Weird Luck cover

My current work in progress is a cover for a soon to be published novel.
I’m attempting it in 3D, which is a huge task for me, but I’m going for it. I’ll probably use it as the basis to paint over, in case I can’t quite pull off the look with Blender alone.

This is a Science Fiction / Fantasy book. I’m going for that classic “collage space” cover style where it’s not one scene in particular, but several character moments in space. I have several compositions in mind, so at this point I’m just working on the assets.

Here is a render of the wizard character. My first Cycles render. Just a clay style for now.
This guy was built in and out of Blender. He’s a high poly decimated sculpt Transposed without a rig.

Here is a first attempt to start combining assets. All collaged in 2D. Not sure how I’m going to pull off this “Collage space” in Blender. I think I might have to make different scenes and bring them together in the compositor. I’d like to be able to do a lot of that in Blender, to find the composition, but I’m not really sure how I’ll do it.

And here is the current state of the main character. He’ll probably be very small on the cover so he won’t be that detailed. Hair density is a current problem. Working on some eyes and shoes now.

FWIW, wanted to share. Any suggestions welcome.

Oh yeah, that is the Cole Harris Skull off Blendswap. Nice asset.

Some concept sketches:
trying to figure out how to approach it all. Group them as if they are standing together or overlay scenes? Still undecided.

ink and marker hack job

obnoxious colors hacked in on the iPad.

Hi, This looks very good! Check out my thread: Tintin - The S.Ecret Search Please comment with your thoughts, and visit for more! Well done though.

added some eyeballs and shoes.
these shoes suck so bad, they’re really just like socks with a texture, but they ought to work fine at the scale this will end up. They eyes aren’t great either. my first attempt. He looks rather stoned, which is appropriate for the character… but I didn’t exactly try to make him look stoned… oh well. happy accident I guess.

I came up with an alternate composition idea for this cover.
Here’s a quick sketch.
The character is caught in this astral web, the magic of which is bound to this skull. Something goes wrong and the gilded skull is shattered into two halves. White light pours out from the shattering head. The character is not literally in the skull, but, on some astral plane.

So I’ve started setting this up in Cycles with that awesome skull from blendswap. I think I’ve finally got the displacement happening right. I have no idea how to approach the beams of light shooting out. I’m guessing I’m going to have to paint this. If anyone could suggest a cycles-based approach, I’m all ears. This render is about 200 passes on a slow laptop. The interior of the skull gets brighter and brighter as it renders. At this stage it barely looks like there is a light source directly behind the human figure.

It’s funny how this works. I haven’t really compared the render to the concept art. I don’t love the jaw but it’s there in the story. Maybe I’ll get rid of it. I tried to model the cracks based on the bone fissues in the skull. In the sketch it’s pure guess.

BI render.
Logo is unfinished. Just wanted to see it in there. needs it’s own lighting scheme apart from the skull.

I don’t really like the hyper CGI look to the skull. Too metallic, though it’s a lot better looking now that it’s lit with HDR map.

My evil wizard is marginally present…He’s standing behind the camera as a reflection object. Completely unnoticeable, but it does add some highlights here and there on the skull.

now here’s a Cycles version:
3000 passes. Halo from a BI rendered spotlight. I did not duplicate the geometry. I set the spotlight into the same basic location as my Cycles Point light and set a render layer with Halo Only. I saved that out and then used that render in the compositor. Since I was only rendering the Halo, it didn’t seem to matter that I had a cycles Material on the skull.

I’m not sure what’s up though. I can’t seem to re-composite. I turned off some of the color adjustments that are from the Blender Internal composite nodes but it won’t update.

I like the Cycles version better I think, but the lighting still needs a lot of work.

interesting project, very original style love the modeling of the wizard character and the skinny guy. keep it up…

Hey, Thanks!

Getting closer.

I resculpted the Cole Harris skull a lot. Started by applying displacement into a high poly object which I then sculpted cranium bone fissures and additional texture, broke symmetry, narrowed the jaw. I also burnished the areas I thought would be most handled so they would be smoother looking. I warped the low poly to the high poly with shrinkwrap and then set up the displacement maps and textures that were generated from the sculpt and polypaint. Very customized Blend Swap. Should I put the thing back up there for everyone?

The cracked skull needs more work. I forgot to put the Solidify for cranium thickness. Only realized that when I was compositing. Compositing here is both with Nodes on the EXR multilayer, and with some photoshop for what I couldn’t do with nodes.

I did a lot of work trying to get the skull looking good in cycles, but dealing with both render engines was too much hassle so this is completely Blender Internal at this point.