Dragon Scene (Getting Pic Heavy)



Afternoon all,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything - Other than the odd moan / Help thread / Or in the Off-Topic section, so I figured I’d actually post something for some critique as I’m now back up and running with blender after over a year off.

So, I had a look about, and found the “Creating a Stylized Dragon” 10 Part series on BlenderCookie, and thought I’d give it a go. So, without further ado, here is the result of the first part.

As always, points / criticisms are always welcome. Rendered quickly in cycles, without much attention to lighting thus far.
On rendering, I did notice the “pinch” underneath the head / neck. I’ll fix that prior to moving onto the second part.

This is my first real attempt at sculpting, and anything organic, and I can’t seem to get the “cow” look out him, so any pointers would be grateful!
the nostrils never really looked right to me - but it IS a fictional creature, so I suppose there is no right or wrong.

The Pinch under the neck I only noticed on rendering, so that will be fixed. The mouth is…well…horrendous. The wire frames would show just how bad it actually is around there! Any ideas on how to straighten it all out easily?

“the cow look out of him,” that’s funny! It’s frustrating when you aim for one thing and can’t stop making another, especially when a dragon becomes a cow. I think I’ve got it for you though…

I know the dragon, unlike our friendly cows, are evolved predators, but shift the eyes to the side of the heads a la horses, lizards, sea horse reference images OR less so like a hawk or eagle. That will move things from cartoon territory into more Hollywood -ish territory if you want to. And it’s that nose! That’s a big, soft cow’s nose if I ever saw one. If the nostrils weren’t front-facing, there would be less cow DNA in the model. Go big, go small, give them ridges and points like iguanas, but get them diagonal on the Z. My other vote would be to drop or shrink the ears: Think serpent, maybe some holes or tiny flaps, but these are diverting attention from more dragony features.

I think dragons of all kinds rock, so I hope you read this help as friendly because even as it is, it’s still pretty dragon-like.

Thanks for the pointers, all taken on board! I’ve pushed the nose edges back, and shrunk the nostrils slightly. Reduced the ears, messed with the horns and generally moved a few bits about. I don’t really want a LOTR / Hobbit type dragon, one that is photo-realistic, I did want a semi-cartoony type dragon - a bit friendly, but still maintaining the dragon-styling to it.

I’m not really sure about changing the eyes, it took me a while to get them just the way I wanted them :slight_smile: Well, on to the next section I suppose!

As you can see, marginal changes, to get away from the cow-dragon (hereby called cagon in all future references!)

It’s probably the large flat nose that is giving it that ‘cow’ look.

For a more reptilian look, you might want to curve the nose back a little and recess/elongate the nostrils slightly.

The ears might also be contributing, perhaps curve them back a little as well.

Yeah, the nose nostrils have been pinned back a tiny bit, I didn’t want to move them back anymore, as it kind of lost the look - although that might solve the problem. The quick 50% render I did doesn’t really show the smaller ears and pinned back nostrils. I’ll do some more work tomorrow (might have another render of him with his nostrils pinned back a lot, see what everyone thinks), and come back.

Thanks for the points guys - it’s all very useful!

Finally images for tonight - It’s starting to take on a definite antelope look…looks liek he’s going to be called a coganlope by the time he’s finished!

These have the shrunken ears, Pinned back nostrils, and the error under the neck fixed, plus some little sculpting changes (not really noticeable!)


“Invalid attachment specified”

It looks like you might’ve rushed the upload process and accidentally produced erroneous links, you might want to edit your post and fix that.

the problem is not your modeling skills, these are quite good as you show us, your problem is you do not have a clear vision what it should become! cow? dragon? something else? antelope?.. decide! you can mix beasts, like snout of cow, eyes of snake etc, but choose refernce pics for each, and then try copy it! you can do it, your modeling skill show that… when you decide and go for it, it will become a strong piece, even if mistakes are in, but you need be clear in " your statement"

well, i’d suggest removing the ears completely. most reptiles have no external ears.
as for the snout, u really should look at a croc. it’s the closest living relative of the dinosaurs…and dragon myths came from dinosaur fossils
also, the skull-neck junction and the horns look mammalian. sort of like nigerian goats’ :slight_smile:
then for the nostrils, depending on the kind of snout shape u want, u could use a t-rex for reference or just stick with the croc (slender snout = croc, broad snout = t-rex)

when u’ve got a reasonably dragonish creature, u can then add the cartoonish looks u want. for example huge eyes, over-sized teeth and whatever.
but most importantly, know what u want to sculpt before u start. make sketches on paper maybe
good luck :slight_smile:

Most of the animation and illustration that features Dragons here in the US (and I think Europe as well) have them sporting at least some form of external ears.

The most common type of ears used are long pointy ears and fan-shaped ears (that are made of multiple segments connected by membranes).

You can look up Dragon drawings on Google, all of them might have some significant differences, but nearly all of them have at least something representing ears.

Doris is right in that shots in the dark will keep changing into other things. A quick sketch to solidify a feel and a direction would be a boost for your work on the model. You mentioned that you’re in love with the eyes that took a long time to tweak - be prepared to pass them up for a more ideal finished image.

I know it’s tough! Your modeling is solid enough too; block in the big parts, locations and get a feel for flow and muscles. Then go in and attack details. I didn’t think ears would be a hang-up here, I still think as I last saw it they detract but definitely go forward your way and figure out what went wrong with those latest image uploads. I’d like to see the progress.

Sorry for the poor attachments - here was the progress from last night.

I’m also probably going to spend a few hours tonight trying each thing you have all mentioned. Moving the eyes onto the side of the head, nostrils onto the side, removing ears etc, and seeing what works, so hopefully tonight / tomorrow there might be a dragon-ish looking specimen!

I don’t like this view angle, I need to sort out whatever went wrong with just behind his nostrils.

I agree with what Doris said too about the antelope horns, when I modelled them, I immediately thought antelope, so I will probably smooth them out again.

@acedragon, i let my science get ahead of my art :slight_smile:
yeah u r right about that, but the ears could also be contributing to the cow look. having horns and ears (from a biological standpoint) screams: “I’m a herbivore! i love grass!” :smiley:

Right, well I’ve spent a few hours today adjusting pretty much everything :lol:

1)Eyes have been moved onto the side of the head, and forehead has been reshaped.
2)Nostrils have been moved, nose reshaped, to funnel air into nostrils.
3)Reshaping of Horns
4)Creation of new horns
5)Reshaping of the mouth
6)Reshaping of the Inner Mouth
7)Removal of the outer ear, and creation of a ridge infront of the ear.

Now…He looks like this (excuse the Render, it’s just a quick one!)

Well, before I get you guys to tell me what you think. I hate the new nose and the lack of ears. I’m pretty certain I’m going to go back to the old ears / snout, but I’m definitely going to change the eyes (Thanks for that comment!). I googled a few images (well, more than a few) and it really does differ from artist to artist - some have “fan” type ears, some have no ears, some just have a “recess”. It’s still early days, so I’ll probably change the eyes tomorrow, and do some other little bits, before heading on (forgive the pun) onto the main body over the next few days.

Of course, as always, comments and crits are more than welcome!

congratulations, it’s no longer a cagon :slight_smile:
about the ears…well, dragons are mythical after all. dont let science limit your artistic freedom.
just out of curiosity, what’s that between the horns? are they horns too?

Yes, I created two smaller horns to to see what it was like (A lot of the pictures I found online, Dragons tend to have a few extra horns all over their heads / snouts etc, so I thought I’d give it a go). I’m still undecided whether or not to keep them, they only take a few minutes to create, so I might do this all over his body when I’m finishing.

I will probably create new “fan” type ears, slightly lower than before, so they come from the middle of the head (with the ear canal at the top) and fan out towards the bottom (think Dragon Wings type thing)

So, thoughts on the nose? I HATE the nostril ridges, and the front of the snout - I’m thinking about sharpening up the lower mouth, creating a ridge along the nose and I really need to sort out those nostrils. I mean, at the moment it all seems “soft”, whereas a dragon would be covered in scales and tough as boots. If I find time tonight, I’ll spend a few hours on those.

What are your feelings on the eyes?

yes, those horns if well placed could add significantly to the overall scariness of the dragon.
as for the snout, the lower jaw currently doesnt match the upper one. i agree, if u sharpened it up a little, it’ll look better
the problem with the nostrils is perhaps their huge size. do a google search for dinosaur pics and decide on the type u want. However, even if u left them as they are, i believe the texturing will get rid of the “softness”

as for the eyes, my only complaint is that there are no eyelids :smiley: it just looks like brow ridges. i’m not sure if i explained that right…
try to imagine him blinking and u’ll see what i’m saying.

Right…where were we?

I’ve spent tonight generally trying to get the head to a reasonable standard. It’s not perfect, not by a long shot - but the more I stare at it, the more faults I see, so i figured it’s probably time to move along onto the body now, and I can always come back prior to texturing to fix anything which is still bugging me.

Mouth has been altered (not fixed, it can’t seem to get it to look right). Nostrils have been shrunk, ears have been created (the “wing” material in the middle is purely temporary, once I find a nice way to make wing material, these will be changed, and the bone structure reinforced). The eyelids have been created (thanks Khalibloo!), and some other bits have been changed. Well, head 85% complete, so I figure it’s time to move onto the body now!

This is the current head :

If anyone has any tips about straightening out the mouth, I’m all ears!

this is incorrect. reptiles do not have ears but rather a small hole that can be found on either side of the head… dragons in both european and american cultures are identified with a larger body and wings, not ears. though ultimately it comes down to artistic license, as far as cultures go, dragons in european and american culture dont have ears, but rather "long pointy: horns, some times hundreds depending on the artist, and even other smaller wings that act as a main that fall off the base of the scalp and sweep around the jaw.

so yes, as far as artistic license goes no one can say you are wrong for having ears… but if you want to bring culture into this than ears are incorrect.

The “ears” are behind the new wing “ear” bits - at the moment they are just holes, as seen from my renders on 24th. You can’t see them on the new renders though - I hadn’t decided what to do with them. I’m calling the new “head wings” ears just for ease of description really!

Glad to see my thread has turned into “biology of Dragons 101” :smiley: