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    Modeling Dragons & Production Schedule

    on December 8th, 2009, by angela

    In order to feed the pipeline as efficiently as possible in our limited time, we worked out this schedule of 3 modeling stages…

    1st Stage =Β  5 days: Model with focus on form/proportions. Lock proportions. Pass to Nathan for rigging.

    2nd Stage = 5 days: Model further detailing, topology refinement for better deformation with retopo, final inside mouth/teeth, etc.

    3rd Stage = 5 days: Sculpt finer details/surface.

    I started with the Dragon Baby 2 weeks ago, followed by the Dragon Adult last week. 1st stages of both are now completed. Today I start on the Shaman!


    Dragon Baby, stage 1 model & progression


    Dragon Adult, stage 1 model



    Dragon Adult, stage 1 model, revised

    – Angela

    80 Responses to “Modeling Dragons & Production Schedule”

    1. jorisAR Says:

      Amazing ! Good work…!

      Looking forward to see the finished models.
      Keep up the good work team =)

    2. rogper Says:

      Very nice models!
      Also very nice time frame to model, 15 days each character is perfect!

    3. Thondal Says:

      Amazingly cool dragon… It’s all coming together nicely now

    4. freen Says:

      Great stuff guys, especially the baby dragon!
      The adult is looking cool, too, but I’m wondering about where the wing attaches to the lower part of the body….
      Not sure that’s quite right.

    5. Gustav Says:

      Hmm 15 days/character but you’ve modeled two characters the last two weeks?…. that must mean a durian week is 15 days! πŸ˜‰

      Nice models btw. would love to see a wireframe…

    6. mcreamsurfer Says:

      Your modelling work is really great. I love the fact that you really have a very artistic understanding of details…you’re repertoire and observation is outstanding. It’s really great that you’re part of the durian team.

    7. Gustav Says:

      ah! you’re only one the 1 stage for both of the models. I’ve got to learn how to read properly!

    8. RNS Says:

      Angela – your are great in your work and it show your love for blender.

    9. LiMuBei Says:

      Nice work! Would you share some wireframes of these models? I’d love to study the poly layout πŸ™‚

    10. kram1032 Says:

      Wow πŸ˜€
      Great models πŸ˜€
      Can’t wait to see them in action!

    11. TweakingKnobs Says:

      Cool , but the baby dragon dont really look cute.

      its great modelled , but i thinkit needs some cuteness ;D

    12. angela Says:

      Thanks for your encouraging comments! πŸ™‚

      @ Gustav & LiMuBei: I’ve added the wireframes to the images.

      @ TweakingKnobs: Yes, the idea for the baby dragon was to make it an odd & awkward looking creature. Not physically cute. Though, its cuteness will be through its actions.

    13. kaeru Says:

      The adult version doesn’t seem to be really adult , i see it more like an adolescent version.
      Certainly due to the overall size compared to the baby size and the lack of wrinckle on the skin.

      But great modeling of course , it’s a fantasy movie you’re doing here so you’re free to play with the proportion.

      Peace :-).

    14. gustav Says:

      kaeru this just the 1st stage, I think the wrinkles will come later =P

    15. D Says:

      That’s great modelling right there, and it looks great; although I do agree that the adult dragon – with bigger eye areas in comparison to the concept art’s – seem to look youngish. The difference is that David’s drawings had eyes that weren’t deep-set in relatively expansive eye sockets. I personally prefer that characteristic, myself.

      But the modelling process looks to be doing good. I hope for frequent updates on the modelling progress to see these models evolve! πŸ˜€

    16. D Says:

      (By “that characteristic”, I meant it not being deep-set, etc.) πŸ˜‰

    17. Carlos Passos Says:

      Angela rocks.

    18. Elubie Says:

      Sweeet! I do think the baby dragon has some cuteness and proportions look fine for me, maybe a tad bigger eyes, depending on how ‘cute’ you want to go. I love the fact that it really looks like a dragon baby (wild and a bit weird) and not like a stuffed toy dragon puppy.

      The adult dragon could overall be a bit longer for me and have a tad longer snout to move from the adolescent to a more adult proportion. Maybe it’s just that it’s modelled in a kind of crouched position though. To judge proportions it might also be helpful to see both side by side in the same screenshot so you can better compare relative sizes.

      Does the dragon in Sintel hunt for prey? If so, he might need a bit stronger lower jaw to grab and tear meat from his prey.These things are hard to tell without knowing the full story and background πŸ˜‰ and the design (model sheet) is the same, so I might also be quite off.

      This will be jaw-dropping model once it’s finished and animated! I think the wings will work very well, more convincing than many dragon pictures I’ve seen. I can see both dragons flying!

      And thanks for sharing all your progress, it’s really fun to get all those glimpses into making Sintel.

    19. renderdemon Says:

      Nice works!

    20. renderdemon Says:

      Nice work!

    21. Malcolm Zaloon Says:

      Hi Angela!

      Just to introduce myself:
      IΒ΄m Malcolm Zaloon – Lighting TD – XSI Generalist/TD, i work with Softimage for 12 years.

      I love see the actual evolution of Blender, iΒ΄m very enthusiastic about Blender future.

      Your dragon WIP is fantastic, i love the progress of modeling…
      iΒ΄m thinking that i have a film that can be a great inspiration to your dragon sculpting, and for the people of shader/rig/animation too.
      the film is “The Water Horse Legend of the Deep”, do you know?
      i love this film, is fantastically well made, itΒ΄s not a dragon, but the “monster” is very organic, realistic feel, and very well animated. itΒ΄s really a good inspiration…(FX by Weta digital/workshop)

      Keep the fantastic work Angela!
      this is the link for the film scenes: (trailer and pictures)
      Clip (must see)
      Official site: (pictures, etc)

      Congratulation for all crew!

    22. alalo Says:

      Neat work, Angela! πŸ™‚

    23. Eibriel Says:

      It’s so perfect….

    24. BonE Says:

      I really enjoy how you (collectively) stay away from cliches! No Bambi Baby Dragons πŸ˜€

    25. BonE Says:

      PS: will the .blends be given out eventually? I’d really like to see them.

    26. MD Says:

      I think the adult dragon looks kind of strange and not huge/impressive at all…
      I am not sure whether this is intentional or not.

      I think the reason is that his front legs look like arms. And if you imagine a “real” dragon that is some 20 m tall or so, he probably wouldn’t have such huge “arms”, it would rather be something more T-Rex-ish, small and thin arms.

      But then again, I don’t know the script, so maybe it’s not even supposed to be a huge dragon, but rather a small one.


    27. kernel_script Says:

      I see, once again, a common mistake made by a lot of artists when drawing/modeling dragons and or big creatures with wings. Not the 2D and 3D art, the 2D and 3D art are beautiful and absolutely well done, but there is a anatomy problem: The dragon wings are too short and too lightweight compared to the dragon body size and weight. Creatures with that kind of body design can’t fly. It gives a very unrealistic look to the creature too. If the objective is a cartoon-like dragon, then there is no problem, since that kind of design would fit.

      Dragons have a dinosaur/lizard like body, and are big. Gravity is suposely to work differently with it than it does with a bird or bat. Therefore, a dragon would need a bigger and better wing structure to support it’s body size and weight and obey gravity.

      Here some references of what I’m trying to point out:

      Would be great if Sintel don’t make that mistake.

    28. myway880 Says:

      awesome work and a great start
      one observation about the feet
      most flaying creature have a back clew instead of the ankle so they can land on narrow things but this dragon don’t even have a normal ankle in its foot , it looks more like a four legged creature but without the front leg which mean it can lose its footing when landing

    29. D Says:

      Seeing as how the dragon designs have already passed the first stage, I think the dragon animation will need a lot of thought and creativity in mechanisms of behavior to make up for the non-optimal anatomy.

      This is an oppurtunity! To show something potentially impressive and original in realistic movements of a fantasy creature could a point of esteem for the movie.

      If someone in the Durian team has an understanding or intuition about the mechanics of anatomy and behavior, they may devise a set of behavioral traits for the dragon that stem from its anatomy and implement it in animation with physical concordance.

    30. Robo3Dguy Says:

      Very cool models! Good stuff πŸ™‚

    31. Ton Says:

      kernel_script: if you email me the urls I can edit them in (ton at blender org).

      We certainly want to ensure flying dragons look physically acceptable too. One way is to make the wings larger, another is to visually clearly that the body weights less than the volume would seem… he’s got fire inside you know! πŸ˜‰

    32. necro Says:

      Hy πŸ™‚
      i can see some quad-isles in the mid of every wing-bones. What is the reason for modeling these isles? Is this for beautiful bending the wings later (around the x-axis i guess)

    33. Jacob Says:

      Looks great. I guess its becuase its the first stage of the prossess but the adult dragon looks like just a fatter version of the baby, altho the concept shows differently

    34. kernel_script Says:

      OK. I emailed it to you.

      That’s nice Ton, glad to know that you guys are aware/worried about that issue πŸ™‚

    35. Blender for mayor Says:

      Great modeling! Another great source for dragons is the movie, “Reign of Fire”

    36. Guybrush Threepwood Says:

      That’s not fair!!
      I’m starting to get excited already now – so how will this end up in six months? You have to stop posting almost every week great stuff. Serious. Imagine all the Blender Community getting crazy and enthusiastic. We become addicted to look every morning AND during lunch break, if we can be the first one to catch the new post. I catch myself already checking more than twice a day the Durian blog. Sometimes I even forget to drink my coffee, being overwhelmed from the news.
      This has to stop immediately!!! I vote for pure text based Durian blog.


    37. -jay- Says:

      Considering the fact that dragons aren’t actually real creatures I feel they are best left up to the artist’s aesthetic and creativity. They have varied quite a bit historically and across cultures, and it would be interesting to see what constitutes something being a dragon pushed further.

      As a side note, if you want to be realistic, this is a cold climate, and having larger wings would be more surface area to lose body heat from πŸ˜‰

    38. Socceroos Says:

      very well modeled. I think you’re doing brilliant work Angela!

      Only thing I will say is that the adult dragon looks a bit uninspiring. I’m not sure on the details of the script, but this dragon looks like a fat lizard.

      The way I imagine dragons is more sleek and ‘noble’, with a frightening/terrifying/awe inspiring appearance that makes one cower in its presence but also feel honoured.

      I get the feeling with this model that this dragon is more like the fat kid in the neighbourhood that has freckles.

      Make it more mean and awe inspiring. =D

    39. Max Says:

      I wish you had kept using the 4-armed Shaman, I liked him way more than the old guy. πŸ™

    40. MeshWeaver Says:

      nice πŸ˜€ i take it 2.5 is working well? πŸ˜‰

      i’ve done 2 small projects in 2.5, and it works pretty well – the alpha, anyway… i have the impression all of you are using the most recent versions πŸ˜€

    41. Riboshom Says:

      The wings looks strange to me…

      I haven’t take care of this detail in the concepts, but having the arms integrated to the wings is not very dragon-ish, IMO.
      It looks more like a giant bat with hands.

      The more used concept is a big lizard with 4 arms, the upper ones being bat wings (weird “hands” with long fingers, with a memberane over them) and the lower ones being just that, forelegs.

      Well, it’s just me…

    42. Max Puliero Says:


      just wait the sulpted part… I think you need ad optimized version of blender, allowing bilions polygons!

    43. kike sanz Says:

      The baby and adult Dragon are physically similar to flying dinosaurs(Pterosaurs) and Bats.
      Dragons –> Pterosaurs , unicorn –> horse.
      when are we going to see THE SLUG or Snail?

    44. Jonathan Merritt Says:

      Nice models! I like the fact that the thoracic limbs of the creature are its wings… this matches all known flying vertebrates. (Some dragons are drawn with forelimbs as well as wings – effectively giving them 6 “legs”.)

      Some other comparative anatomy notes:
      – The chest is *very* shallow for a flying creature. Normally, the pectoral muscles are very large and have a huge attachment area. Take a look at some bird skeletons.
      – I don’t see any evidence of clavicle or coracoid bones, which are common to birds and pterosaurs. These would appear to outline the base of the neck, as they do in humans. Note that most quadrupeds (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) don’t possess these bones; probably because they have very limited motion in adduction and abduction.

    45. JustinBarrett Says:

      The baby dragon seems right on, but I’m not liking the adult dragon….seems to have baby fat, as a matter of fact, does not look much different from the baby dragon….has anyone seen bambi? good transformation of character in the end of the movie….it is more what I was expecting, but I do not know the story so….it may be perfect the way it is, but it just doesn’t sell “dragon” visually…..more like flying overweight bat…I mean this in the most constructive way….seriously.

    46. tyrant monkey Says:

      @Jonathan Merrit, agh Jon you my friend missed the great educational lecture provided by own resident dragon, cyborgdragon.

      dragons are of the six limbed variety, four legs two wings. what you have here is not a full on western dragon but a wyvern two legs two wings.

      I thought nothing of this when cyborgdragon mentioned it but believe it or not in the realm of fantasy works there is actually a distinction

    47. Elakimein Says:

      It is cool to see a take on dragons that is not “industry standard”. This is a very unique creature and it has a lot of possibilities for animation, especially the difference between the baby and the adult versions.

      (More important is that we will now get the tools to create such highly detailed creatures that can be animated in blender.)

    48. myway880 Says:

      sorry but i have to insist ,with the front hands as wing they cant be used for anything but flying and they are not even equipped with clews for any thing else
      for example
      – they cant be used in a fight without unfurling them and even then without the clews they wont help any
      – they cant used for pining the pray so it can tear it with its jaws .
      – when landing most of the dragon wight is at front so it need something to break the acceleration with and even if it uses the front arms for that without some very creative animation they will break the bones as they are much too thin for that wight(with sintel as action movie there should be a lot of ruph landing plus the wight of dorean on the nick) .
      – and the last thing all flying things hunt from the air how can this dragon catch any thing without some kind back clew
      so unless the sintel have no scenes with these kind if situations i don’t see how this would work

    49. Benjamin Bailey (Banor) Says:

      Simply stunning work, Angela! Love the topology πŸ˜€

    50. Ramon miranda Says:

      hi Angela , i follow your work carefully. i love the way you model .very clean. i canΒ΄t give advices or tips becouse i am newbie at 3d in comparission of you.
      Then my words are to encourage you and give energy so.. GO GO GO Angela
      Keep working .You are doing a great job.

      greets also to all durian members

    51. tyrant monkey Says:

      psst myway880 want to let me let you in on a little secret. Its good I promise. Well here it is, ‘its a movie the are making’ not a national geographic special.

      Movies take liberties with science all the time. Like ever notice in sci-fi movies there is always sound in space and gravity seems to magically work all the time.

      Dragons never exisited so you are free to make it up as you go along. That’s the whole point of fantasy really to imagine a world or time where the rules of this one don’t quiet apply.

    52. Guybrush Threepwood Says:

      We should write a standardization about dragons.
      How about ISO 90747: Non-mechanical flying objects.
      Ton, you could spend some time in BrΓΌssel. I mean you are used to do the whole administrative work…

    53. angela Says:

      Thanks for everyone’s constructive feedback. We appreciate it! I’ve added an updated pic of the Dragon Adult to the images πŸ™‚

      @ BonE: .blends will be given out at 2nd stage.

      @ necro: overall topology, including wing-bones, still needs a bit more work for better deformations. Will be improved at 2nd stage.

      @ MeshWeaver: yes, all 2.5 here, and all’s well πŸ™‚

      @ kike sanz: the giant snail is no more πŸ™

    54. MeshWeaver Says:

      cool, 2.5 πŸ˜€ there any chance we can get the builds you use? πŸ˜‰ no, just kidding πŸ˜€

      the dragons are awesome! πŸ˜€ I see several people say that it’s not a “classic” western dragon (or something), but I find it fine πŸ˜€ not all dragons are the same in stories – one story that comes to mind is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: there are four different dragons from different regions of the world, and they’re all a bit different (or very different)

      well, they’re really awesome πŸ˜€ GO DURIAN! :-DDD

    55. Elubie Says:

      Angela, thanks for the update! In the comparison, the sizes and proportions work well for me. Also my previous remarks about the proportions and the jaw seem less of a concern now having seen the dragon from other angles.

      In other words – epic!

      I’m really looking forward to seeing the final rigged model in motion. As for hunting, I’d imagine the dragon either grabbing the prey with the back ‘feet’ and lifting it off to carry to a safe place or just grabbing the prey in the mouth. Landing would probably also be on the back legs as well as flying off by running with all or most weight on the back legs.

    56. D Says:

      The wings are huge now! πŸ˜€ And the tail, too! Congratuations! Now, for the missing fifth digit. πŸ˜›

    57. D Says:

      Or maybe the pinkie migrated to the elbow during fetal development? Is that even possible?

    58. D Says:

      Well, forget it; evolution can do whatever the hell it likes! πŸ˜›

    59. yoff Says:

      So its a wyvern rather than a wyrm, who cares? I am sure the script was not intended so literally…
      The anatomy is essentially that of a bat, so obviously it works.
      I did like the strange angle of the digit closest to the body in the concept. It gave it a unique look and should make for an interesting elongated wing profile.
      But I guess it could be problematic in practice, is that why you changed it?

      Beautiful modeling, Angela…

    60. Simon Says:

      The body of the model looks fantastic, especially the latest version (proponents of six-limbed dragons notwithstanding), but I still think there’s something tamer, less predatory, about the eyes and “beak” than in David’s drawings. I would especially concentrate on the eyes – as mentioned above still a bit too big and IMO not raked enough to make it look like a full adult.

    61. kernel_script Says:

      Great improvement with the Dragon, looks awesome!
      The Giant Snail is no more?? Nooooooooooooooo!! πŸ™
      For what reason? Would be so cool : /

    62. Jendrzych Says:

      D said: “Or maybe the pinkie migrated to the elbow during fetal development? Is that even possible?”

      I also don’t like the little finger growing out of the elbow. It makes the skeleton’s structure naive.

    63. kaeru Says:

      Wow great update on the adult dragon :clapclap: , seems much more massive !
      /me eagerly waitin’ to see him once he has been sculpted !

      Peace :-).

    64. Jordan Says:

      Sweet can I have a copy or hatching scene please when your finished I LOVE DRAGONS,NO JOKE!Also a taking off and landing scene with a roar with sound please ,PLEASE I LOVE DRAGONS SO MUCH IM OBSESSED WITH THEM!

    65. tyrant monkey Says:

      the adult dragon, who I suppose is the mommy dragon looks awesome with the new edits though I think she could use some spikes etc to really polish it off. Perharps you should take a look at the Hungarian Horntail from the Harry Potter movie – “The Goblet of Fire” or perharps the ones from Reign of fire when it comes to the sculpting stage those are some super spikey dragons.

    66. Rudiger Says:

      I really love David’s dragon concept art, as it’s quite unique compared to dragon designs we’re used to, but it’s still obvious it’s a dragon. I can see a lot of dinosaur influence in it, almost like a cross between a Pterodactyl and a Triceratops. It’s also incredible how faithful your models were to the concept drawings. I wonder whether we’ll get these early versions of the model on the DVD, or just the final ones used in the movie.

      It’s also hard to judge how long the dragon should be when it is in this hunched up position, presumably for walking on land. Actually, I kind of like how awkward it’ll look when shuffling along, as it’s true place is in the air. I’m sure it’ll look very different when it’s stretched out and flying.

      Also, congratulations on listening to people’s critiques. For me, this is what an OpenMovie is all about!

    67. JustinBarrett Says:

      I would love to download this model and play with it….or at least the concept art.

    68. alalo Says:

      Love the update! πŸ™‚ Shame there is no more snail. I was looking forward to it. Oh well.. I guess I can imagine why it was removed, though. I searched the net a bit and did not come up with any similar concept. I guess I shall steal “borrow” the idea and play with it πŸ˜€


    69. alalo Says:

      oh.. ^^ that “steal” word just popped before borrow o_O

    70. Gu4r@ Says:

      UPDATE! now he can fly!


    71. Rudiger Says:

      You guys have to put a giant snail somewhere in the background in one of the shots as an in-joke! I’m sure someone in the Blender community would be willing to model it if it was assured to appear in the background somewhere.

    72. Yann Says:

      Is it me, or the baby has only one finger, and the adult 2? Maybe it’s just the camera, but it seems a bit awkward πŸ™‚

    73. Jakub "Kubeczek77" BatΓ³g Says:

      I think it should have a lot longer neck. Then it would look more like dragon. Next thing is that dragon should have some thorns(pricks- I don’t know which word is ok :p sry) on back.

    74. Francisco Ortiz Says:

      I like It! It looks like a triceratops, my favorite dinosaur!

      It’s impossible to prove that one scarab can fly by talking about Its form, but It does. πŸ™‚

    75. SeanJM Says:

      I love you David, don’t get me wrong–but this dragon doesn’t scare me. So since this is a community driven project, I thought I’d throw in a concept.

      This dragon is scary. And looks like it breathes fire.

      This is a partial concept with no wings.

    76. D.C. Says:

      It looks too much like a cute little bat.
      Pretty much, not so impressive.
      I mean, come on! You can do better!

    77. SeanJM Says:

      D.C. What do you think of mine? POst above you.

    78. kopi Says:

      Angela, you are so awesome!

    79. phil Says:

      longer nose, more teeth!!!

    80. Chaz Says:

      Your modeling skill is excellent. So Please take this as constructive criticism Your dragon definitely needs longer neck, stronger body more muscles. Good reference is dragon in Big Game Hunting-Monster Hunter Tri. This dragon or creature looks like it can do some serious damage. Your dragon looks batlike and kind of cute and wimpy.