting. I think that dividing the image by a straight line is not so good. It will bring more static in your work.
What you think about this. There will be no straight dividing, but the street where the spy man stands with one leg on the grass of his garden with his house on background, and another leg is on the road where chasing cars are passing by and smoke and victim...
And one more thing. I think it would be funny if the family members of spy will look with horror on their faces on what is happening by the other side, on the road.
Anyway, I think you have a great concept with a lot of possibilities inside! Good luck! :)

06 June 2009, 09:02 AM

I understand the duality concept you are pitching.

However, the current 3D model reminds me of Gettler from Casino Royale:

It might be just all a coincidence.


OMG. It seems, that this time, the simpsons didn't do it...But someone else did :(

In all honesty, it is entirely conincidence. That guy looks exactly like my character, though. Bummer. I will still go ahead with the concept anyway. On a sidenote, I've seen Casino Royale, but don't remember this guy for the life of me.

@Peleng: Thank you my friend. I indeed intended not to have a straight dividing line. My reasoning for this was not only to prevent a static image, but to show that parts of his secret life overlap into his personal life, and vise versa. I will consider the idea of the family looking in horror at the dark side of the image. Perhaps it will make it easier to composite the scene in a more flowing, natural way. My problem is, though, that I want to show the drastic difference of both his lives, while at the same time allowing the viewer to see the image as a whole. Ah well, these things come with time and hard work. Back to it, then.


06 June 2009, 09:07 AM
It's not your fault, man.

Maybe you subliminally remembered Gettler. He only has 3 scenes in Casino Royale:

1) In the gondola ride in Venice, Vesper Lynd is struck with fear when she sees Gettler.
2) Gettler fights with Bond in the "sinking Building".
3) Gettler is killed by a nail gun through his "eye patch lens".

Since the same "OMG! Why does it look like my work!" thing happened to me too I thought, maybe it's just one of those things.....

A simple hat change may keep others from noticing the Gettler reference. :)

06 June 2009, 09:12 AM
But if I change the hat, he won't be so secret agent-y. :D


06 June 2009, 09:24 AM
Well maybe a simple color change of the hat will do it.

Some changes in the face contour might help (I know that's a lot of work.... I'm only trying to help). Some other face types are younger and show duality pretty well and look good in glasses (ie: Ewan McGregor in "Deception" and "Angels & Demons").

I can imagine Ewan as the office man torn by his dual life.

It's still early days.


06 June 2009, 11:06 AM
Thank you CGIPadewan. I do appreciate any and all feedback I can get. It is definitely something to consider.


06 June 2009, 04:17 PM
I love the idea Rage.

I think it would be funny if the family members of spy will look with horror on their faces on what is happening by the other side, on the road.
Anyway, I think you have a great concept with a lot of possibilities inside! Good luck! :)
I think this is a good idea but I don't know if this is the road you want to go down. My opinion, showing a connection between the 2 sides (horror on the innocent family's faces) would be a bit off putting. Depending on how it was presented of course.

06 June 2009, 05:04 PM
Thanks Wyatt :D

I was actually toying with the idea of having a situation where the secret agent is more involved in the dark half of the image, facing into it, while his family are trying to pull him out of it. This would make it a lot easier to work on the perspective difference a la escher.


06 June 2009, 07:04 PM
Very nice stuff. the 3d character head looks very good.:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
keep it up:beer:

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