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Danny Rollings


Secret Lairs
Online Greenlight Review

6th November 2013

1) Secret Lair of an Insectoid Soldier

Thoughts and decisions that impacted my chosen direction for the project
2) The Influence Maps (Insectoid Soldier) 3) ‘Insectoid Soldier’ Character Profile

4) Secret Lair: Thumbnails So Far
5) Secret Lair: Visual Concept and Key Thumbnails 6) Hero Prop: Visual Concept and Influence Map 7) Hero Prop: Designs and Descriptions 8) Chosen Hero Prop: Production Art Studies 9) Blog Links

Secret Lair of an Insectoid Soldier
Thoughts and decisions that impacted my chosen direction for the project
In the earliest stages of development, before even creating my Influence Maps related to the words “Insectoid” and “Soldier” I thought considerably about ways to avoid my insectoid soldier‟s lair being generic. I disregarded the concept of the character being of the future, modern times or the apocalypse because all three of these have been depicted time and time again by the media. To follow a path already so often trodden by the videogame, film and television industries would result in character and lair designs that are simply too generic. Moving further into the past with examples of warfare such as World War One and Two are time periods that have once again been used many times before. Thinking about military history and wars even further in the past such as the American Revolution (1775 – 1783), I remembered that just last year it was brought even further into the public consciousness by the popular Assassins Creed game series, a series that has plenty of secret lairs of its own. It was then that I decided I‟d take a big step back to soldiers of ancient times; knowing that while ancient civilizations have also been depicted in games, movies and television series, they have been much less over-used than more modern examples. The militaries of ancient times have been focused on even less by such industries so for these reasons I decided to focus on three ancient civilizations in my “Soldier” Influence Map – the ancient Greeks, ancient Egyptians and the Aztecs. I decided to avoid the Roman Empire due to how well it‟s become known by the general public as a result of different forms of media, once again Assassins Creed being an example.


The Influence Maps


After these first two Influence Maps had been completed it occurred to me that I should also refrain from setting my character and lair in ancient Greece for the sake of avoiding being too generic. Ancient Greece has also become well known by the public due to the media, one example being the popular movie 300 (2006) which focuses on the Spartans of Ancient Greece, as a result this narrowed my choice down to the Aztecs or ancient Egyptians in terms of culture which would impact lair design, hero prop design, character profile and any basic character design sketches. I eventually chose ancient Egypt due to the strong connection between insects and ancient Egypt related to some being considered sacred (e.g. scarab/dung beetle) and a childhood love of learning about this incredible ancient civilisation.

‘Insectoid Soldier’ Character Profile
Nemhisect the first, born as the hidden son of Akhenaten, lied to since childhood about his right to the throne of Egypt and betrayed by his own father when he discovered his rightful destiny. His father was claimed to have met death in battle before his birth and his mother claimed to have died bringing him into the world, it was years before he realized his destiny. Nemhisect was forced into the ranks of the Egyptian military for a decade and began as a common peasant, yet he rose through the ranks to be above all but the Pharaoh, becoming a General due to his skill and resolve to serve the Gods. Everything changed during a night-time raid on a camp of their wretched Nubian enemies; he rode at the forefront of an army of five hundred. The vile war chants of the Egyptian warriors boomed across the desert, however flaming arrows prevented their enemies from making their escape. Nemhisect commanded his own magnificent blue and golden chariot, a sight only beaten by the chariot of the Pharaoh himself – who at the time was bedridden with illness. It was on this night, after slaying many Nubians and staining the desert red that as he searched for the camp‟s leader, he fo und an old woman crawling through the crimson sands away from the attackers; in pity he commanded the others to leave her be, stepping down from his blood spattered chariot to question her. When he grabbed her by her wet, gore-stained rags and looked into her green eyes, the colour of Papyrus reeds; eyes much the same as his own – he knew he could not kill her. Staring into his eyes with powerful intent and wisdom she spoke quickly to him with parched words, claiming to be his mother of whom Akhenaten - his true father - had exiled, calling Nemhisect by name and whispering its meaning; bringing forth powerful memories seemingly from his birth – “Apprentice to Horus, the god of war. The one true king of Egypt.” In his heart, Nemhisect knew this to be his destiny. Angered by this almighty knowledge he journeyed for days back to the central point of the Kingdom of Egypt, with his mother hidden on the floor of his chariot. He challenged the recovering Pharaoh, who proceeded to call the guards to restrain him and with Akhenaten‟s own hands, slaughtered his mother in front of his eyes. To avoid the truth escaping, Nemhisect is locked away by his father and experimented on by the Pharaoh‟s servants with cruel instruments as Akhenaten tries to reach closer to the sun god, Ra and become ruler of the Gods. Embalmed alive with an apparently mystical oil of insects of the desert and the blood of the damned, Nemhisect began to mutate, breaking from the embalming‟s bindings. A mutated insectoid Nemhisect escapes, vowing revenge but knowing he does not yet have the power to defeat the Pharaoh and his men, he retreats underground and plans his revenge.

Secret Lair: Thumbnails So Far

Secret Lair: Visual Concept and Key Thumbnails
As covered on my previous „Thoughts and decisions…’ page, two of the underlying principles behind the visual concept of my lair designs are avoiding creating generic appearances and to have my human-sized character, Nemhisect‟s lair set in ancient Egypt. Another principle is to often incorporate insect -like or insect related things into the lair design, such as pillars reminiscent of pincers or even a floor with an appearance like that of a leaf. My character profile will also play an important part in future thumbnails as Nemhisect‟s state of mind can be shown in lair and/or prop design, or events of his past can also play a part – for example a Papyrus reed-shaped amulet as a reminder of his lost mother‟s green eyes. Also the Eye of Horus can be part of the lair design due to Nemhisect‟s „resolve to serve the gods‟ and part of his name meaning „Apprentice to Horus, the god of war.‟ IF there is time after modeling of the lair I may model my own insectoid version of a Horus bust e.g. with pincers in place of the beak.

Hero Prop: Visual Concept and Influence Map
Hero Prop visual concept, underlying principles: It must not be too complex to have existed in ancient Egypt. For this reason I decided upon a sword because Nemhisect‟s purpose is to attack in revenge for his mother‟s murder rather than focus on self-defense via a shield. As a result I researched ancient Egyptian swords. Aspects of it must relate to the Insectoid nature of the soldier, Nemhisect. There are millions of insect species in the world, so I narrowed it down to insects of Ancient Egypt. In cases such as the Scarab beetle and the honey bee, these were considered sacred insects. The desert locust is also a well known insect of ancient Egypt, partly due to the „Book of Exodus‟ story involving Moses in the Bible, in which an Egyptian Pharaoh and his people are attacked by 10 forms of plagues, one of which is a swarm of locusts. The Hero Prop can also be related to other aspects of ancient Egypt such as mummification, hieroglyphics, plant life or their gods such as the most suitable, Horus – the god of war, protection and the sky.

Hero Prop: Designs and Descriptions
Design 1 is inspired by the god Horus, the leg of a desert locust, mummification, an existing ancient Egyptian sword and the Reed hieroglyph for the letter, E. Design 2 is inspired by the leg of a desert locust, another ancient Egyptian sword, mummification and the sacred Scarab beetle. Design 3 is inspired by the sacred honey bee and its stinger.

Chosen Hero Prop: Production Art Studies
Due to positive feedback on my second Hero Prop design and personal preference I have chosen to use the „Scarab Sword‟ as my chosen Hero Prop.

Original sketch

Line art

Possible colour study

Blog Links
CG Artist’s Toolkit: Autodesk Maya Tutorials • Tutorial 01: Modeling (egg cups)
• •

Film Reviews: Cinematic Spaces • Le Voyage dans La Lune (1902)

Character Part 01: Modeling

Texturing Part 01: Common Shaders

• Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920) • Metropolis (1927)

Animation and Character • Lesson 01: Praxinoscope
• • •

Lesson 02: Character Morphing Lesson 03: Face Morphing Lesson 04: Bouncing Ball

Mise-en-scène • La Belle et la Bête (1946)

Drawing – Still Life and Life Drawing • Lesson 01: Assortment of Objects
• • [Drawing lessons 03 and 04 to be uploaded]

Lesson 02: Cardboard Installation Lesson 02 Homework