A Night and a Day of Rendering

I’ve been working recently with my cover designer, Lucie LeBlanc, and she hit on the idea of featuring one of my favorite characters on the cover. This is a small robot named Sceptre, about the size of a pocket watch who supports the king. In my head, I had always pictured him looking like one of the tiny clanks that Agatha Heterodyne created in “Girl Genius“. Lucie and I started working on an image that would fit this character, and so I tried to sketch out what I thought it would look like. This was my first attempt.

She sent me a couple of pictures, and I was so picky with one request after another. So, yesterday I thought I’d give it a shot on my own. Since I don’t believe in my own skills with 2D images, or Gimp in general, I figured my best bet was rendering it in 3D.

As it turns out, I’ve got a little experience in 3D rendering. See, I spent 10 years as a video game programmer, and you don’t do that without picking up a few rendering tricks. Here’s the problem. The last time I used a 3D renderer, it was 3D Studio Max, nearly five years ago. And since I don’t have access to such an expensive program anymore, I had to use Blender.

I’ve never used Blender. Never installed it before, never read a tutorial. So really, how hard could it be to just whip up a new image, right?

Midnight, I install the program. By 4AM, I gave up and went to sleep, having learned enough to create simple objects and texture them. Here we go.














At 11AM, I got up and started on it again. I worked on normal mapping, I added faceted gemstones. I also worked on more texturing, with procedural textures… And I added some hands. Now check this out.















Now that’s lookin’ pretty damn sweet. The only complaint I can possibly think of is that I was working on this instead of writing. Could be worse. I’ll write tomorrow.




BTW, if you want to see high-res versions of this set, I’ve got a Google Plus Picture Album here.

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