Practice 2: Live Brief Ideation (LB 1)

Practice 2

Initial Ideas

I have a few goals for this project. Last semester, I was able to take a character through the full pipeline (albeit in not the most optimized way, i.e. still using XGen hair rather than hair cards and with a fairly high polycount). However, because I was learning and experimenting with each stage as I went along, this took me months, and I wasn’t able to spend very long reinforcing my learning before moving to the next piece. I’d like to become more comfortable (and much faster!) with making characters from scratch, refine my techniques, and add a solid design to my portfolio. I’d also like to tackle some new but vital skills: hair cards, cleaner retopology, and better use of texture spaces, to name a few.

My initial thought when I heard the ‘sci-fi’ prompt was to look to some of my favorite properties in that genre: Star Wars, Horizon Zero Dawn, Mass Effect…They all have one thing in common: they’re not pure sci-fi, but rather a mix of science and fantasy elements. What draws me to them isn’t the technology, but rather the world-building, the character interactions, and the magic of it all. With that, I’d like to find a character that’s appropriately sci-fi but still has that fantasy side as well. I considered trying to create sci-fi versions of, say, Lord of the Rings characters, but didn’t have a very strong vision in my head for what that would look like. I’m aware that time is extremely limited – 5 weeks isn’t much for a character – and I know I struggle designing from scratch.

A mash-up of a few characters seemed like the obvious solution to this – I remember seeing an amazing set of Dragon Age/Mass Effect character combinations that I was sorely tempted by, but ultimately decided most of them were too far into the ‘fantasy’ realm to fully fit the prompt.

HZD Daenerys

That was when I recalled a Daenerys (Game of Thrones) and Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn) fanart by Whitney Lanier that I had admired ages ago. It was the perfect mix of two of my favorite series, would offer me a great opportunity to work on more advanced textile design and hard-surface armor, and fit well within the scope of the project. It also has some modular pieces that I can leave off if I run out of time, such as the dragon companion. And I just think it’s a beautifully aesthetic design overall!

Seeing that this was a prompt to a Facebook character art challenge (and not official or widely published fanart), I wanted to reach out to the artist for permission to sculpt it. Luckily, they were very kind and enthusiastic about this project, so it’s set!


AndrewRyanArt. (2012). Dragon Effect. [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 February 2022].

Lanier, W., 2017. CDC: Mother of Machines. [image] Available at: <; [Accessed 17 February 2022].

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