Shadow of the Dragon by LyleAryn ()
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I decided to play around with some older assets. The goal was to create something cool, but also create something I can, perhaps, use for my TTRPG. The setting I'm building is fantasy/steampunk/gothic/future retro. (Yeah, i know. That's quite a mix! The goal is to suit the taste of a wide variety of players. So far, the players I've got have been enjoying it.)
So, setting the filter option to "Oldest to newest" I dove it.
I hit upon doing something with Millennium Dragon. At first, I worked to punch it's shadow on the ground clearly. Then I was going to have a character standing in that shadow. i still got cameras set up for this, lol. What I realized is that I'd need to do three renders to do that properly. I'd do one closeup, then a mid showing the shadow, and then a third from above the dragon. It was a cool idea. Maybe I'll try it later, IDK.
I had the fog prop from iray storm loaded to help hide the low-res ground texture. I went to adjust the figure to make sure they were pointing the sword AT the dragon, and looking in the right direction, when I came upon this POV. And I like it. A lot. Enough to pivot from the initial plans.
And when I hit the iray preview, and saw how the fog prop was dispersing the light... Well. I had to go with this new plan. Problem was, you could see the tiles that make up the fog prop. Those tiles make it render faster than other fog options I've used, but it is never meant to put a strong light on it and point the camera UP. So... I created a cube.
Once I got it to the proper level of fogginess, I realized that it was shifting the entire dragon down in the image. The fog was hiding the beast's true location. So, I ended up rotating the cube until it was aligned.
Which created a reflection in a different face of the cube.. HOWEVER, this reflection is actually on top of a building that's there. I used one of the city blocks from the freebie Dystopia set. It has be reasonably assumed that the dragon is reflecting in the glass front of the building you can just barely see. At least, I hope it can. Or else you might assume there is more than one dragon, and that's fine too.
Model is "Young Teen Julie" for Genesis. I hadn't used her before, and thought she'd make a good fae. I could have put anyone in the suit, put the helmet on, and called it good, but I went with leaving the helmet off so you can see her expression, and because I wanted her to be an elf. Sure, in the final, the first point is moot, but the second is still valid!
Her outfit is made up of Supersuit for Genesis and Midnight Rocketeer for Victoria 4. Her sword is from an "Ancient Weapons" set for V4. Everything converted to iray, and I also added metal flake to the sword since it's all one texture map and I couldn't just use shaders. I think it turned out nice. I also went in as added emmsives to the suit and rocket pack, kinda late-stage, and hit render.
This is 17 hours of rendering, with the percentage reading zero. Creating a giant, dense, cube of fog is hard on the rendering! However, it hit a level I was happy with. She's rendered in beautifully, and we really don't want the dragon to be any clearer than it is. So, I hit stop, did some post work to take care of some minor hair clipping, and now I'm uploading.
There are three spotlights. A super-bright one behind the dragon, one pointed at Julie's face, and one from behind her so the camera could see her. Again, my emissives were late stage. The second spotlight was creating a nice rim-light effect, so I might have tried turning off the third one. I don't know. I like this, I think it works well, and I don't really intend on re-running it to see if it would look better with that slight adjustment.
I hope you enjoy. I'll be off and on today, and will try to leave comments as I go.
Image Comments (17)
RodS () Online Now! 9:31PM | Wed, 02 December 2020
Lots of work went into this, clearly - from both you and your system. Foggy ambients are a killer indeed... Great job on this!
daggerwilldo () Online Now! 9:53PM | Wed, 02 December 2020
Quite creative I agree about the Dragon. This adds a lot of Drama. I can hear the beating of the fearsome creatures wings andI can make out the form of its massive frame through the fog. Any second now, it will burst out of the dense fog.....Run ...Everyone run and seek cover.