Forum Replies Created
Scout Reynolds – human battle master fighter/rogue
Why do I keep doing angled poses to myself? The body torso I started with was perfect, but then I had to go and add those pesky clothes. The halfsies technique worked okay on the shirt, but it still looks like she’s opening up her right side more than I was going for. I guess it’s tolerable. The legs came out quite well after I decided to complicate things with a crossed-legs pose. Is there a food item category somewhere I’m not seeing? I wish I could have given her some half-eaten snacks, but I wasn’t quite up to building apple cores from scratch. I actually did some shading and contouring details on this one. Hey she’s got pretty nice legs.
The daughter of a woodworker and his flower-loving wife, young Scout received her lifelong nickname when she turned out to be too much of a tomboy to be a “Posey.” Her simple but pleasant world was turned on its head when powerful outsiders invaded the area and quickly set up a new regime. Their regulations and outright oppression of the local population created innumerable hardships for the simple townsfolk, who had to either capitulate to their new “superiors” or face harsh punishment.
As Scout grew old enough to begin to understand the injustices around her, her resentment grew – especially after her mother died from an illness that could have been treated if they had been allowed access to healers or proper medicine. Every indignity, every instance of mistreatment she witnessed, just reinforced her bitterness toward the outsiders who kept her people under their boots. But at the same time, her father maintained an almost superhuman positive disposition, offering encouragement to neighbors and shrugging off abuse from their oppressors.
Scout couldn’t understand how her father could sacrifice his pride or just accept the way things were and go on as if nothing was wrong. But over time, especially after seeing the destruction in a nearby town where people had tried standing up to the regime, she realized how much good her father was doing for the people in their town. He knew that the simple townsfolk couldn’t force the invaders out, but they could do small things to help each other and get through their troubled times the best they could. Choosing happiness in the face of misery was in itself a form of defiance, and it was the best way to maintain hope until the time was right for the world to change again.
Taking her father’s example to heart, Scout grew into an easygoing, friendly woman who is easy to like and easy to underestimate. While her affability is genuine, it masks a tactical mind that’s good at assessing surroundings and using social situations to size up potential allies and adversaries. She’d certainly rather be enjoying a few rounds of cards over drinks, but when the time comes to put her bow to use, she’ll be in the background hoping you don’t notice her subtly manipulating the battlefield so her friends can come out victorious. And when the time comes for her people to reclaim their way of life, she’ll be even more prepared to help them do it.
Mira Shortvall – half-elf gunslinger fighter
Another portrait of a friend’s character. He wanted a “devil-may-care” pose, and of course a picture of a gunslinger needs to feature the gun, so I had some work to do with the arms and hands. The face was also an interesting challenge, getting the components properly mapped onto the tilted head. I like how that came out a lot. Not necessarily my first choice of color palette, but she’s got red dragonhide armor and the rest is per instructions. Kept it simple on the background and shading to save time. Friend liked it so we’re all good.
Mira is the daughter of a human father and a drow mother, and that’s about all she knows about her origins – so far. She took up her current vocation when a stranger used an unusual weapon to protect her, and when the battle claimed his life she took up his gun and continued on adventuring in his stead. With her new band of friends, she’s putting her firearms (and other assorted weaponry) to use against an evil dragon cult.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Cille.
Noriel – fire genasi nomad mystic (again)
I actually started playing Noriel in a new campaign, and since her original portrait was the first HeroMachine picture I ever did, I figured I could do a little better for her and give her a more carefully considered outfit. There are several details that are particular to the campaign setting and reflect all of the traveling she’s done. Probably the trickiest part of this picture was deciding I wanted to make it look like we were viewing her from the other side of some kind of space-time portal and trying to make it look like a tunnel and not just some egg-shaped blobs. It could probably be more refined but I’m generally happy with it.
As a side note, kids, save your text files. Something got corrupted during a save while working on this piece, and for reasons unknown to me the HM site decided to overwrite my heromachine3.swf folder and its contents the next time I loaded the site. Which meant that my very large hmcharacters.sol file was overwritten, and even after I managed to salvage a recovered version of the file, the site still kept overwriting it so the code is essentially gone. Not a devastating loss since I have all of my exported final pictures, but I’ll definitely be saving text code from now on.
Having fallen in with a very interesting group of people quite by chance, Noriel has decided to continue traveling with them to see what other interesting things might happen. Thus far the adventures have revolved around investigating a drug-running operation and trying to find a remedy for a companion who seems to have contracted a strange form of lycanthropy. More recently there have been echoes of some ancient mystical secret that Noriel has felt compelled to pursue, and it remains to be seen where this will lead her and her new friends.
Hunter “Haunter” Nightshade – human grave cleric
Another portrait request for a fellow player. Working with this particular male head was interesting, as was trying to make him look like a dude who’s been through hell without going too far into gross gaunt zombie territory. I guess there aren’t any actual glove hands (aside from a few gauntlet type things), so I colored an actual hand to match the glove and used ovals to cover up the obvious fingernails. The whole color palette is pretty dark and spooky, so I had to try a little harder to make things not all blend into each other. Yay for finding an actual Anubis jackal head so I didn’t have to make one. My friend’s response was a text stating “I LOVE IT SO MUCH” so score another one there.
While his current partymates don’t know a whole lot about his troubled history, it’s pretty certain that this devotee of Anubis is a man who has seen – and probably done – some pretty dark things. He can’t even introduce himself without people mishearing his name as “Haunter” instead of Hunter. It’s an apt moniker, considering his tormented memories of a cursed land in another demiplane and the wife and daughter he lost. As he assists his new companions in their efforts to oppose a dragon cult, his faith guides him to bring death to those whose time has come and peace to those whom death has claimed.
Krag Horncarver – goliath berserker barbarian
Here we have my first request to do a portrait of someone else’s character. I was given a reference picture (a fairly standard Kratos/Grog-style big-guy-in-furs affair), a character sheet, and a general description of his gauntlet and boots, and away I went. Since it was basically just something I was doing for someone else to be nice, I didn’t plan on spending a whole lot of time on it, and I didn’t quibble about details the way I do on my own pictures. But the guy thought it looked amazing, so if he’s happy I’m happy. And he does look pretty badass.
As the strongest warrior in a tribe of mountain goliaths that was conquered by an ancient blue dragon, Krag took it upon himself to escape from his bonds and embark on a personal quest to become stronger so that one day he might return to free his people from their oppressor.
Thanks for the detailed feedback. 🙂
I love it when I can just look through items and find things that work perfectly in a scene. That was the case with the rocks + water and remembering that there’s a lighthouse, and combining that one swoopy floor thing with the angled rock wall. I would have liked to use companions for random people walking by just to save time, but the only one with the right walking pose was a robot dude and that would not have been appropriate for this feudal seaside town. 😀 So instead I used that guy as a model and put together the elements for the same pose. I did give the guy a head, but it’s not super attractive and you’re right that cropping him keeps the focus more on her.
The shortsword not having a scabbard is actually a detail that ties into her backstory. When she washed up on the island, so did the corpses of some of her crewmates. The first mate (whom she had a crush on) still had his shortsword with him, so that became her weapon of choice and she kept it with her the entire time she was on the island. I guess if I thought harder about it the guy could have still had the scabbard too, but we can just say that by the time she was rescued the scabbard was long gone (and she somehow manages to get around without chopping her leg off 😀 ). This scene is some time after she has returned to civilization, so she may or may not have considered that it might be a good idea to buy a new scabbard. (But now that I’m thinking about it, if I ever play her I should probably remember to do that. 😀 )
- This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Cille.
Aneva Ashworthy – halfling open hand monk
The challenge for this project was putting Aneva in profile, since the picture in my head wanted her looking out to sea and I didn’t figure her backside would be very interesting. Considering how much repurposing and frankensteining usually needs to be done to produce a side view, it wasn’t all that tough. MVP goes to that half-tabard that has the perfect contour for a tucked-in shirt when you shrink it down. The biggest issue turned out to be the fact that there are no bare feet with the big toe on the side away from the viewer. So I made my own left foot out of a boot and some lines, and it only looks slightly derpy. I like how the setting came out quite a bit, and I’m glad I decided to go through with adding the random dude walking by for a sense of scale (and I think it kind of highlights how isolated Aneva is even in the midst of civilization).
Aneva was always fascinated by tales of lands abroad, and when she came of age she embarked on a sea journey to see as much of the world as she could before she returned home to settle down. While initially more of a passenger than a sailor, she gradually took a larger role in working on the ship and was eventually accepted as a member of the crew. She spent four years as a sailor before she was shipwrecked on a deserted island, the only survivor among her crew.
She did her practical best to survive on her own, but her lack of combat experience was a disadvantage when dealing with the wild animals that seemed to consider her a tasty morsel worthy of contant attention. Everything changed when she discovered the ruins of an old temple located in the deepest parts of the island. The deserted and dilapidated temple had clearly once been a thriving place of study and training for a group of monks, and fortunately they had left behind enough of their legacy for Aneva to begin studying and learning their vocation. As she gained a rudimentary understanding of their techniques, she found an inner resolve and physical strength that were more than a match for the island’s predators.
For nearly 12 years Aneva lived in solitude, making the best of her situation and taking solace in her meditation and training. When she was finally rescued, she returned to a society that was at once familiar and foreign. Although initially intending to return home, she found that she wasn’t quite ready to turn her back on the path that the previous 12 years had set her on. She missed the tranquility and feeling of mastery she had experienced at the temple, and she was sure that there was so much more that she could learn and become if she could find the right guidance. And so now she travels in search of clues that might lead her to a greater understanding, and uses her skills for good by helping whomever she can along the way.
Tamrith – human paladin of the ancients (again)
As I am shockingly getting close to running out of D&D characters to depict (I only have around 20 of them), my thoughts turned to the campaigns I’m playing and contemplating what scenes from the game would make for good art if we had an army of fanartists like certain popular online games do. Sadly we are not blessed with actual artists who care about our game, so I’m the best we’ve got. But fortunately I find it enjoyable to think back through the various scenes that have been significant to my characters, and I can only try to do justice to some of them with my limited skills.
I was inspired to start with a more comical scene featuring my paladin, complete with an anime-esque style for the supporting characters. That was an interesting experiment, and posing is a whole lot easier when everything is in silhouette and you don’t have to care about matching up lines. I really like how the faces came out given the exaggerated style.
Putting Tamrith together was much more challenging, and a lot of that felt like the different elements just didn’t want to come together properly. I’d say the nuances of facial expression are an area where HeroMachine’s capabilities fall far short of what a traditional artist could do. If you want something beyond a fierce snarl or a goofy smile or maybe a smug smirk, you’re going to have a tough time. Or maybe I just need to study the minutiae of facial anatomy to know exactly what to do with the proportions and positioning of the different facial elements to create the expression I’m after. I did a bit of that with this shot, trying to replicate the actual beleaguered face I was making in character. I think it ended up okay, but dang did I spend a lot of time trying to get everything to not look derpy. The hair was also way more work than it needed to be for something that was just “Tam has her hair down.”
Anyway it’s done and I enjoy it and the goofy anime maids crack me up.
Our weary adventurers were given a post-battle respite in a swanky mansion owned by a new acquaintance, and while the cleric princess (who is actually a princess) enjoyed being luxuriously pampered in the next room, rough-and-tumble Tam endured being assaulted by the overzealous maids and their arsenal of bath-and-body implements. She did not find it an enjoyable experience, although the next morning she did admit to feeling “weirdly soft.”
Rosia Krava – minotaur battle master fighter
I’ve had a cow fighter in the works for a while, and this week’s minotaur CDC gave me the impetus to finish putting together the character concept and design a picture. I didn’t really like any of the available bull heads (plus she’s a cow), so I went and made my own. Dinosaur companion head comes through again. It does help that I grew up on a dairy farm and have plenty of cow references to work with. I don’t know if D&D minotaurs are allowed to be Holsteins but I’m going with it. She’s pretty beefy (lolololol). I wonder if people will be able to tell that she’s female. I actually looked up minotaur boobs while researching what this character should look like. There’s been quite a bit of discourse on the subject. If anybody’s wondering, I’m going with chest boobs because of the human-type torso. I’m also assuming she doesn’t have four stomach compartments. I can’t decide if I like this chest armor or not. Now I’m taking a break to look up “cow” in every language on Google translate because I can’t think of a name for her. I think I’ll stick with this armor. It doesn’t look too bad with this nice skirt thing we’ve got going on. The proportions are actually working out nicely on this one. Coming up with spots without going crazy is a bit challenging, but when you blow up the splotchy insignia they don’t look so much like someone threw a bucket of paint at her. If anybody’s wondering, “krava” means cow in a number of eastern European languages. I think she can be hanging out in a rocky mountain setting. Oh she needs an eartag too. And here we go with a bit of shading and she’s done.
In a society that values strength and combat prowess above all, being smaller than one’s contemporaries is often equated with weakness. Rosia has always sought to defy that expectation and assert her place in the pecking order, developing an aggressive personality, a strategic approach to combat, and an aversion to being pushed around.
After doing her time in the gladiatorial arenas, and having no interest in sea raiding (at least partly because she gets seasick whenever she steps onto a boat), Rosia struck out to make her own fortune and prove her worth to the wider world. Even though she towers over most of her new companions, that drive to prove herself and demand respect has stayed with her. She rarely lets a challenge pass unanswered, and her favorite way to size up new acquaintances is through an arm-wrestling match. The one thing she loves more than fighting is food, and woe unto him who stands between her and something she wants to eat.
Genevra – half-elf archfey/chain warlock
Someday I’ll do a picture where the proportions all just work out and I don’t have to do a bunch of second-guessing and resizing and wondering if the arms still look janky or not. I did have fun on this one going through categories and pulling out stuff to put in her collection of critter parts. Not having to deal with legs is also nice. When in doubt, add more trees. I don’t feel like doing shading on this one and I’m okay with that.
Genevra has spent most of her life enduring suspicious glances and derision from those around her, first as the child of an interracial couple, and later as the ward and apprentice of the old crone who saved her life when she and her parents were stricken with a horrible illness. The girl and the crone, similarly pockmarked as survivors of the sickness and choosing to live as outlanders, were labeled as witches and weathered years of abuse before the local folk finally turned on them out of fear and ignorance. In the ensuing confrontation, the feeble old woman was killed while Genevra managed to escape.
As Genevra subsequently wandered in search of a new home, her appearance and eccentricities drew attention and epithets of “witch” and “hag” wherever she went. She eventually took up residence in an abandoned hut near a coastal village, where as always she was regarded with suspicion by the superstitious locals.
One evening, amid the first gales of an oncoming storm, a mysterious stranger came to the hut seeking shelter. Genevra took the old man in and offered what comfort she could. A few hours later a pounding at the door broke through the sounds of the raging storm. A group of panicked and irate townspeople confronted Genevra, accusing the “hag” of calling down the storm upon them. As Genevra angrily struggled against them, the mysterious visitor revealed himself as an archfey lord and offered her the chance to actually control the storm. As the years of repressed frustration finally found their outlet, Genevra accepted the powers he bestowed on her and used them to bring the fury of the storm down on her attackers.
In the aftermath, Genevra had to come to terms with both the sudden rush of power and the shock of intentionally taking lives for the first time. Her new patron, having recognized both her innate benevolence and the bottled-up desire to lash out at the world, was quite interested to see what she would do with the powers he had granted. As she moves onward, becoming accustomed to actually being the witch others had always imagined her to be, it remains to be seen which side of her nature will prevail.
Well, Herr D, you win by default, but I must say I really love your picture. It’s a great concept, and I love both how you incorporated the elements so seamlessly and the extra little touches like the partially-erased next letter and the pink eraser dust to go with it. Very well done. I could even see that being a real font. 😀
And that also means that you’re up. 🙂
I’m gonna go ahead and extend the deadline to Sunday, March 25 at 6pm EST (if that’s a thing I can do). Although I could theoretically count Herr D’s post as his entry since it sounds like he had the picture done and just forgot to attach it, I’d also like to give Keric and any others a chance if they just need a bit more time.
Rando Calpurnian – gnome shadow monk
This character came about because I thought it would be fun to randomly roll for everything (race, class, background, gender, alignment…) and then come up with a character concept and backstory that made it all work. It ended up being an entirely non-optimized character (especially once you factor in his entirely mediocre stat rolls) that I think would be super fun to play. Building the image itself mostly revolved around trying to angle his body one way while his head looks the other way. The head part came out very well (especially once I traded in the standard male heads for the bottom half of the dual-conehead alien head), but I wish the chest didn’t look so flat. Super simple background and some shading and we’re calling it good.
Rando is a devoted but largely inept minion of an evil and powerful mage who would totally take over the world if he weren’t so focused on outdoing the rival evil powerful mage on the neighboring cliff. Rando wants nothing more than to be a super badass ninja and serve his master well, but since he’s not good at much of anything, he’s pretty much only survived this long because he relies on his fellow minions to bail him out or just straight up hides until danger passes (and then congratulates himself on his stealthiness).
Rando’s master appreciates his loyalty and determination, but as the HR complaints begin stacking up, he decides that it might be a good time to send the gnome out on a solo mission of great importance. He gives Rando a list of different targets and instructs him to collect a button from each one, to be used as ingredients in an incredibly powerful and diabolical spell. There’s a lot about this that Rando doesn’t understand, but he will do his absolute best to follow his master’s wishes to the letter. And if this entire thing is just a pointless fetch quest designed to get him out of the castle for a while, it never even crosses his mind.
I’m not seeing an attachment, Herr D.
Only a few hours left, I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. 🙂
Tarkelby Wiggins – gnome conjuration wizard
Here’s another one where I came up with (or in this case solidified) a character concept and then immediately had to run and start a picture. Had to do a decent amount of cut-and-finagle with the robe, but I feel like this might have been the quickest a portait has come together (especially after dragging my feet so long on the previous one). I particularly like how his expression came out and I think this is one of my favorite illustrations of a character so far.
At first glance, Tarkelby Wiggins might appear to be a doddering old gnome wearing a wizard costume that seems to primarily consist of an oversized pointy hat, a bathrobe, and a conspicuously fake beard. But he will be quick to assure you that he is in fact a great wizard, renowned throughout the great society of wizarddom, and he would still be off somewhere casting his great high-level spells if only he hadn’t misplaced his spellbook. He is currently on a quest to locate and retrieve this tome of his life’s work, and in the meantime he must make do with a spellbook containing a much more modest array of low-level spells. At least, you would have to assume that they’re spells, since the only person who can read Tarkelby’s handwriting is Tarkelby, and even that’s not always a given.
Lest you be inclined to suspect that Tarkelby is any kind of a scam artist, let it be said that he is indeed old, and doddering, and he does have some amount of wizardly talent. His youth was largely squandered on various frivolous pursuits and grand plans that never quite went anywhere, and as he began to recognize that his time in this world was growing ever more limited, he came to want more than anything to accomplish something truly great before he bids this life farewell. The magic he had only tinkered with throughout his life became his focus, and while the hoitier and toitier of wizards largely regard him as a laughingstock, he is determined to prove himself useful to his adventuring companions and make for himself a name that he can be proud of. Now if only he could remember where he last saw that dratted book…