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Ancient Dragon with Black Mage Girl
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Ancient Dragon with Black Mage Girl

Yifan Wang
by YifanWang on 26 May 2022

I recently completed a digital sculpting project of my original concept, a scene where a black mage girl encounters an ancient dragon on her magical journey. I did it in GNOMON's classes, Digital Sculpting & Lighting and Rendering 1. Appreciate my instructors, Wren Cromwell and Leonardo Ledesma!

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It is the first time I've been sculpting an enormous creature with such a complex and unique artistic expression, a Chinese dragon that appears to be from ancient times. I have a soft spot for giant, powerful fantasy creatures, especially when placed alongside tiny creatures. The exaggerated feeling created by the massive difference in size intensifies the power of the epic duel.

I wanted to challenge myself to create an old dragon that looked in good spirits. It has curly tousled hair and a flowing beard. The mouth full of sharp teeth is half-open, and the whole facial expression is majestic and menacing. I am delighted to design its extended corners in a way that branches and rocks are mixed. The body twisting and the overall stance started with polylines pipes, and they ended up in what I found to be more satisfying. For the back and tail of the dragon, I used a similar sculpting technique to the head. Honestly, I enjoy the shape that looks like rocks or cliffs. Next, I learn how to make brushes for scales and divide them organically on the body. During the Zbrush process, the dragon carving steps in Keita Okada's Artworks & Making Book gave me excellent guidance and help. I learned a lot from it.

I am also very fond of this sculpted little girl. Her original inspiration came from Lalafell, a gnome-like race from the seas south of Eorzea in Final Fantasy XIV. I designed the robe and staff with unique shapes and patterns. I hope they make girls seem to have a lot of magic and experience, fearless to face such a colossal dragon.

Wren Cromwell taught my Digital Sculpting class. Thanks so much to his lectures and guidance; I had an intense interest in Zbrush sculpting and all these new skills! And then, I did this scene in Lighting and Rendering 1 class, taught by Leonardo Ledesma. Again, I am very grateful for his detailed instructions and modification suggestions; it was very inspiring for my scenes and lighting.

I did the final texturing, lighting, and rendering in Cinema4D by Octane. I try to mix the texture of the hand-carved stone with the golden bronze in a way that strengthens the edges and details.

This project was awarded Best of Term by GNOMON, a category as Digital Sculpting in the 2022 Winter Term. I am intensely grateful for the opportunity to perfect it!


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