Lord Diarmat – Progress report 1

Lord Diarmat is a minor character from the Chronicles of Elantra fantasy book series, written by Michelle Sagara. He shares the same universe with the Eternal Dragon Emperor, Dariandaros, from my previous post.

elantra_char_diarmat2

Lord Diarmat is one of my absolute favourite characters, ever. He prises rules, respect, proper behaviour, diligence and dedication above all. He does not tolerate tardiness, laze, disrespect or favouritism. Such character types immediately grab my attention. Thus, despite appearing seldom in the books, Lord Diarmat has managed to create a fascination —bordering on obsession— in me, that has lasted for 5 years now… and it’s still going strong.

Over the years I have drawn him numerous times and I knew, one day, I will create a 3D character of him.

elantra_kaylindiarmat_morning
Artwork of Lord Diarmat and Kaylin Neya (main character of the series), in a non-canonical relationship.

I have now finally started work on this project.

Unlike previous characters I have created, I decided to go about this slightly differently.

Previously —as taught during my Uni modules— I modelled the characters fully dressed, but because I am a games artist, I removed all the hidden polygons, since they would be a waste and a burden for the game engine to load.

I have discovered though that this greatly limits the usability of the character for me, personally. I am unable to, for example, give Dariandaros new clothes without remodelling his body.

So for this project, I decided to go with a ‘clothes/armour swapping’ method that I’ve seen in the last years in RPG games, like Dragon Age.

Thus, despite knowing what attire will be modelled onto the character later, first I will fully finish Lord Diarmat absent any clothing.

As with all 3D projects, I sketched out his body and face to get a clearer idea of his physiology. Because Lord Diarmat is a dragon shape-shifted into a human, he is described as having a heavy, broad, muscular build, as most of his kind. Based on this, I sketched his body structure with square and rectangular shapes in mind.

elantra_watercolor_diarmat_body

His facial structure was heavily influenced by his character traits. Again, angular geometry was used in the design, to capture his stern, set-in-his-ways attitude.

elantra_watercolor_diarmat_head

He is the right hand of the Eternal Dragon Emperor, Dariandaros, but he is also a military man, so I went with a shorter hairstyle for him; something that would be easy to maintain, look ‘clean cut‘, but in the same time would not look too modern military.

Next I played around with some very basic rough sketches for possible attires he might wear later on.

elantra_diarmat_attire_concepts

When I design clothing like this, I tend to illustrate the character in a none generic pose, to see if I still feel that the clothing looks the way it should, and whether I still like it, especially in motion.

elantra_diarmat_attire_illustration

Because, as mentioned above, I first will work on Lord Diarmat absent any clothing, these sketches are not refined. As I progress with my sculpt, nearing the end phase, I will finalise the above illustration and turnaround sheet.

Sculpting in Zbrush, starts on a generic base mesh, that I push/pull with the Move brush into the general shape of Lord Diarmat’s body.

 

After which, to ensure correct anatomy, I add all the muscle groups visible unto the body, push/pulling with the Move brush, where necessary to keep the body structure accurate to my sketch.

 

Though sculpted, the face is not finished, needing more adjusting and far more detail and refinement. The hair is added to give me an idea of how it’s shape will look, but the hair will ultimately be created from planes at the end of the sculpt phase so the current version is just a place-holder.

diarmat_progress7

Having completed adding all visible muscle groups, my next step will be adding a second pass at his general shape, giving him skin, followed by detailing of the face and body with tertiary details.

Looking at the images now, I realize his arms are too high, so I will lower them before proceeding to the next phase.

I shall post an update on this project as soon as the sculpt is finished. 🙂

 

 

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