I can’t believe I’m working on my final diorama already! Fortunately I’m feeling much better than I was when I made a start on the Dragon’s Garden, and hopefully this’ll continue on for the rest of the project. I’m getting much better at taking breaks and feel less of a sense of stressed urgency than I have previously, which definitely helps.
Just like with my previous dioramas, I’ve done all the concepting work this week, and also made a start on the modelling. This diorama had the shortest concepting time of all, mostly due to the fact that I had quite a strong image in my head of what I wanted to create. I did actually try to broaden my design ideas out a little, but I found that there are very few compelling designs that I could create with the environment I was faced with.
The book excerpt I am working from is based on a glacier. As you can imagine, there isn’t really much going on on a glacier in the way of plant life and so on that I can use to my advantage. As such, the diorama is very simple at first glance, with the colour and character coming from the focal point; the tent. The tent will also be explorable inside to give more interest to the scene. In the books, the owner of the tent has a fight with another member of the camp, and so I may add blood stains and signs of a scuffle in the snow. Currently, the way I will deal with the snow is the biggest concern to me; I want the snow to appear thick and trampled, and I’m not sure how to go about this convincingly.
For concepting, I did some sketches first to try and realise the abstract idea in my head;
I found this quite difficult because I didn’t want to create a diorama that was too big to deal with, but I also couldn’t get a nice composition with a smaller diorama. This was largely because a better diorama tends to have multiple tiers to lead the eye around the scene and to just generally create a nicer composition, but this was near impossible with just snow and rock. From looking at images of glaciers, I knew that it was virtually just snow and ice, and I’d need to twist this reality a little to create even a remotely nice composition. I played with adding a wall of rock behind the tent to create a frame for the tent, but I found it impossible to create a nice silhouette without just making the rock wall huge. Definitely this kind of scene works best as a huge vista with a splash of colour for the tents.
Eventually, though, I came up with a scene that worked quite nicely, and I was pretty pleased with the blockout.
I decided that I would use a large moon as the back plane/’tier’ of the scene, so that it doesn’t end too abruptly beyond the tent. For the shape of the ice/rock, I was inspired by this image in my Pinterest board;
Jonah also pointed out that inverted trianglular shapes are often used to reflect instability, and asked if I was sure I wanted to use that kind of imagery. The answer is yes, as this nicely reflects the instability and turmoil of the main character’s relationships at this point in the books.
Fine art yo.
I then went on to painting my final concept idea for the exterior scene, which went through next to no iterations. I arrived at an outcome I was happy with very quickly.
I will work out the details of the tent panel designs when I come to creating them in 3D.
I then created a concept for the tent interior using the book excerpt and a list of potential assets I had taken from the book. I also used this as an opportunity to get some painting practise, and had fun rendering the scene.
I was careful to imagine how much a man could carry on his back in a large pack, as described in the book, when creating the concept for the scene. I didn’t want to furnish it too lavishly with luxuries despite the characters extravagant tastes. I stuck exclusively to what I could draw from the book.
Since creating the concepts, I have modelled the modular rocks for the base of the scene. I decided to make the rocks modular this time to avoid problems with texture resolution and time. Sculpting 4 detailed rocks is a better use of my time then creating a huge mass of blobby rocks. I’ve also learned about some new brushes since creating the Dragon Garden, and this really helped with giving the rocks the sharpness I wanted.
Next job is texturing them. 🙂 After that I’ll begin work on the ice and snow.
So far I’m pretty happy with how everything is going.