Digital Painting #6 – Modern Japanese Fantasy Animation Style

DVDThe final digital painting style I want to explore a bit is one I saw a few weeks ago in a Japanese film called “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” by Fumihiko Sori. 

It’s a feature length animation set in the Dragon Age universe.  The story is about a woman called Cassandra and a good magic user called Galyan.  They track a child abducted by evil magic users called Blood Mages and try to get her back.  But they discover that the Blood Mages are in league with a traitor in the ‘church’ of that world which is called the Chantry.  I thought it was an excellent story but what I really loved was the animation.  Now I haven’t seen a ‘Making Of’ film about this so I’m not sure, but it looks like they used a good quality CGI engine to render the characters into standard 3D and then rendered the background a little more loosley.  But then they did two things which really took my breath away. 

  1. They used old school black (or dark) lineart on all the foreground characters and then gave them additional 2D effect shading (on top of the 3D effect)
  2. They additionally rendered armour and liquids and some other surfaces absolutely exquisitely.

The final result was, in my opinion, just beautiful to watch.  For me it is more than just an animated film, it’s a work of art.  I loved it.  I watched it originally via my DVD rental programme but I just had to buy the DVD after seeing it.

So here are some examples of this beautiful style: (Click and image to get into the gallery view and see bigger pictures.  NB: these images are owned by BioWare and Funimation who made the film.)

I want to have a go at using this style at some point myself but it will take quite a lot of work since I’ve got to shade for 3D animation and then add the 2D animation type shading too.  Still, it will be worth it if I can get something looking even half as good as the images in this film.


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