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Project Overview: Mistress of Dragons

By Daniele Scerra
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Date Added: 28th May 2013
Software used:
Photoshop, Maya, ZBrush

Moving into 3D, the first thing I did was add an image plane of the sketch in Maya, directly to the camera. Using a base 3D model (base mesh, feminine type) as a reference, and with a fast rigging setup, I posed the character while trying to recreate the same dynamic that had been in the Photoshop sketch. For certain zones, such as the shoulders and hips, I also used the Lattice tool to increase the curve effect of the body.

The entire project was made using a fast Maya sketch, followed by digital painting in Photoshop, so that I could see how to move on and how the lights could be managed, as well as the ensemble. Then I returned to Maya, adding the new sketch as an image plane, and remodeling and redefining it again. Then it was back to Photoshop again, and so on until I got what I wanted.

For the sternocleidomastoid muscle of the woman figure, I wanted to have a cylindrical form, applied directly to the model, to obtain a more interesting shape (Fig.02). When I had both the shape and pose I was looking for, I better defined the model, starting from Maya, creating the UVs and then exporting everything in ZBrush to add more details.


To draw the headgear, I created a series of shapes using Maya (mostly deformed spheres and general forms) which I combined with the draft. Then I exported the group of items in ZBrush and, using DynaMesh, I sculpted a second, more defined, volume, using brushes such as Clay and Swirl.

I made the metallic jewel section with Maya and then positioned the leaves using a MEL script, assembling the whole headgear (Fig.03).


The pose of the dragon was hours in the making. To create a fast draft of the study pose, I used a Daz model for the dragon body. The head was modeled separately using ZBrush then added to the rig. The snout was squat, while working, and didn't satisfy me (Fig.04).


During a final trip into Photoshop to define the image details, I made a sketch of a longer head. I then modeled this in ZBrush, together with a new animal body to replace the one I used in the test (DynaMesh and QRemesher)(Fig.05).


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