Dragon Sculpt Timelapse

The days since my last post have been quite busy in regard to Ara’s Tale.

A lot work revolved around Ara’s Song. This song has always been a central piece of the movie and ever since I wrote this part of the script I dreaded the time when finally the decision had to be made who should sing this song.

My original wish was to have a young female singer ( around 12 years) to match Ara in the movie. I soon recognized that this would remain just that, a wish.

As I had the sequence of Ara’s Song visually ready and edited, Phil could already start to compose the song and he created a wonderful quiet piece which just begs to be sung by a human voice.. He used a computer generated female voice, and while astonishingly good to have an idea for the song, it fell very short in comparison to a real human voice.

Luck stroke again and by sheer accident I discovered, that a coworker of mine has a daughter who sings in a choir as soprano singer. After some quick information exchange I got the agreement from Julia (that’s the singer’s name).

She is perfect, and … she is not yet 12 years old. What more can I say …

Quite some work was then involved to get Phil and Julia synchronized, but now it looks like this will be just perfect. ( there is still this little annoyance of actually recording the song … )

For this reason it took a bit longer to start work on the dragon, but finally I got there. And not only this, I also recorded the sculpting process of the head as a timelapse.

It is always astonishing how much work such side tasks actually consume. Doing the recording, finding the correct balance between length and speed and fiddling with video encoding. And one important aspect also needed its time, but I really wanted this to be in this video.

The whole sculpting process has a music score to it. The score is written by Phillipe Rey, the composer of Ara’s Tale. And while watching the timelapse you can enjoy Phil’s music and get a hint of what he is capable of and how his talent will have a huge impact on the final movie.

Here we go, dragon head sculpting sculpting worth ~ 4-5 hrs packed into 30 minutes. ( one small note: the title saying that level 2 with 1 mio vertices is now active is a bit too early )

 

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9 Responses to Dragon Sculpt Timelapse

  1. Greg Zaal says:

    Really great dragon! And the music really is epic. I can’t wait for the film to be done

    btw, I was watching the clock on the task bar and it was only 2 and a bit hours :P not 4-5. Though I’m guessing there was previous sculpting that you’re not showing us?

    • loramel says:

      :), now you are nitpicking. But I guess you should look again. I’ve checked it and I come to ~ 228 minutes, which admittedly is below 4 hrs but still …

      But anyway, the real amount of time is much more, as I did several tests and tries, especially with the breaking up of the full dragon mesh, how to best approach the transfer from the sculpting in 2.58 to the animation setup in 2.49 etc.

      I had to drop the idea to do the dragon shots in blender 2.58, because for one the camera animation does not import 100% accurate. And this will bit you very hard when doing the compositing. And the special rig setup for spline ik I am using does also not survive the transition breaking the dragon’s movements.

  2. Nathaniel de Bell says:

    The appearance of the dragon’s head is excellent; however in my humble opinion the shape of the tongue is visually distracting, and would serve little practical purpose on an animal of that scale. Continue with your fantastic work, and I hope to view further sculpting development of the dragon (albeit Body or Head).

    • loramel says:

      Thanks Nathaniel.

      Interesting point about the tongue. I will consider this.

      The next on display will most certainly be a timelapse of the texturing process.

      • Greg Zaal says:

        I look forward to the texturing one!

        • loramel says:

          I am already in the process of recording the painting sessions.

          I will have to see how much material I have to decide whether I make a big one or split it into the several parts representing the different layers (diffuse, specular, bump etc. ).

      • slinky says:

        Regarding the tongue, I think it depends on what its purpose is. If it is used in the same way as a snake, then it is used for its sense of smell. A snake uses its tongue to collect scent particles from the air and pass then to a sensor in the mouth. in this respect the form and size would be fine for the size of beast. Not a critisism of you comment, just an alternative view :)

  3. Milad Thaha says:

    Thanks some bloody brilliant sculpting there mate! Are you able to handle it easily? With that many polygons and all, its only the head D:

    • loramel says:

      Thanks Milad.

      I can handle polycounts up to 5 million quite easily, but starting from this it gets a bit sluggish. This seems to be an issue with NVidia based cards.

      I sculpt head and body separately and create detailed bump and displacement maps from the sculpt. This is mainly due to the fact that the rendering is done in 2.49 and the sculpting in 2.5x. And there is no other way to transfer the scultping information between those two versions.
      In 2.49 I use a highly subdivided mesh and then apply the displacement using a modifier, but only for the render.

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