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Dream Angel, Author at Firebelly Productions

Are you of great virtue? Meet Kiryoku!

Kiryoku is a Kirin centaur. She’s half Chinese unicorn. Though there are different words and legends, the idea behind the creature remains the same: punish the wicked.

kiryokuKiryoku only appears to those of great virtue. Dream Angel has a strong sense of justice, and her friends also have many virtues. Though the Keres might see her, they cannot easily understand her.

Kiryoku’s another of the species Nyxus deemed “unnecessary” and marked for hunting. Dream Angel found her in one of the Keres’ traps. She was among the earliest allies and friends Dream Angel made.

The legend of the Kirin is from China, Japan and Korea. Kiryoku’s appearance comes from the Chinese and Korean legend, and Kirin is a Japanese word. The creature, has the head of a dragon, the antlers and body of a deer, the scales of a fish and the tail of an ox. I ended up with a mixture without the dragon parts and instead made it a centaur.

Kiryoku means energy. I’ve often depicted and described her as skilled with a sword, which blends neatly with her scaled body. This gives the impression that she’s unarmed. This falls neatly in line with the legendary creatures’ ‘punish the wicked’ nature.

Though she cares about her appearance, she’s not especially vain about it. She’ll get into the thick of the dirtiest battles and walk away with a satisfied look on her face when it’s over, even if she’s caked in mud.

To some, she might look helpless and even gentle, but being on the wrong side of her sword is quite dangerous. True to her name, she’s very energetic and very fast as well.

She’s not much for jokes, though she does enjoy them. In battle, she prefers being serious. When she met Jake, after a couple of his jokes, she couldn’t keep a straight face around him. Every time she sees him, she starts laughing. Not always loudly, but she would be found sniggering.

What do you think? Is Kiryoku an interesting character? Kiryoku makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure.

Playful but dangerous Daybright

Daybright is today’s special feature. This even-tempered stallion might seem boring to some since it takes quite a bit to really upset his calm demeanor. Just like his twin, however, he only allows one rider: Red Nite Soldier.

daybright

According to mythology, (depending on the story you find) Daybright was one of the two horses that drew the Sun God Apollo’s chariot across the sky each day and was cared for by Apollo’s sister Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn.

So, he’s not especially interesting mythologically, he’s not especially interesting unless he’s angered in my story, why should you care? Hmmmm…. He’s cute? Just a little chuckle there. He’s more than just cute and he does get interesting in battle. Very interesting at times.

His interest lies in the most dangerous and desperate situations, though. His special ability is to become water. It doesn’t happen often and only when all other options are exhausted, but he has gotten our heroes out of a couple very tight scrapes.

I bet you’re wondering why a horse that in mythology would draw the sun chariot across the sky would be able to turn into water. Well, that’s a good question… I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

What do you think? Is Daybright an interesting character? Daybright makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #2, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop is his soft, cuddly plush action figure. Who, like his human counterparts, has a full wire armature that makes him able to stand on his own and hold a pose.

 

Playful but dangerous Daybright

Daybright is today’s special feature. This even-tempered stallion might seem boring to some since it takes quite a bit to really upset his calm demeanor. Just like his twin, however, he only allows one rider: Red Nite Soldier.

daybright

According to mythology, (depending on the story you find) Daybright was one of the two horses that drew the Sun God Apollo’s chariot across the sky each day and was cared for by Apollo’s sister Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn.

So, he’s not especially interesting mythologically, he’s not especially interesting unless he’s angered in my story, why should you care? Hmmmm…. He’s cute? Just a little chuckle there. He’s more than just cute and he does get interesting in battle. Very interesting at times.

His interest lies in the most dangerous and desperate situations, though. His special ability is to become water. It doesn’t happen often and only when all other options are exhausted, but he has gotten our heroes out of a couple very tight scrapes.

I bet you’re wondering why a horse that in mythology would draw the sun chariot across the sky would be able to turn into water. Well, that’s a good question… I’ll leave that up to your imagination.

What do you think? Is Daybright an interesting character? Daybright makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #2, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop is his soft, cuddly plush action figure. Who, like his human counterparts, has a full wire armature that makes him able to stand on his own and hold a pose.

 

Our lovely leading lady Dream Angel!

Dream Angel is today’s star. She’s a fascinating character with a fair variety of interesting undiscovered powers, but there are some really cool things you don’t know about her.

dream angel

Dream Angel’s original name was Destiny. She was based much more closely on Sailor Moon, too. Initially, when I first started drawing her I set the time period to right after she graduated high school – the day after.

If you’ve read the Sailor Moon manga, you know that in the first book Bunny goes racing around getting ready for school and quite clumsily. She does similar in the anime, but it was the manga I was going from. Destiny also goes racing around getting ready for school but as she darts past the calendar, she remembers she graduated.

Breezer, Katrilina and Hanaji have changed some too since then. Hanaji retained his name from this earlier story. There’s more to this early story line, but it won’t be discussed here. Actually, there have been several early stories and one even won second place at the county fair.

Her powers are largely unknown, even to Breezer and Ryu who’ve been her best advisers and mentors. So, any new abilities discovered tend to be a surprise for everyone, hero and villain alike. These moments of surprise have caused both sides to stop fighting long enough to try and understand what happened and one side or the other takes advantage of the moment of hesitation.

So, what do you think? Is she an interesting character? Dream Angel makes her comic book debut in (of course) Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop are 3 Dream Angel outfits for Arora Arum.

3D is lazy?

I’ve heard it numerous times from critics: “3D is lazy! You should do it by hand!” Really? I wonder if they’ve ever tried to use this medium. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not point-and-click. It’s hours of minute adjusting, extreme attention to detail, fussing, tweaking, arguing and sometimes even swearing to get a scene just right. All so a reader can enjoy it for maybe 2-3 minutes as they read the page.

Lazy. Unrealistic. I get a laugh at the complaints when I think of how far this “baby” medium has come. Then I laugh louder when I can prove that even industry professionals use this medium with extremely impressive results. A fantastic example sells things right on the DAZ3D website: John Van Fleet. Here’s his story on the site of how he found DAZ and has put it to incredibly good use for both DC and Marvel! The renders shown on that article page alone are enough to be a total knockout for just about any “lazy” argument I’ve heard.

For someone like me, it’s a matter of learning, getting better tools, studying professionals and improving over time. I have little doubt even John Van Fleet’s earliest renders weren’t near as good as they are now. It takes time to learn, just like any other medium.

So, instead of the useless insults of calling someone lazy for using 3D, how about encouraging them to learn and improve? It’s like comparing a stick figure to the Mona Lisa. I doubt Leonardo DaVinci got that good at painting overnight. Take that into consideration before insulting someone that’s learning to be artistic. Perhaps then instead of being insulting, you’ll be more helpful with what you say to them about their art so they’ll grow and improve.

Anatomy of a plush action figure

All the human plush action figures in the shop mention having a wire armature, but I’ve come across people who don’t know what that means. So, let’s explore that and learn what it means, shall we?

If you haven’t explored the shop, I suggest you do. The plush action figures are an impressive sight. The question is, what do I mean when I say they’ve got a full body wire armature?

I’m sure you’ve seen a normal rag doll – limp, soft, cuddly – right? Most people know about Raggedy Ann and Andy. They’re prime examples of rag dolls. What’s that got to do with the plush action figures and what’s the difference? Let’s analyze that.

A doll (stuffed, of course) is limp, soft and cuddly. This one isn’t stuffed yet, but quite limp. If stuffed as it is, it would still be pretty limp, soft and cuddly, but not capable of being posed. There’s our key difference.

Looks like a stick figure, doesn’t it? Well, in place of a full skeleton, this wire gets to play the part of one. This goes inside that limp body and makes it stiff but still flexible. Sure, there’s still flexibility limits – how far the fabric and thread will stretch with the wire – but with this wire inside, the figure becomes more than a doll. It starts to become a plush action figure. Okay, in doll making terms, that would translate to art doll, but since we’re talking comic book characters, plush action figure sounds better, right? Moving on to the armature inside the body now.

Not so limp anymore, but kinda flat, right? Let’s finish the job, but pardon the nudity! We’re not done yet.

From here, underwear is sewn on. Along with hair. The face is sculpted and painted. Even some body details are sculpted. Once dressed, this character is ready for his close up! Carefully posed, yes, he could possibly stand on his own, but having a stand to help is always better. Let’s take a look at some finished examples:

The ever-charming Dream Angel looks beautiful, doesn’t she? Yep, she’s got that wire inside and if you look closely at her knees, they’ve been needle sculpted and so has her face. Yep, she’s in the shop and quite available for purchase as Arora with her Dream Angel outfit also available for purchase.

This gentleman and his two brothers are quite the spectacular sight. Like Dream Angel, they sport the wire in their bodies, but in his case, it’s that stunning red dragon on the back of his shirt that’s the real eye-catcher. He’s in the shop along with his brothers. This fellow’s Restu Sazaisaki.

Miss Pink Hammer here demonstrates just how interesting the wire armature can be as she holds a cool pose to show off her hammer. She’s also in the shop.

As you can see, these plush action figures are a lot more interesting and full of surprises than an ordinary doll. On top of the wire, they have one more interesting feature that’s available, though: magnetic hands.

This feature is more for older collectors than kids, though, because the magnets are powerful and the accessories they enable the figures to hold quite small at times. For example, the weapons available in the shop are frequently small.

Small, and yes, can cause harm despite being soft like the figures that can hold them.

Fascinating, aren’t these action figures? Can plastic figures boast half as much flexibility? Perhaps larger ones might, but can they be hugged at night? No. Can they be washed when they get dirty? Not too easily. Well, there you have it. This should unravel the mystery of the plush action figures. Awesome, aren’t they?

Deadly legend: Nyxus’s wyvern form

nyxus wyvernThere is a great deal that is unknown about Nyxus’s wyvern form and Nyxus herself isn’t likely to tell. Some say it happens every 100 years, some say every 5 years. There is even a heated debate about if she’s a true wyvern in this form or not.

Some legends tell that this transformation is a once every 100 years type that only lasts 24 hours. It happens just after a full solar eclipse and for the following 24 hours, she’s large enough to cause a great deal of damage.

There are some key differences between a dragon and a wyvern, as Ryu would point out. A wyvern only has two legs, is usually darker and much uglier in color compared to a dragon, who is brighter colored. The most important difference Ryu would point out though, is that a wyvern can’t breathe fire. That alone is a plus in favor of the heroes since they have a bad encounter with Nyxus after she takes this form.

With all the legends and controversy surrounding this form, debates often get heated. Even the Keres won’t divulge the facts about it as it’s a key advantage to keeping the people under control. The legends all say death surrounds this black creature and that angering it is a sure way to die.

The one redeeming factor is that once the 24 hours have passed, Nyxus is in a weakened state. This is a little-known fact, though as she uses fear to keep people from attacking her while she’s weak. This is one time she puts the whole castle on ultra-high alert and assures nobody will come anywhere near while she recovers.
In spite of the fact that Ryu can defeat her in this form, he still needs Dream Angel’s help. Dream Angel, in turn, needs a boost in power to achieve the strength needed to help defeat her. The problem with that is the new power is difficult to control and leaves her exhausted.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #10, which is available in the shop. It’s a good idea to consider getting the books that came before it and there’s collection books to help with this. Also in the shop is her plush action figure.

Deadly beauty: Akhlys

 

Akhlys is a deadly beauty. She’s beautiful and she knows it. She flaunts it. She welcomes guys falling over themselves at her feet.

Akhlys

The problem for those guys falling over themselves at her feet: poison gas and her temper.

Being the passive-aggressive type and vain, she often gets what she wants. When she doesn’t, the poor soul who resists gets poisoned.

Teikou no Senshi, for her natural resistance to poison, is often at the center of Akhlys’s anger. Having no fighting skill to speak of, Akhlys can’t stand that the younger girl is able to resist her poison and heal her victims as well.

Her charm and beauty is highly effective on men in particular. Among the few who’ve resisted are Dream Angel’s father and friends.

Trying to charm Jake Arum in particular, she found him more resistant than most. Not only did this anger her, it confused her as well. How could an ordinary man resist her so strongly? She didn’t know, but in her confusion, she didn’t poison him.

Unfortunately for Virgo, Torakatai, Red Nite Soldier and Blue Nite Soldier, her charm had more effect, but not for long. Upon trying to attack, she used her poison and they had to escape for help.

Even Ryu and Breezer have had to resist her charms and later, her poison gas.

Her debut appearance in comic books is Dream Angel #1, found in the shop. You’ll also find her charming and quite adorable plush action figure in the shop, as well. Luckily, her plush action figure can’t use poison gas the way she does in the comic books. All she wants is a hug instead! Will you give her a hug?

Determined delightful Deirdra Dragon

South Bartin Dragon News is the major news outlet of South Bartin City. This puts a lot of pressure on the Dragon family to word the news carefully or risk repercussions from Nyxus that would cause them an awful lot of trouble.

deirdra dragon

Deirdra Dragon is the only daughter of her widower father and is quite determined about how she reports the news. True to her family name, she can be just as much a dragon as Ryu is physically at times. She’s still smart enough to be cautious about how she reports on incidents between Dream Angel, her friends and Nyxus and hers. Although she won’t openly support either side, she’s usually to be found on scene and frequently interviewing Larissa, who’s typically on crowd control.

Being on scene in the middle of the fighting usually presents a problem for the heroes and sometimes even the villains as she tends to get into the middle of things trying to get an interview. Since she’s a noncombatant, both sides – even unintentionally – take pains to avoid hurting her and sometimes find themselves getting hurt instead.

Deirdra’s photographer is just as interesting as Deirdra herself, though I’m not really qualified to formally discuss her character since she’s actually a real person. Melissa has yet to develop her character and by this I mean I don’t know exactly how much of her real-world personality she wants the character to reflect. It has been agreed that her character will always be nearby when Deirdra’s around, though. She’s always got a camera in hand and wearing an “I love photography” t-shirt. If you’re wondering how a real person could be the photographer of a fictional one, check out the 3D me page.

What do you think? Is Deirdra an interesting character? Deirdra makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to get the books that come before it so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure.

Challenge of 3D

3D is a challenge, there’s no doubt about that. All art is. Ask any artist and you’ll find very few who can say they didn’t spend a lot of time practicing to improve and the best ones are always looking for ways to improve further.

3D is no exception. Sure, the computer helps, but it can’t do the job itself. Sorry, we don’t have robots like the ones in I, Robot. So, no artistic computer. This means a person still has to create the scene.

True, sometimes it’s just fun to play around with a scene and see what happens. The result isn’t always good, though. Creating anything is a journey.

A playful mix of 2D and 3D. The result of a lot of practice!

The fun of creating does tend to be the journey. From posing nudes to paint hair and clothes to rendering HDRI and playing with a character using the HDRI as the background and light source. While the latter sounds easy, it’s not. There’s some pretty fussy settings involved and it’s taken many hours of practice – there’s a lot of that! – to get it right.

You’ll be agreeing with Anaplkete here a lot! There’s usually one little setting that can easily be overlooked that ruins a render.

Like anything, practice is the key. As the song in Barbie Princess Power says, “take a chance, mess it up! That’s okay we’re big enough to try it again!” For anyone looking to see what happens when you practice, that movie is a good choice. There’s plenty of messing up and practicing.

The real challenge of 3D is to practice constantly. Sometimes practicing is just simply having fun and sometimes it’s messing up to learn from the mistakes. Oh yes, don’t be afraid to tinker around with the out-of-the-box models. Not everyone is a skilled modeler!

Now, modeling has its own challenges and that’s something for an entirely different article. Anyone who thinks the out-of-the-box models can’t create art… well, that’s just silly.

So, is 3D a challenge? Absolutely. Is it art? Well, what else would it be called? It’s certainly not lazy and definitely takes a lot of time to learn, just like any other art form. The real challenge of 3D is to learn it. Like anything else, master the basics and it gets considerably more fun, but there’s always something new to learn!