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Here you will find a Work in Progress. Some thing I have wanted to do for many years but have never had the time. A modern version of the Clannfear. A demon monster from the world of The Elder Scrolls. I will update these pages in the coming weeks so please check back regularly


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Re-creating an old character using modern techniques. First, the sketch
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Origins

So first some history as to the creation of this character. About 20 years ago, I had an idea for a little critter called a "Rock Chisel". This was going to be a background creature for the Elder Scrolls universe. A rock jumping, Rock munching creature, with a beak and stumpy tail that would borrow in solid rock in search of food. I did a few sketches and some very rudimentary animation tests. And then came along Battlespire. This was going to be a quick game. 'Skunk works'. Small team, focused development. Get it done quickly, therefore we had to be very efficient with our resources. AS I had down some 3D sketches, and was some way into a 3D model, it was decided that it would work, with some changes, as a Daedra for the game.

Now, my 'cute' little critter was now going to be a nasty vicious demon, and I changed it's body type into something more appropriate. I wanted to give it a more eagle/vulture look, crossed with a lizard and a demon. Something with a Pumpkinhead like body. I'm not sure that what came out matched my imagination, but I did enjoy its creation, and animating the little bugger.

Above is a sketch I created of how I would like the new Clannfear to appear. This is not an official Bethesda directed piece. It's a itch I've been wanting to scratch for many a year.

Below is a comparison of that initial sketch for the Rock Chisel, or Rock BITER as I renamed him later, to what I was trying to achieve in those early days using 3D.



Clannfear sketch three quarter view clannfear old battlespire sketch
Many years separate these sketches, the one on the left is the most recent, and shows to new ideas for the Clannfear. The earlier sketch on the right was for the Rock Chisel, or Rock Biter.

To the right is a simple 4-frame animation sketch I did in a few minutes in 1996 to show how the initial rock chisel might have walked.
clannfear old battlespire sketch
Clannfear,

To my mind the Clannfear are a vicious, shredding, biting, ripping demon vulture/reptile hybrid. It's Daedra. It can't digest anything that is not from the Daedric realm. It's famished. Starving. All the time. It enjoys the hunt. It LOVES the kill. When a great white shark bites down it's eye membrane closes. It's blind. When a Clannfear bites down, it opens its eyes wide so it can see you die.

It's an object of terror. It's a demon attack dog with a ripping beak, shredding claws and a love of pain.
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Inspiration

Part of the reason for redoing this character after so long is that I've never had the chance to take it where I thought it could go. Again, I must reiterate that this model and my 'take' on the creature is not necessarily how Bethesda sees it. This is how I see them. I see them as a brute race, a slave race, of the higher Daedra. Perhaps the ones we see in the game are actually tamed. In the Daedric realm some may run wild. Perhaps the might train them to fight. Some horrible pit fighting Deadric pastime. Watching Clannfear rip each other to shreds. Perhaps certain qualities are bred into them. Perhaps their armour is augmented by extra spikes, and blades. These pit clannfear are heavily scarred. Full of extended spikes, and claws. What horror would these cause if they were released into the game world of Elder Scrolls?

I see them being branded. Tattooed. A magically glowing tattoo. It's the first thing you would see. Down a long tunnel. Getting closer. The last thing you would see seconds after is that ripping beak as it rips you to pieces.
Please excuse the stream of consciousness. You can see however, why the clannfear still excite my creative process. :)


W.I.P. Here we come to the Zbrush high polygon model of the new Clannfear. This is a character study, where I did not reign myself in with an in-game model in my head. There's a lot of horns on this fella and if this was for in-game use, I would shave a few of those off. Even with Normal Mapping tricks, those horns would pump up the polygon count.

Next up is some test texturing. At this stage I like to see some poly painting on the character. To see how the detail holds up under texturing. I might make changes if necessary. Once I'm happy with the paint-job, and how the level of detail holds up, I will proceed with the rest of the body.

.Clannfear Zbrush study Large
A closer view of the unfinished head
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Above, the final polypainted Zbrush model. My intention is to complete the complete creature to a high density mesh, and then reduce that down to something that can actually be used in-game. Again, this is not Bethesda directed. Just something I've been wanting to do for a while. Perhaps for a user Mod?
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Early character model. WIP




Clannfear painted.

A
version of the clannfear closer to being completed

The Original Inspiration -Battlespire-

T
he Elder Scrolls. When I first came to Bethesda it was for Daggerfall, for which I was hired. As the months progressed, and I learned to transition from pixel work to 3D, we began to create a small intro scene, a frame of which I've reproduced below. Over time this room, and what it contained, the Elder Scrolls, in all its multiple volumes, scrolls, and relics, felt almost a real place to me. The Dragon's Eyrie is itself an echo of that room. In it however I imagined all manner of ancient knowledge. It's endless library, kept safe high above the world, secure from age and destruction. Now, imagine.... Perhaps there could be found all the writings from this world. A library of Alexandria for TES. Imagine further...A wandering artist/scribe had spent years traversing Tamriel. Sketching and documenting it's wondrous flora and fauna. What if one of those journals had come into this artist's hands. ' An examination of the habits of the Rock biters, by Albecius Valeius" perhaps?

And what if that artist opened said journal? What wondrous thing he would see. But...Dare he share? Albecius, does seem a tad confused, in his drawings and observations it's not clear that he realizes they are Daedric. It reads as scientific examination. Very interesting, very curious....Hmmmmm. Perhaps I will share some pages soon? We shall see...





Clannfear walking

Early ideas

At the start of this project I went back to the beginning. Battlespire, and the first iteration of the clannfear. More humanoid, less animal like. Lithe body, hungry looking. And unfortunately very, very, green. It has some scales, but not totally covered. Reptilian yes, but I still see some of the 'bird' in it too.

I was also lucky to work on the later version used in Morrowind, reworking some of the texturing, but the modeling and animation was handled by others. I believe the animation was Juan Sanchez, who I really enjoyed working with. That version kept the general proportions




The Battlespire Clannfear

Although this version was a high resolution model, created in Alias on the then 'state of the art' Silicon Graphics machines, it was always intended to be used a pre rendered "sprite". In much the same way as the original "DOOM" used sprites. Creating them this way did give us more options once the models was built, textured, rigged and animated. We could change colour, angles, lighting etc easily then re render out. I did however take some short cuts to save time, and I'm not sure the model would hold up very well if it were examined closely today. This was 1997, but it did use techniques I am using now to create 3D creatures.

The model shown here for the Battlespire Clannfear uses a very high density mesh. NURB based.
Clannfear idle
Below is the highest resolution render I could find of the Clannfear from Battlespire. The sprites in the game itself used half the frames for the animations. One of the many problems of using sprites. Saving these images used much more memory than a real-time 3D version would.



Clannfear attack
Clannfear Attack! (Copyright Zenimax 1997).
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This page last updated on 2/24/2016