No More Mr. Nice Kain

Elder Kain (THD Exclusive Render)

I’ve been feeling better, trying to get an equilibrium (which was working until sleep became wonky again).

I’ve been actually doing a lot on the Pillars scene, so I think it’s time to show, especially now that friend, Amber, has helped me expand my social network breadth. Speaking of, since this will be included in my first post there, welcome to those who may have stopped by the Hylden Dimension on Facebook 🙂 Here on this site, and via posts there, I will share my progress in modeling and texturing, specifically in the realm of redoing/expanding on the Legacy of Kain series (all the while, adding to my portfolio).

First up, while working on the Pillars scene, I’ve been doing not only the Pillars, but the surrounding landscape. The steps and gate to the Pillars, the standing stones and shift symbol stones, trees, etc. Most of the series’ graphical zenith, even minus the boost in polygon count later, was seen in Soul Reaver 2, for me and many others. However, there are still spots that would need more than just a faithful recreation. The sides of the steps leading from the gate are one area. The steps were framed by basically rectangles on rectangles, so I thought I’d upgrade the architecture here slightly, and add new additions. I got inspired to do statues that I’ll add into the recesses I’ve modeled into the plinths on the sides framing the steps. Same statue duplicated, but in two different poses. I’ll differentiate them more with additional weathering detail, but included here are those two statue poses.

Making a statue that feels very much like a classic angelic statue, or Mother Mary, in a classic artistic style of the face and poses. The robes are adorned with the symbols seen on the Pillars, much like Moebius’ trim on his robe in the SR2 intro, which I also added in the texture upgrades to him in Defiance. The band on her sleeves has alternating symbols from the Pillars and symbols associated with magical energy in Blood Omen 1’s magic bar, and other places like framing Moebius’ time streaming chambers in SR2. The thought being symbols of magic power alternating with the Pillar runes in harmony. I didn’t imagine her as any specific Guardian, but instead an idealized representation of them.

Renderings are in Zbrush of her high polygon model. Her low polygon model is about 12,000 triangles. Tried to keep it small.

With regard to the Pillars, the recesses of the larger plinths near the top of the steps are where the two statues will go and why I modeled them with one foot up and one down, as you can see the plinths split one of the ledges. Speaking of, added ledges to those falloffs, so they aren’t also just rectangles. When I add in stone brick detail, this all should really pop. For the lower pair of plinths further down the stairs I’m going to add cauldrons, which will be lit on fire. I had a very specific stone slab look I wanted for them, which I was able to achieve. The path might still need a little work on how the tiles tile.

I’m going to work on how the two door barriers fit. They can’t just be floating there like in the game, so I’m thinking modeling some recesses into the wall on each side with gears and ropes visible. The Pillars were modeled to the specifics of the scene, since I was able to capture most of the area from SR2.  I’m going to model both the pristine Pillars and the ruined version. I want to add the Kain that I’ve posed into the ruined version, as if he shows up after the end of Defiance, when they went boom, and so the destruction is still fresh — smoke and fire, ruined trees, etc. I’m thinking of posing a less angry Kain and incorporating him into the pristine scene, and them making a dichotomy composite contrasting the two scenes.

The shift stones framing the hidden path. And these are the similar standing stones framing the Pillars: Pretty basic shape, but I liked that. I’ll make them unique with weathering and texturing.

…And now, without further meandering… The post is named “No more Mr. Nice Kain…” for a reason. I’ve had Elder Kain posed and ready for a couple of weeks, but this scene stuff takes a while. I might as well show him. I haven’t textures and placed his Reaver yet, but he looks good just standing there with his hand in a fist (and some user on Deviant Art said it always bothered him/her that the design doesn’t look like these vampires can make fists, or bend their toes. I made sure to note that they bend just fine 😉 ). Kain, having a bad day (and mostly the final render now of him). Note that the background playing into the current Hylden Dimension one here on the site. It makes me happy that his face, posed in such an expression, looks even more like his SR1 and 2 Glyph X counterparts.

That’s it for now. Think I’ll get back to the terrain tomorrow, flesh it out. More updates to come.

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