Hello everybody! My name is Vlad Konstantinov. I am a freelance artist from Russia and my main specialization is 3D characters. My portfolio you can find here: http://swordlord.cgsociety.org/gallery/
I'd like to tell you about the making of my picture "Little Dragon". In this article I'll touch upon all the stages of the working process, from modeling to post-production. I hope that the information which I'm going to share will be useful for you.
First of all I must mention that the original design of the dragon belongs to the great artist P.J. Lynch: http://www.pjlynchgallery.com/
Below you can see the initial images which I used as references during the creation of my model (Fig.01).
In the end I was able to get nice cartoon render. But if you want to know about the mysteries of shading and rendering, I will disappoint you because the final image is the result of editing and rendering in Photoshop, which will be described later in this article later.
I used the second image of the dragon walking along the path for the beginning of the modeling. It was very difficult to use such a small resolution image to model over and that's why I drew the rough contour sketch in Fig.02.
You can scare naughty children with such sketch, and I hope that my potential clients will never see it! But actually I didn't need a more detailed draft - I only marked the basic shapes and proportions for myself. Besides, as you can see in the sketch, I put the dragon in a rest pose to lighten the modeling process.
I used 3ds Max and the ordinary polygonal technique to make the model. Some artists like to create their models inside ZBrush or Mudbox and to make the retopology in future, but I almost always model my characters because the clean topology gives me good control when I'm sculpting. Moreover I try to allow for the possibilities of further animation in such a polygonal wireframe. In Fig.03 you can see the finished dragon's head and the way that I used the contour sketch.
During the work I did not follow my contour sketch too strongly. I tried out different variants and changed the proportions (Fig.04).
The finished model can be seen in Fig.05. After this point I could start to create the UV and details.