Ace Dragon's museum of art (sketchbook)


(Ace Dragon) #1

After a long time, I finally have regained the courage to post some of my work on BA again.

Despite what might seem to be the case, I have actively been making more work for the past number of years and now have a total collection of more than 500 pieces.

So without further ado, I will show you some of what I have done myself over the years.

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(Xraygunner) #2

Load 'em up! I’d love to see more.


(Modron) #3

glad to see you are posting some artwork. been awhile since I have posted a scene myself…


(Ace Dragon) #4

Down the Well; - This was the result of an idea where I would do an image with a half-underwater effect like you see when you float a real camera in a swimming pool. The addition of Cycles volumetrics at the time also helped a great deal in the believability of the water, wanting it not to be real clean and clear, but not too murky either.


An Intriguing Room; - This was the result of me taking myself up on a challenge to make a well lit interior room in Cycles (in response to a thread arguing that it’s hard to get enough light in interior spaces within Cycles). It wasn’t only the materials and some light brightness enhancement that made it possible to do that, this was made in the midst of a quest for a better, more realistic tonemapping setting to get more light in without seeing major burnout. Also to note, this had the earliest iteration of my most advanced Cycles general purpose glossy material yet (available via my node collection linked in my sig.)

To note, I had to use a lightpath trick for the outer windows as otherwise you simply couldn’t get light in, personally, I prefer it to portals and architectural glass seen in Luxrender as you can keep refractions and have an outside that’s not blown out (noting that I wouldn’t necessarily mimic a real camera closely as I hate things being blown out). For good measure, I also threw in a bowling ball.


French Swirls; - Basically, someone asked me at a show that I was selling my work at if I had anything with french swirls, I’m not entirely how ‘french’ these are but I tried for making sure it was swirly :slight_smile:


As usual, more to come at later dates, there’s a ton of stuff I could show that has never been posted in the art forums.


(Ace Dragon) #5

Plaza Simplicity; - Went into this with the idea of making a simple image, and while I was at it decided to try for absolute perfection in the texturing. In this case, I went as far as to subtly distort the ground tiles texture to gives the impression that they had a real thickness as opposed to looking like well, a texture slapped onto faces with their normals facing up.


(In)perfection; - When using Cycles, I notice many times before that I render out an image for 2-3 days only to find there’s this niggling thing that I strongly believe I should change and thus I throw all that time out the window to make it. This can be seen as a reflection of that, in which, with the help of the rendered view, get an optical effect to magnify a small tear in what is otherwise a flawless picture.



Simply Orange;
- Simply a nice simple still life picture with the subject scattered about here and there, this is also the type where I try to take care with the visual weights to not have too much contrast between positive and negative spaces and even go as to make sure there’s a certain randomness between the visual angles drawn between the oranges (so as to not give the impression of simple grid placement and to have their weight contribution evenly distributed).



(swmo) #6

Hey, good to see you posting stuff. I know what it’s like - sometimes I feel like posting things, and sometimes not. It can take courage. I think it’s one of the best forum for sharing stuff though. Looking forward to seeing more - what you have posted so far is quite original (in a good way).


(SynaGl0w) #7

Excellent! Nice to see you got a sketchbook going!


(Xraygunner) #8

Good stuff!.. You mention “a show”. Would this be a “Final Friday” show?


(Ace Dragon) #9

Thank you all.

Water Maze; Dockland Edition
- There are some cases where I start with an idea that seems simple enough, but then I keep getting ideas piling up until the image ends up a lot more detailed and rich than what I originally had in mind. You can notice here that my mind was running kind of wild with this, even though I made sure to determine when said detail is enough and more will just make things busy (don’t panic if there’s a perceived drop in quality, this image is a bit older than the ones up top).


Menger’s Conjecture - When I purchased my new 64 bit Ivy Bridge PC nearly two years ago, the very fact it had 16 gigs of RAM and 3x the power of my old one opened up new artistic and scene making possibilities. Not only was more complex lighting situations a lot more practical now, it also meant that I was now fully able to make real complex scenes without fear of running out of RAM. This scene for instance needed to have intense detail management before I continued work on it on my new machine, meaning that the chances of seeing regions lacking detail is greatly reduced.

I always wanted to try a Menger sponge, but I wanted something more than an ordinary model on a plane, so this is the result.




Duck Tape
- Do I really need to explain this (though I noticed us driving past the Duct Tape factory in Cleveland Ohio on a trip to Niagara Falls)?


(harleynut97) #10

Got a smile from your duck tape render…who hasn’t been saved at one time or another by duct tape…I mean duck tape :slight_smile:


(gradyp) #11

Very nice sketchbook, Ace Dragon. Like the profile pic, too :smiley:


(Ace Dragon) #12

Heroes of the Labyrinth; - My newest work, using one of the latest revisions of my Physical Gloss node group material as well as a new glass material that can do dispersion. The streaks you see in the image are derived from an animated volumetric sphere, using a particle system that created duplicates so as to use the Particle Info node to fade it out.

Now you might be wondering why motion blur wasn’t used, object motion blur in Cycles as of now is useless for long-exposure motion trails and deformation blur does not change the texture coordinates, but I managed to get it done.


Return of the Stone Staircase; - After more than 500 works, you might think I would run out of ideas, and indeed there have been two recent cases where I would remix an idea from the early days of me using Blender (taking into account my ability to create much higher quality images than back then), this is one of them.

I will also note, I actually did use a particle system here to create the specks of dust, took a while to render and was slow in the viewport, but gave a nice effect.


Here’s the old image which the one above is derived from if you want to know.



(Bunc) #13

I just came here after having been on your nodes group thread. Please post lots more of your renders! I like the quality of the light in them. Do you use your own node groups from that other thread for your works?


(Ace Dragon) #14

Behind Closed Ancient Doors; - Another remix of an old image, it also shows off a nice thing about the Dyntopo sculpting system since it makes it far easier to create intricate designs that would otherwise be tricky or time consuming to model. I actually had to render this in passes due to the small size of some important lamps and the number of samples needed to render this (due to how it is that the more lamps you have, the less convergence of that lamp’s result per-sample).


Behind Closed Doors; - The old image the one above is based off of, more like behind closed metallic crappy doors since this dates to before I discovered the anti-aliasing feature for BI.


This doesn’t really have a name, it’s just a Dragon design I’ve tweaked and enhanced over the years (which is now my desktop background). I don’t claim at all to be a creature design expert in terms of modeling and textures, but I haven’t actually spent a whole lot of time in that department (though the new paint enhancements really help as I can work on the model directly rather than trying to remember which part of the exported UVmap goes to which region).



(gradyp) #15

I like your dragon :smiley: And I like the sandy look of the stone in the behind the ancient doors scene.


(Ace Dragon) #16

Out of the Crystal Cave; - This was an image that vexed me in terms of rendering for at least half a year. Due to the very complex lighting situation and the materials involved, it would be expected that this would take hundreds of hours to render in Cycles. What saved this though is actually not in Master yet, and that is the patch by Lukas Stockner concerning metropolis sampling. When that gets in, then the results seen here will show that it stands to revolutionize Cycles rendering and that almost no situation will be too hard to get results from.

As of now, this has the most complex ever lighting situation of my collection of images, something which Cycles couldn’t readily do in a noiseless fashion if not for an upcoming patch.


Beyond the Whirligigs; - From sheer lighting complexity to the sheer amount of memory needed to render this image. In terms of RAM, this would be one of the most intensive images I’ve ever created. Credit for that can go into how I usually decide to model the background rather than stick an image behind the subject, something which allows me to say that it is all original with nothing derived from photography (an important aspect that I would try to keep for when I exhibit at craft shows).


Another view of my Dragon model, generally, this guy has been a testbed for the latest attempts at improving the settings for Cycles tonemapping as well as improving the node group I made for organic materials. He’s the same one that I had in a creature test thread in the test forums a while back, which looking back I would say that the quality difference is like night and day. It also used to be that I would try to pose this guy without any use of an actual animation rig, but since then I added once since I was tired of futzing with vertices and the rig method, once built, makes things far easier.



(gradyp) #17

That texture on the tongue looks very realistic compared to the rest of the image!


(norvman) #18

Wow… I’ve never seen your stuff before Ace Dragon Great work! keep it going!


(Ace Dragon) #19

Life of Tarts; - Whether or not this seems a bit too inspired from Monty Python sketches, I wanted to do something that had a bit of a joke to it, so in this case anyone who really wants to be a sourpuss can take some Tartwads and and their day will go south before you know it.

And I can say, it’s a really good thing that Blender already got its new Bullet solver by the time this image was made, it really helped in positioning the candies inside of the bottle.


Orchestra of the Candles; - could be seen as a larger-scale successor to an early image of mine that hailed from the days before Blender had such fancy features as SSS (real SSS used here compared with fake SSS for the original). Not quite as much of a remix here due to the different environment and layout, but what makes candles really work in Cycles is the fact that the flame itself can actually emit light as opposed to faking it with a point lamp in BI. I also would note that this also has a lot more lit candles as well.


Walled Assortments; - My newest image, I initially wanted to do something that would make use of the new intersection tool committed after 2.71, which I can say worked very well for the steps. This in general has a more surreal flavor than most of my other work, kind of weird as well, I actually was close to not having ideas to complete this one.

Also, because of the improved connectivity option for proportional editing with Bmesh, the slinky was easy to model compared to the pre Bmesh days (using the same technique as the duct tape roll seen earlier).



(Ryeath) #20

Great sketchbook Ace Dragon. Some real good imagination you have.