August contest entry

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August contest entry

Postby Aethelraed_Unraed » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:51 pm

"Hiltibrant hætti min fater, ih heittu Hadubrant"

What better fits the topic 'Fantasy', than to go back to the origin of most of the fantasy genre? Famous authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, himself a professor of Anglo-Saxon, were greatly influenced by Germanic sagas. Creatures like elves and dwarves that we now deem typical for fantasy come straight from Germanic legends and religion. The Germanic epics themselves are works of art that would not be out of place next to 'The Lord of the Rings', with ideals like honour and courage held in high esteem as legendary heroes fight against mighty foes, too often suffering a tragic death at the end.

This image depicts a scene from the famous 'Hildebrandslied'. Set in the late 5th century, this 9th century epic poem describes a battle between the Germanic kings Odoacer, who deposed the last West Roman emperor, and Theoderic the Great, who from 488 to 493 conquered Odoacer's young kingdom. Just decades ago this Roman heartland had been under the firm control of its decadent senators, but now two foreign armies were battling over the legacy of the once-great empire. And many other invaders would yet come, and with it many battles. The perfect background for legends about great heroes like Hildebrand and Hadubrand, the main characters of this saga.

The epic beautifully describes how the two armies meet and send forth a champion to fight each other in single combat, Theoderic the old but experienced Hildebrand and Odoacer the young warrior Hadubrand. As they introduce themselves to each other, the older Hildebrand realizes his opponent is his own lost son!

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All 3d-modeling, posing and rendering was done in Blender using Cycles. All textures and materials except the ones listed below, and the skin textures, were made using Blender and GIMP. The final render was retouched in GIMP.

External textures/materials I used:
- The hills in the background are from an excellent photograph of Italy by Moyan Brenn
- Hadubrand's skin uses the CyclesSkin shader by m9105826 (the textures are from MakeHuman though)
- The leather for the belts of the two generals is from the leather shader by elbrujodelatribu
- There is some minor use of the procedural wood shader by wesvdes
- The textures of the tree shields in the center are taken from a scan of a manuscript of the Notitia Dignitatum, by some Late-Roman author with long-lost copyrights :)

All other textures and materials, as well as all 3d-models, are either made by myself or MakeHuman.


I'd like to close off with the first stanza of this alliterative poem, translated by myself:

I once was told, | that between two armies
Two heroes, | Hildebrand and Hadubrand,
Checked their gear, | girded their swords,
Put on their mailcoats | and mighty armour,
When they went | towards the battlefield.
Attachments
hildebrand10.png
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Re: August contest entry

Postby brkurt » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:18 am

Thanks for the long explanation!

I like the idea that the monthy contest is more a swap-fest of ideas, than a competition with rigid winner and losers.

Every time I've submitted an entry, I've either tried a new technique, or integrated techniques in ways I've never done before.
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Re: August contest entry

Postby joepal » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:59 am

That is a really awsome piece.

The topics are mostly a general inspiration, I added them to get people started rather than exclude someone.
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Re: August contest entry

Postby ThomasL » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:28 pm

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Re: August contest entry

Postby Aethelraed_Unraed » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:44 am

brkurt wrote:Thanks for the long explanation!

I like the idea that the monthy contest is more a swap-fest of ideas, than a competition with rigid winner and losers.

Every time I've submitted an entry, I've either tried a new technique, or integrated techniques in ways I've never done before.
I'm always one for explanations. There are people who let their art speak for itself. I'm not one of them. I don't render "just" an image, my images (and written work, mostly translations/adaptations of Germanic/Norse saga's) always carry a story and an explanation. Probably why I don't usually like "story-less" art such as, let's say, Van Gogh's sunflowers, it may be beautiful and very well-made, but there's just so much more emotion and soul to an artwork with a story behind it. If I just want to see beauty I'll take a walk in the heathlands and forests around town ;)
ThomasL wrote:The archdruid discussed Odoacer and Theoderic here: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.se/2014/09/dark-age-america-cauldron-of-nations.html
Interesting read, although I don't readily agree with many of his conclusions. Anyway, the Migration Period is my favourite era in history, with so many old empires falling, so many new empires being created. The Germanic culture blooming to its ultimate height before vanishing under the same influences that made it flourish. It's the age of heroes and sagas, of honour and betrayal, of death and destruction; it's the birth of a new Europe :)

Anyway, thought I'd put the clothes I made for this entry to good use and make another render (of course out of competition), this time with some female clothes as well :)

"Óð goes to battle"
The husband of the famous goddess Freyja, Óðr would often travel to far-away lands, leaving his wife shedding golden tears in his absence. They deeply love each other, but Óðs free spirit always eventually rips them apart again. Dressed in full battle-gear, the lovers embrace, not knowing if they will ever meet again, yet resigning to their fate.
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Re: August contest entry

Postby Aranuvir » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:27 pm

Hi Aethelraed,

your august contest entry is really awesome. Especially the shading of the main character is impressive. Would you mind to provide some further information about your node setup? I did some tests with the skinshader you mentioned above, but I wasn't very satisfied with the result.
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Re: August contest entry

Postby Aethelraed_Unraed » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:04 pm

Aranuvir wrote:Hi Aethelraed,

your august contest entry is really awesome. Especially the shading of the main character is impressive. Would you mind to provide some further information about your node setup? I did some tests with the skinshader you mentioned above, but I wasn't very satisfied with the result.
Thanks :) I was very lucky to quickly stumble upon the settings I used for the main character. I've attached an image of the node setup, which as you can see is ridiculously simple. The skin shader colours are the default ones, all I did was make the Global SSS Radius Multiplier slightly smaller, as I generally scale my models to 1/10, and tweak the HSV of the skin texture. The SSSDepth vertex colourmap is mostly black, so this would set the SSS Overall Weight setting to near 0 for most places.

But of course everything hugely depends on the whole scene, things like lighting and even scale can really matter a lot.

skin_setup.png
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Re: August contest entry

Postby joepal » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:14 pm

Reminds me I forgot to announce the august winner. I'll tidy that stuff up tomorrow.
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Re: August contest entry

Postby Aranuvir » Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:46 pm

Thanks for sharing, Aethelraed! The HSV-Node in the shader gave me good results. I'm still a beginner on this tasks. And of course, it's all about lighting, That's the downside of cycles, you often have to refine your materials on different lighting. I'm learning it the hard way, yet :).
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