Joe Quick really blew me away with this magnificent creature!
For one, it's just a darned cool dragon sculpt!
For another, he sculpted it using the Genesis 8 Male base, which adds an enormous amount of possibilities for further morphing, posing, animating, texture resources... you name it!
And finally, he didn't just stop with the (incredibly awesome!!!) base product, but also created a Hatchling version, with all manner of extra features and textures - and then he also brought in partners to bolster its release:
And Joe, himself added yet another add-on: an amazing Dragon Fire VFX pack!
Let's take a closer look!
The standalone base product is impressive all on its own. Drago loads in fully ready to render in Iray in full HD complete with his added wings, tail, horns and teeth.
The wings and tail are Geografted HD items, so they'll automatically morph the mesh of Genesis 8 Male as we pose the main base of the rig. Posing and animating these elements is as easy as one might expect. There are no easy-pose dials on either of them, but they're both quite fun and easy to work with.
The teeth are conformed to the head and there are three varieties of horns to choose from.
Along with all of this, Drago comes with a great selection of different material options, which can be applied to all of Drago (including his added elements) as well as individual partial material presets. Very 'complete' thinking on Joe's part!
Below we can see the included material presets applied to the complete character.
My first test
I loaded in Drago and used Valzheimer's Octane Render Kit (ORK) to optimize him for OctaneRender, which was very cool how simple it went!
I applied the full pale, glossy Genesis 8 Male to Drago himself, then went to the Shader Presets portion of ORK to apply the pale skin preset to both the tail and wings, then the cloth - silk option for the wings membranes, and finally the glossy wood preset for the teeth and horns, but there are so many options in the ORK to choose from for doing these things.
After setting up the rest of OctaneRender with the environmental lighting and render settings to my liking, I saved my initial Base Drago character as a scene file.
I did that because my next test was going to be quick, down-and-dirty Hybrid aniMation!
I went to my Genesis 8 Male Posermocap aniBlocks and hovered over a few to get an idea of how well this was going to work on such a drastically altered shape. I was both surprised and amazed at how wonderful this was going to be for my project!
Of course, I expected there to be some odd joint rotations for a dragon. After all, I'm using human male animation data - meant for human male animation!
But Posermocap, as always, did not disappoint! There's always something in any of their packs to get a scene going.
I was really only interested in getting hip and legs movements - so in this situation I can use any of the aniBlocks, which was a relief. But even more, a lot of the other joint rotation data just worked with this ever-so-wonderful new dragon!
After performing the Hybrid part of the aniMation, I was utterly floored once again by how quickly Drago and his newly optimized materials rendered in OctaneRender! Lighting him using Valsheimer's realistic daytime presets was an absolute joy. This dragon looks incredible with good lighting as the shadows show off all of that HD sculpting that Joe painstakingly put into this creature.
Two fully rendered animations were a true joy, and the motions look fantastic!
Let's check out the rest of this bundle, shall we?
My next stop was to try some of the various texture options, since I have a particular need - a look that I'm after for my dragon in this first part of production.
It was a little disappointing that Daz 3d let slip that some of the texture maps are missing from the addons. Both Alternate Textures and Horns and the Hatchling addons are missing texture maps, which becomes apparent when we try to load them.
It's a simple thing, and I'm sure they'll fix it fairly quickly with an update.
In Alternate Textures and Horns, it's emissive maps for the eyes that are missing. They're just not there. It was something similar for Hatchling, if I recall correctly. But there were even more missing in that one.
However, by the time I got done telling Studio that it was okay that the maps are missing, I didn't really notice a problem, as the materials were still working without the missing maps. I didn't dig deeper yet because I know I'll get those maps soon enough. this is nothing more than a simple oversight. It's hard to see that these things are missing from an install, when they're not missing on your end.
I ended up using one of the materials presets from the Hatchling, since it seemed to fit the look I was after - but this is still very early for me with this bundle. I'll be exploring a lot more!
This addon kit is Awesome!
Not only do we get a cool little baby dragon to play with, but Hatchling also comes with more horns and a whole plethora of texture options!
I haven't tried the baby dragon itself yet, but the addon adds a full Hatchling character preset that loads up ready to render, like the adult version.
The materials options are immense. There are a lot to choose from making it really easy to get a dragon we want to use just using these two packs alone.
I must say that I'm really looking forward to using this adorable little baby dragon!!!
This (below) is the materials preset I used for my second test, and it looks amazing on the big dragon as well!
While we're talking about materials presets...
FenixPhoenix did and incredible job with this kit, and I can't wait to explore it more.
It's not just a bunch of textures and presets. Well... it is a bunch of textures and it has a lot of presets, but there's a lot more to it than that. And I'm not just talking about the fact that includes even more cool horn options to choose from. But those things alone instantly bring Drago HD up to being quite a complete dragon setup right from the launch!
FenixPhoenix did some really cool preset trickery in this pack.
We get overlays for adding effects to whichever skin we're using!
We get emissives for the eyes and wing membranes!
We get alternate versions of each of the main materials presets!!!
This is so cool!
It's really cool how they set it up to apply these different options. Instead of bogging down our runtimes with additional maps (which would have been okay too) they incorporated a system that applies overlays and emissives taking advantage of the LIE (Layered Image Editor) system in Daz Studio. Really Cool!!!
Earlier I said that Drago HD and the additional elements are pretty easy to work with for posing and animating, etc., but it's always nice to have some preset poses to help us get closer to what we need.
This set includes 32 full poses for Drago and all of his additional elements.
Everything from standing, fighting and flying to just plain being a dragon!
Muscleman also includes 4 additional poses. Two for Drago to interact with Genesis 8 Males and two for Drago to interact with Genesis 8 Female.
Here's just some of the poses it comes with
Hmmm... a dragon this cool should look pretty awesome with some effects, right?
But what effects do we use?
Oh... I've got it... Dragon Fire!!!
Joe Quick was thinking of everything!
This is a really interesting thing, and we don't need to have Drago HD to use it.
It's a bit of genius, coming with several elements that can be put together in different ways to get different effects - not just dragon fire.
He gives us a Beam, which looks like it must be articulated, looking at these promo shots. We also get a beam endcap smart prop.
To help complete the effect, we also get two Impact props and a Ball prop - and all of these elements come with a bunch of options!
So that's the Drago Fire and Fury Bundle.
You'll see this stuff in action when my first episode (or perhaps its trailer/teasers) are released, after which time I'll also be presenting some demonstrations and tutorials on how I work with all of these things.
Until then, render on, my friends!
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