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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Fan Art:
Ambitious project, scene from the Silmarillion, could use feedback!

Almighty_gir
Registered User

Feb 3 2013, 5:53pm

Post #1 of 11 (975 views)
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Ambitious project, scene from the Silmarillion, could use feedback! Can't Post

Hi guys,

Allow me to introduce myself, i go by the internet pseudonym of Almighty_gir, and i'm a character artist who works in the computer games industry. Some fellow industry artists and i are about to undertake a project (starting proper at the end of February) which is to create a digital scene based on a part of the Silmarillion. It will be an animated clip designed to showcase our individual skillsets, as well as our teamworking abilities. The clip will likely last around 30 seconds.

The scene we have in mind is Glorfindel and the Balrog. but we're unsure about how to go about doing a couple of things. which is where we need your feedback.

Firstly, our Balrog will have wings, he will not be able to fly. the wings will be skeletal with no visible membrane or connective tissue. we will be using some VFX tricks to make them look like they're made of shadow instead. We're aware of the controversy surrounding Balrogs and wings and quite frankly, we've taken the artistic direction of "do what looks badass".

Our Balrog is inspired in part, by the one created by Weta for the movies. we want them to look similar enough that on first glance people say "that's a Balrog", but dissimilar enough that people recognise that they are two separate entities, after all there were more than one of the beasts and Maiar were personalities of their own... we feel this should be reflected in our Balrog. so here's a very early sculpt pass (done in zbrush) of the Balrog so far. it's almost entirely a block out of forms, the face has had some special attention paid so far as i got a little carried away! but please feel free to critique and give feedback, i'd love to hear it! in particular, i've been toying with the idea of giving him some form of armour plating across various parts of his body, possibly made of some kind of blackened steel with fiery red runic script across it... let me know what you think to that idea please!

images:
http://i.cubeupload.com/1sdV9K.jpg
http://i.cubeupload.com/R9gh9F.jpg
http://i.cubeupload.com/gOg3uk.jpg

Secondly, we're unsure which characters to include in the scene. we know Glorfindel was escorting Tuor, Idril, and Earendil "and many others" through the mountain range. Unfortunately i'm the only character artist, we have one animator as well as an environment artist and a VFX artist involved, so we're a very small team. Realistically it's only feasible for me to create Glorfindel and the Balrog, however if we have time we'd love to include Tuor, Idril and Earendil as well... if that were to be the case, what kind of dialogue would be appropriate between them before the encounter with the Balrog? bear in mind it's a short clip so it should be something that focuses on what's about to happen, maybe an ill feeling they all share or something.

If there were to be any dialogue, we'd love for it to be in elvish, with english subtitles. here's where we all fall down though, none of us know even the slightest bit about elvish. so any help here would be great! especially if you can (or know anyone who can) actually speak it! you may well end up voicing some of the dialogue.

finally, this scene is a portfolio piece which we will all have a shared interest in, there is no money or profit involved, we're all doing this in our spare time. all of us are established artists, but we wanted to do something fun, and a bit different. when the project is completed, any special help received here will be credited.


swordwhale
Tol Eressea


Feb 4 2013, 4:32am

Post #2 of 11 (634 views)
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cool stuff! [In reply to] Can't Post

I lay bets someone on this website could help.

http://elvish.org/

I do art, but I'm far far better with Elves than Balrogs! Yours looks pretty scary! The anatomy looks like you've done a lot of research on various beasties... really cool.

One of the things I've noticed with fantasy art is, either the artist understands Dwarves (rugged, blah blah blah) or they get Elves... usually not either. I've seen a lot of Elves that look like fashion statements. And some that look like Chris Hemsworth, who is hot, awesome, demigodlike, but so not Elvish. I think it's hard for some artists to get that combination of "fair beyond the measure of Men" and keep the strength. I think WETA generally did a good job with the Elves, but they are beginning to all look alike (vs the variety pack of Dwarves). I think greyhound vs pit bull, sable antelope vs wild boar, cheetah vs lion.

Well, there's my two cents worth. Can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

Go outside and play...


Loresilme
Valinor


Feb 7 2013, 4:46pm

Post #3 of 11 (654 views)
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Links don't work for me :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Would be interested in checking them out, but I've tried in both Firefox and IE and neither can connect to those links.


Almighty_gir
Registered User

Feb 8 2013, 9:32am

Post #4 of 11 (632 views)
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update [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Would be interested in checking them out, but I've tried in both Firefox and IE and neither can connect to those links.



Almighty_gir
Registered User

Feb 13 2013, 10:15pm

Post #5 of 11 (693 views)
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Glorfindel WIP [In reply to] Can't Post

  Hey guys!
Sorry it's been so long since my last update, i've been very busy... such is the life of a family man, and freelance artist!
I'd like to present my first work in progress shot of Glorfindel, it's only his head and as you're about to see he doesn't have his trademarked golden locks just yet. in fact all i've been focused on so far is nailing the anatomy as best i can.
The issues i'm running into at the moment, are that i want to make him more than just a "handsome man" kind of look. i think that's the biggest problem with the elves in the movies... because they were played by humans (and good looking ones for the most part), they still failed to capture the magic and majesty you would expect of the Eldar.
Right now i feel like he falls into "handsome man" catagory. so i'm going to try and push the features a little further, give him slightly more hawklike, sharp features, try to capture that air of magic that's infused into his being... "try" being the operative word.
Anyway, enough rambling, here's the art!
http://i.cubeupload.com/n49VhA.jpg


Loresilme
Valinor


Feb 14 2013, 7:56pm

Post #6 of 11 (599 views)
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Oh, I like that! [In reply to] Can't Post

Finally able to get to your link! Thanks for soliciting input - this is really fun!


I like the model so far - regarding this:

capture the magic and majesty you would expect of the Eldar

Yes, in that respect I like the brow area - I think the eyebrows themselves have a regal sort of look, kind of stern, but not exactly angry. I think it's a good balance, I like that.

Regarding the nose, right now I agree it falls into the 'handsome man' category - perhaps try a stronger nose, play around with the bridge area of the nose - the bridge makes such a tremendous difference in the appearance. Right now it's a classically proportioned nose, I don't know how easy or difficult it is to try different looks, but if you can try different nose shapes, particularly the bridge, that might get you more into the hawk-like or strong/sharp look ... not forbidding or threatening but lofty, that type of appearance.

Right now the mouth and chin are attractive and in proportion, although if the nose changes to be more prominent then the chin would have to become a bit stronger too.

I would say also that currently the design seems identifiable as European - changing some of the nose shape might give it a harder-to-identify appearance, which would then take it into that magical / majestic type of category, where you can't really place where a person who looks this way would come from.

I hope my ramblings above are helpful! This is really nice work and I am looking forward to seeing more of your designs :-).




Loresilme
Valinor


Feb 14 2013, 8:11pm

Post #7 of 11 (591 views)
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Balrog [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok I got in using those links - Balrog looks very menacing, very cool. Design looks good. Regarding the proportions, I see hands, arms and shoulders very large, and in proportion to each other, I love that. Upper legs look very big and strong, now though here the feet and ankles (to me) look too small in comparison to the upper legs and to the upper body structure. Also, regarding the head - love the horns and that mouth and face which are totally gruesome and scary (I mean that in a good way, lol), the design and detail is very good. Here I would like to see the overall head bigger though - it also looks too small in comparison to the upper body structure.
So overall looking good, just IMHO, I would like to see the lower legs and the head made larger to be in proportion to the upper body structure. I wouldn't shrink the proportions of the upper body structure, I would enlarge the head and lower legs.

Offering the above suggestions constructively and hoping they are helpful :-) It is very, very nice work and it must be a fun project you all are working on!


Almighty_gir
Registered User

Feb 14 2013, 10:13pm

Post #8 of 11 (658 views)
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Majesty of the Eldar. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Finally able to get to your link! Thanks for soliciting input - this is really fun!


I like the model so far - regarding this:

capture the magic and majesty you would expect of the Eldar

Yes, in that respect I like the brow area - I think the eyebrows themselves have a regal sort of look, kind of stern, but not exactly angry. I think it's a good balance, I like that.

Regarding the nose, right now I agree it falls into the 'handsome man' category - perhaps try a stronger nose, play around with the bridge area of the nose - the bridge makes such a tremendous difference in the appearance. Right now it's a classically proportioned nose, I don't know how easy or difficult it is to try different looks, but if you can try different nose shapes, particularly the bridge, that might get you more into the hawk-like or strong/sharp look ... not forbidding or threatening but lofty, that type of appearance.

Right now the mouth and chin are attractive and in proportion, although if the nose changes to be more prominent then the chin would have to become a bit stronger too.

I would say also that currently the design seems identifiable as European - changing some of the nose shape might give it a harder-to-identify appearance, which would then take it into that magical / majestic type of category, where you can't really place where a person who looks this way would come from.

I hope my ramblings above are helpful! This is really nice work and I am looking forward to seeing more of your designs :-).




Loresilme
Valinor


Feb 16 2013, 7:08pm

Post #9 of 11 (588 views)
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Invisible ink :-)? [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you mean to include a reply of yours to my reply? There's no text of yours other than my original post. I just wanted to let you know, because I wouldn't want you to think I hadn't responded to something you thought you had included, but which didn't appear or get attached Smile.

Unless maybe you used invisible ink WinkSmile.

Cheers!

Loresilme


Almighty_gir
Registered User

Feb 17 2013, 1:46pm

Post #10 of 11 (610 views)
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Majesty of the Eldar. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey Loresilme.

No i didn't intend for my post to be made entirely of your post... i get the feeling this forum is a little different to the ones i'm used to attending hah!

I've made a couple of changes to Glorfindels face. most notably i've sharpened the nose somewhat, and angled the jawline more severely. this should give him a narrower, hawk-like appearance. i've also adjusted the brow slightly... i've kept the brow line itself in the same place, but altered the angle of where the eyebrow (hairs) will be when he's ready. again going for that slightly alien, hawk like appearance. this is much closer to where i want him to be, and hopefully he still reads as that "handsome, beautiful man".

the real challenge is going to be the hair. computer game rendering engines hate hair, and long hair is almost impossible. but we're going to try some things that haven't been done yet just to see if they work. that stage comes later though, still in the sculpting stage right now.

here's an updated pic of the face:
http://i.cubeupload.com/4tiOI6.jpg

in terms of armour, i was going to use this as a basic reference with regards to shape, but the detailing would be more ornate and "pretty".
http://i.cubeupload.com/WGsPXi.jpg

with the cloak being styled like this (i love the way it wraps over his shoulders and behind his back)
http://i.cubeupload.com/48BfQu.jpg


Loresilme
Valinor


Feb 18 2013, 2:59pm

Post #11 of 11 (678 views)
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Nice! [In reply to] Can't Post

No i didn't intend for my post to be made entirely of your post... i get the feeling this forum is a little different to the ones i'm used to attending hah!
I still have trouble with that "Quote" feature, lol. I just copy and paste into my reply
.


I've made a couple of changes to Glorfindels face. most notably i've sharpened the nose somewhat, and angled the jawline more severely. this should give him a narrower, hawk-like appearance. i've also adjusted the brow slightly... i've kept the brow line itself in the same place, but altered the angle of where the eyebrow (hairs) will be when he's ready. again going for that slightly alien, hawk like appearance. this is much closer to where i want him to be, and hopefully he still reads as that "handsome, beautiful man".
I think I see where you've altered the angle of the eyebrows and given them a more swooping upward appearance at the ends - that works nicely towards giving him the alien, hawklike appearance. He's definitely a handsome, beautiful man!

Also I'm not sure if you're using face artwork as reference only for the cape or also for the face. But I wanted to mention that regarding the face in the artwork, I really like the presence that that nose gives him. In the artwork face, the nose tip is pointed downward, and the nostrils are broader, and the bridge itself is a bit broader. In the model, the nose tip looks to be angled upward a little, the nostrils are more pinched and the bridge is narrower. The nose in the artwork gives that face a commanding, proud presence, whereas the model's nose is more generically classically proportioned, and while it's definitely a handsome face, the nose gives it a younger, less authoritative appearance. Generally speaking, a larger, broader nose - particularly on men - is perceived as more authoritative looking. I'm not sure which type of look you're going for, so just wanted to mention it.


in terms of armour, i was going to use this as a basic reference with regards to shape, but the detailing would be more ornate and "pretty".
Really nice design on the style, and the colors and appearance of the different fabrics! Love the vambraces, and those jewels across the bottom of the chest piece. One component I'm not so keen on, is the sash across the hips and the bow and the sash ends hanging down in front. To me this piece is distracting and it detracts from the elegant lines of the armour set overall.


the real challenge is going to be the hair. computer game rendering engines hate hair, and long hair is almost impossible. but we're going to try some things that haven't been done yet just to see if they work. that stage comes later though, still in the sculpting stage right now.
Totally agree! The hair in many games usually looks like a stiff cap (short hair) or a solid block with lines running through it (long hair). I think some games make you wear a hat or helmet just as an excuse for them to cover the character's hair :-). Have you taken a look at Guild Wars 2? That's the nicest hair I've run across so far, and they have a lot of long styles.

with the cloak being styled like this (i love the way it wraps over his shoulders and behind his back)
Awesome! That is *such* a great cape style - and you know, it's very practical, to wrap it that way :)! I could never understand the typical cape design, because there's all this fabric weight suspended entirely by a clasp around the neck, it makes no sense. This though, is a great cape style, and also it enables you to show the detailing of the shoulder armour!



I hope these are helpful suggestions :-). And thanks so much for sharing your work in progress - it's so interesting to see the various ideas being considered and the evolution of the designs!


http://i.cubeupload.com/4tiOI6.jpg
http://i.cubeupload.com/WGsPXi.jpg
http://i.cubeupload.com/48BfQu.jpg


 
 

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