Ariel: The Balance of the Circle of Nine

Ariel Living - Balance Scales Lighting 2

 

Greetings to everyone at the first post by me at the new updated site. Very grateful to Amber for all of the improvements she’s made here. A bit less than two months ago, now, I showed my Ariel model, which was mostly complete. I’ve updated the belt and a lot of other subtleties, and she is now fully rigged. I’ve spent this time mostly completing her ghost form and now have rigged them both for posing, animating, and rendering off for you all to see In their full glory. Ariel was modeled on with the concept art piece by Daniel Cabuco from SR2 as reference (which is in the gallery below), and melding that with references of the actress Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), who voiced her in the Legacy of Kain games. I re-imagined her Blood Omen 1 dress, which is briefly seen from the back before she is murdered in the opening of that game, similar to the retexturre mod I did of her for the PC version of Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Ariel’s undergone some changes in each of the games. I wanted to return her to her roots and bridge the gap as much as possible between the games, as I have been attempting to do from the start with all of these models. In the gold trim running all along her dress, like is seen on Guardians such as Moebius, I included many of the Pillar symbols and other symbols shared in the games. These are more than ceremonial, most likely, as they are probably like runes and warding symbols when used in specific combinations. Makek and the Sarafan also have these symbols etched into their armor probably for the same reason. The dress is velvet with silk trimming. I’m happy with how the velvet look was achieved using the metallness workflow and some ingenuity.

I added a belt for her and to go into a little more detail on that, it’s a bronze belt divided into plaques for each of the nine pillars. Each plaque is a representation of the Pillar and its properties. They also have gems of color closely representing the colors on the center plinths of each pillar. I looked up a list of gem stones and so they correspond to real world gem stones. In between those main plaques are smaller ones with roses and vines linking, and within some of those, you might notice behind the roses are the designs of the elemental symbols. The back of the belt has a tenth main plaque that is in the shape of a cross-like motif with alternating light and dark gems.

I tried to keep her dress design reflective of the medieval period I’m using for this mix of fantasy and real world, which is mostly around the late 1300’s (though anywhere from 1200-1500’s has some influences I can probably use).

The scene with the fire is a re-imagining of her lighting the balance scales at the shrine, seen before her death in Blood Omen and a representation of that shrine is also within SR2. In redesigning the scales’ basins, I looked back to the concept art for Ariel in BO1, and melted that with Blood Omen 1’s cutscene look and inspired etchings from Soul Reaver 2’s textures. I was going to take a snapshot out of Unity of the area this would correspond to in the scene I showed months back, use that background instead of the black here in the images. But, wouldn’t you know it, at the “11nth hour,” as they say, Unity crapped out on me. It’s still powerful just with Ariel and the basins in the lighting, so that’s fine. These models were created using Zbrush and Maya for the base sculpts, Zbrush for sculpting fine details and polypainting textures, Photoshop for further texturing, Maya and RD-Coat for retopology, and for the belt, basins, and to check/add to textures, Substance Painter. Models were rendered in Marmoset Toolbag 2.

Her dead ghost form has her encased in burial wrappings, and I’ll show her gruesome self shortly, but for now, I think that’s about all I can write right now, so enjoy the late Balance Guardian, Ariel, in all of her glory:

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