Dino Dragon WIP - Critiques Welcome!

Prologue: Let see if my first post breaks or not.

Hello there! I have been a hobbyist/freelance 3D artist for almost 14 years but have not worked in the industry to any extent for the last 5 and languished for a variety of reasons for the last 3 or so. I have not worked on, let alone completed a project during this time-frame and have finally managed to (figuratively) put pen to paper to make another push.

I have chosen the Blender community for my haunt as it seems to be one of the most active AND welcoming communities out there. Especially for those building their skills as websites like 3Dtotal and Cgsociety seem to be almost ghost towns compared to just a couple of years ago. What happened?!

Here we have a work in progress of my newest creation, behold:

I am only vaguely aware of what I am doing as I have only ever been a hardsurface modeler but having started out trying to make comics and extensively studying the anatomy of both humans and animals I applied that knowledge along with anatomy references and figurines to get this model. Sculpted and rendered in Zbrush, I intend to export it to Blender when finished to retopologise it with Retopoflow then send it back to Zbrush for detailing, Substance Painter for texturing, and Maya for rigging and animation, and rendering in Redshift. But here I am getting ahead of myself.

Right now I am pretty pleased with the anatomy but I am welcoming people to poke and prod it though.

I still need to finish the head which I feel is the main sticking point and where the most work left to do is. I want a cartoony, semi-realistic character with much softer and rounder features. Having rendered it out a few things stand out to me:

  1. The hard edges of his brow that runs into his cheekbone just does not feel right. I will have to smooth and soften it out.

  2. How far said facial feature juts out works antithetical to my cartoony goals and throws off the whole balance of the face.

  3. The front corners of the mouth are not sharp enough and appear too round which clashes with the sharper features. They will have to be sharpened while the entire shape of the mouth will have to be redone. Problem is that I do not understand the underlying skeleton of my characters face and how it should flow, let alone be posed open.

  4. I should probably increase the size of the head overall to make it slightly more cartoony as it clashes with his other proportions.

  5. Forearm anatomy is a bit of a mess because of the shape making landmark creation a buggle-strus.

So yeah, the head is the primary target of my ire and I hope to get my hands on a scanner to upload my initial sketch of him to give you an idea of the direction I am going with his face. Any suggestions in the meantime are welcome and I will continue to push and pull his mug, with or without his consent.

P.S. Is the overlapping talons going to be that big of an issue down the line as I fully intend to keep them separate objects during the retopo and rigging process?

P.P.S. Should I even bother touching the inside of the mouth/modeling teeth before I retopologise?

P.P.P.S. I can only post one image, how will I show the other angles? Dang!

Have at’er!


It looks like a nice start. I don’t have much of an opinion regarding the head shape, but perhaps just try a few things and see how it looks.

As for the image limitation, that is because you’re a fairly new member. Look around and make some posts, this will cause your trust level to rise and thereby remove the limit.

Gotcha, thanks for the heads up.

Quickly though, here is the profile shot:

It looks good, it looks like it’s wearing a helmet, if you wanted to, you could make some armor, and stuff like that, you need to smooth the edges that are too sharp, on the brow, and the cheek . .

Designing monsters is tough, it helps to have a story, or a setting where they fit in, so you know the purpose . . When you know the environment, maybe rocky caves, or perhaps a far - away jungle, picking colors, deciding what features and so becomes easier, as you’ll know what it needs to survive, and be succesful . . It’s quite unusual, most dinosaurs have small fore-limbs, those without tend to walk on all four . . You could add spikes on the back . . It’s really nice, it could be in a game, like an RPG - project - -

Thanks for the complement and critique/tips.

I do sort of have a story and setting in mind for a series of animated shorts but have not put anything to paper until now.


It is heavily inspired by 90s cartoons and videogames with an environment and character aesthetic inspired by Digimon, Sonic, Slave0, Syndicate and modern Zelda games. Basically an Island paradise a couple hours off the coast of an oppressively dystopian metropolis. Mostly unexplored but somewhat benign tropical wilderness and ruins bring in a massive tourism industry from the city and the rest of the world that pays for the island’s defenses and brings in a cast of characters and their baggage with them.

It sounds darker than it really is but a lot of the more sinister goings on will only be alluded to with the omnipresent knowledge that not everything is sunshine and daisies tainting a more upbeat story-line. Since I am one person working on this I would be lucky to get a minute of animation/episode a month once I get all of the assets made so the city may never be shown. Then again, if I were to add automation and limited motion/performance capture then I might become efficient enough to make the attempt.

This character in particular will have welding goggles, an open vest, GPS anklet, and a utility belt/gun holster. He will be part of a small cast of characters in short animations and will be a wannabe mad scientist when he is not working his day job for the public utilities or doing court-ordered community service for public mischief. I am going to attempt to convey all of this in his character design.

Note: He is no longer allowed to carry a firearm for… reasons, lots of them, too many to list… just don’t, DoNotEvenLetHimLookAtOne!

I did soften up his features in the latest iteration and will do so even more when retopologising him in Retopoflow. I expect to lose a lot of musculature definition as it was always sort of my intent to keep him fairly lean for simplicity sake but got carried away, far away after inspiration hit and I was not going to say no to something I had not felt in years post depression.

It was a pretty minor update including making his head 5% bigger, increasing the size of his eyes by about 35-50%, reshaping his mouth slightly to sharpen the corners and softening the gaunt look of his face caused by the depression between his jaw and eye ridge to make him look more like a teenager. I am debating whether or not to quickly smash out a render in Blender to show but then again, the more critiques the better, even though I am pretty happy with the shape his head took.

You seem nice, I’m going to let you in on a secret, that will help you . .

I made a video about how to write stories, if you want, Just consider - -

When you have the right motivation, Doors open, Good luck, Stay safe - – $

If any-body else here wants to see, feel free, Enjoy it - -

It’s the secret, of the Great masters, Please use - -

Depression is very serious, I actually made a short buddhist talk, on how one can use meditation, to improve it, It’s free - -

It is very cheap, you need to buy a 5 dollar Rosary, and meditate on various things, any-way it’s a Spiritual cure, But can Help - -

I’ve struggled with depression, for 4 - 5 years, and I know it can be brutal - - There are buddhist techniques for over-coming it, it gets better with practice . . I don’t like to promote religion, as I don’t believe in organized religion, I’m more interested in the techniques, testing them, and Possibly using, I found it cured my depression, when I started, better than drugs, or in-experienced therapists - - Still, it’s important to talk to some-one professional, if you can, Depression can Suck, I Know - - Sorry, if this is not the right place, I think it’s important to help people, When it’s Possible, Best of Luck, Stay safe - -

Art can be a way to express how depression feels, and help your therapists understand what you feel, or Going through - - I’ve shown my doctors art I made in Blender, that expresses my pain and, Deep sorrow . . It lead to better conversations and, it also helped me - - Blender is great for art, as you can make any-thing, and it doesn’t have to be complex, then at least others can understand exactly what you feel, and you can show your friends or, even parents, so they know, They’ll Want to know, How you Feel - -

In fact, we were encouraged to do art, in the hospital, and a few patients have had public displays, Of their art, in local galleries, That helped others, Going through the same, So It’s fun And, help-ful - - And, when it’s over, you have some-thing you can look back on, and remember a difficult time in your life, and how you got through it, Through art - -

There’s one more thing, my depression was connected with PTSD as, I was involved in the Iraq war, I carried a lot of guilt, and this helped - - but, for ordinary depression or, so-called Organic depression that’s not the source, Of course - - but, these techniques might still be useful, as one can feel a Great sense of happiness, by practicing religion, I mean follow the tried-and-true methods, like Buddhist meditation, or for me, the Rosary, it helped me meditate better, I found - - I don’t Advocate Organized religion, In fact I think it’s dangerous, For some - - But, I have a fascination with Buddhist meditation, since I learnt it at martial arts practice, I practiced for about 1 year, but we also had to meditate, when I left I kept studying it, For fun - - that was 20 years ago, By now

Any-way, Making art can be really helpful, since it communicates feelings much more directly, and it can help ones therapist and, Family Better understand - -

Also, I have friends that are depressed and, I’m Very concerned about them, I Know how difficult it can be, I know - - $

Sorry I disappeared for so long. I am in the process of making a gift for an old friend for his birthday and I was not going to miss the deadline again.

As for your writeup for depression, thanks for the tips. I recently started doing some meditation myself as I also began to suffer from S.A.D. a couple of years ago which aggravate my depression during the darker months. For the most part using a SAD lamp, conservative tanning bed use, and a grueling exercise regime have all helped to keep my depression at bay. Medication always made it worse by deadening all feelings but the depression and anxiety themselves while hindering the things I was already doing to manage it in the first place! Speaking to a counselor as well as doing some spiritual stuff always helps as well.

As for my progress, I have not been idle!

How is my topology so far?

I know the forearms needs a TONNE of work, especially to even out the distribution but given my character’s weird anatomy I am curious as to how well this topology will deform.

Heh, it has been a while, has it not? Other commitments made it difficult to work on this project but I persevered and finished my retopologisation in Blender before sending it off to Maya for final tweaking and Unwrapping!

How is my geometry? I have heard conflicting statements on whether or not you want support loops for the various joints when using muscle sims so I decided to add them anyways despite the uncertainty. I also just realised that I forgot the support loops for the biceps. I also have some noticeably dense patches where I tried to adhock kill several edgeloops but do not know if I am a genius or a dummy.

Hint, it is the latter.

P.S. My images are uploading then disappearing. Hopefully they will post correctly otherwise I will have some work to do.

EDIT: Yup, broken. Let me see if I can fix this by uploading each image separately, editing my post each time.

EDIT: Fixed!