Here be Dragons - a space explorer

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AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
Hi Polycount

I really need to do a better job of engaging with this forum, so with that in mind, I'm going to do a WIP thread for my current project.

Here be Dragons is inspired by the euphoric sense of wonder from exploring, and discovering something new and alien, out in the vastness of space. Basically the idea of games like No Man's Sky and Elite: Dangerous, rather than how they actually play out.

I'm going for realism (anatomically at least, not too concerned if NASA says the suit isn't viable), rendered in marmoset with her floating in space, surrounded by nebulas, that may or may not look like dragons.

Started with the above sketch I did ages ago, fleshed it out a bit more. 


I am a really terrible concept artist; this took me forever. Next step colour studies!


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  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Some colour experiments, all super bright and punchy. Don't know how I feel about any of these yet. I'm going start zbrush work, where I'm more comfortable.
  • CybranM
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    CybranM polycounter lvl 4
    First image looks like a non-buff zarya :smile:

    I like the upper middle concept from the grayscale image but the pants feel too much like scuba-gear imho.
    I like the idea of the popped collar (or whatever you call it) on the jacket, its juxtaposition with the utilitarian nature of most space suits. It does make it feel more like a wealthy tourist than a rugged explorer though.
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Thanks @CybranM . Yeah, I'm looking more at fashion, than practical space suits. Might just imply that all the life support tech is inside the helmet, but not sure yet, don't want it to look Batman open face mask ridiculous. 

    Anatomy modelling blocked in:
    I'm using this photo set from croquis cafe for reference: http://www.onairvideo.com/cc-photo-archive_jazmine3.html
    Next up, the head.
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Slooow week, was hoping to get a little more done. Here is the face, crits definitely welcome, the more anatomy issues I can fix now the better. Her jaw line looks too long/skull out of balance... 
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Starting the space suit by drawing out the design as polypaint, to help as a guide when I get into Marvellous Designer.

    I'm pretty new to MD, so this is taking some time whilst I figure out a workflow. After messing around trying to make the panels separate, started again with a simple as possible one-piece, which I can later cut. I want the lined panels to be quilted, and the smooth panels to be a sort of thick neoprene, that stands a little higher. Aiming for form fitting, but with some thickness to the material. 
    So far I have this stylish 80s exercise VHS costume. Yay!

  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Many hours of Marvelous designer, and here I am. Not entirely sure MD is the right call for something form fitting like this, zbrush would have been much quicker, and perhaps look just as good. But it certainly was a learning experience. Not happy with the back of the knees, but I can work on that when I project this onto clean topology.
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Pretty much there with the sculpt work, time for low topology, UVs, then get some materials on her. 
  • TeriyakiStyle
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    TeriyakiStyle insane polycounter
    I would gather some reference for the face as a step 1.  And yeah marvelous imo should be considered a starting point for sculpting certain forms - hitting the costume up with another standard brush pass would only help.
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3

    Having messed around a couple of times before with Substance Painter, this is the first time I feel like I've actually made some headway with it.

    Still lots to do, with better skin and hair being top priority, fixing some normal maps problems, and subtle application of grunge to make her suit look less plastic.
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3

    So this is a good indicator of the feel I'm going for in the final render, but she's just not at the quality I'm shooting for. To do:
    -Iterate on some details, buckles, hard surface details on the helmet, etc
    -Bump up the topology to get rid of facets, and to help with the dodgy facial expression.
    -Bash out some iterations for the suits design print.
    -Work on making the face more realistic (@TeriyakiStyle I wasn't seeing what you meant before about the face, but yeah, I needed more reference)


    Spent a bunch of time refining the face anatomy, and adding pores and wrinkles. Not sure about the eyes, but struggling to see what needs adjusting at this point, so open to suggestions.
  • AlexJudeScott
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    AlexJudeScott polycounter lvl 3
    Done for now, I can't seem to finish a project with the ending being defined by when I burn out on it :/.

    Head UV layout has a whole bunch of unused space, how bad does that look in a portfolio?
    Is 18.5k triangles too much (she was 13k, but subdivided the head to hold a facial expression)?
    Any other crits welcome, but I'm pretty burnt out on this one, so might be a while before I fix anything.
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