Feb 18, 2010

Dragon Method

Hello, I haven't modelled much lately so I thought I would share a brief rundown of the process. Bottom picture is the model in progress - called the 'mesh'. I used a great free program named anim8or for this, but will tweak it later in Carrara if I decide to use him for closeups etc.

The second image is a render of the transmap - or alpha map. A 'render' is like taking a photograph of the mesh. You use the alphamap in photoshop as a mask.

The next picture has a bit of dragon texture applied. You use the alpha mask to make sure your texture stays only on the dragon while working in photoshop. The texture has been given a 'pinlight' or 'overlay' parameter for it's layer. Then various parts erased to reveal the highlights on the model.

The final is after a bit of dirtying up, a few clouds added, some more texture and a few flocks of birds to put it in situ. Plus a bit of sparkle. Where would we be without sparkle I ask you. Plus a ubiquitous moon.

As always click for big and thanks for looking!


PS Anim8or is free here if you would like to try your hand.

There's more info for traditional artists moving to 3d here 


  1. Very cool to see your process. Kept wondering how you did it!!
    Stunning pics and this final one is no exception. Love it!

  2. Interesting to see your process Andrew. My son is learning Maya. He wants to design video games and/or work on movies. He was talking about the mesh thing so I guess maybe it is a similar program. I happen to love dragons.

  3. Oooo, I love dragons - and sparkle of course! Thanks for sharing Andrew, I can't believe how many digital programs you've mastered, terrific!

  4. Hee hee, Andrew I gave you a blog award, check it out!


  5. Hi Kev, Karen and Susan,

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    I forgot to say that normally you would apply the texture to the 3d mesh before rendering, but in this case I was lazy and did it after in post by using the 'fill with pattern' tool in photoshop elements after making a pattern of the dragon skin.

    If you get a chance try the smart objects function. It means that you can size and resize a layer without losing quality because photoshop 'vectorises' the layer.

    Ps Susan, thanks for the blog award!

  6. Ooh I love this. I love the mesh. I would just draw it and that's it for me!

  7. Fascinating to see the process of creation here, quite different from what I do. Thanks for sharing it, and thanks for your comments on my blog--I do appreciate them!

  8. wow thats so cool...i love that final image! the texture(s) is so perfect for the scene.

  9. This looks like rocket-science to me! I´m impressed. Thanks for sharing the process, I had just assumed you used magic :-)
    The dragon is great, and you are absolutely right. Where WOULD we be without a touch of sparkle!!
    Have a nice day, Andrew!

  10. Very cool! Thanks for showing how it's done! (I was surprised to find out I wasn't a follower of yours. Hmmph... I must have linked to you from other places.) Ooooo, I also LOVED the Humpty Dumpty piece, he's so handsome!

  11. Hay! Thanks for all the kind comments!!! I appreciate it very much,

    I really should sit down and outline the process a bit more, but that would be silly, as part of the beauty of all the great work I see on everyone's blogs is the diversification.

    Amazing stuff out there, isn't there? I just love to absorb it all, I feel like Chauncey Gardiner in "Being There".


    Andrew :)


Hya! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate your time and thoughts.