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.