Tag Archives: drake

The Long Arm and The Paw

This post is out of chronological order for building the Magic: The Gathering Drake token. I got a little excited by the progress I was making on the wings and forgot to post it a week ago.

Building a 3D hand is one of those things that looks really hard at first but really isn’t that big a deal once you’ve done two or three of them. This is a low-resolution fantasy model, so I’ve got some leeway in the anatomical accuracy. The most important modelling technique here is keeping the mesh as quads while dealing with the transition between the first knuckles and the metacarpals.

The day may come when I forsake quadrilaterals and take the easy path of willy-nilly geometry. BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!

MTG Drake Paw

The yellow octagon is a NURBS circle that’s more or less aligned with the lead face on the digit. I curve-snap the finger vertices to the circle to keep the digit mostly circular.

MTG Drake Paw

After all eight verts are snapped, I move the circle up to the next digit and repeat the process. I’ll still have to go back and clean up the edge stars between the fingers so that the hand deforms properly, but this is a good start for a hand.

MTG Drake Paw

For some reason I can’t get the refrain to “Becky From the Block” out of my head while I’m working on this. Hera, give me strength.

MTG Drake, Day 5-ish

I have no idea how I’m going to print this, especially once I get the membranes in the wings done. I’ll figure it out, though. My mon Zheng don’t shiv.

MTG Drake

I haven’t added much detail to the head and body yet. He’s going to need a proliferation of cool spines, scales, and wing tatters before he’s ready to play Magic: The Gathering with his other 2/2 drake buddies.

But first things first: the next step is making a temporary skeleton to make sure the wings, tail, neck, and legs deform properly, and then I’ll take a look at those wings and body details.

I’m coming for you, wings.

Gray Anatomy, with Extra Gingold

Here’s day 4 of progress on the Magic: The Gathering Drake token.

I want the drake’s arms to be a little stringy, like a really jacked 70-year old. In order to do that I’ll have to increase the detail around the muscle edges.

I’m going to model these as an in-scale human arm, and then distort them to turn them into drake wings. I’m trying very hard to model the forms and volumes that are actually there, not the forms and volumes I think should be there. Muscles can be a challenge.


These arms are eventually going to have membranes attached to them, so I’ll have to keep that in mind as I develop the geometry.


MTG Drake Token, Day 3


Got a start on the MTG Drake Token’s pectoral girdle today. It’s got me thinking about adding detail to the muscle mass so that when the model’s finally posed (I’m predicting two weeks from now or so) we’ll be able to see the striations in the pecs.

It’s important not to get too caught up in details at this point; I want to keep the geometry simple for as long as possible. I’ll move on to the deltoids and biceps tomorrow.

#markmywords, there will be no nipples on this model. Scales, maybe, but no nipples.

I’ve got a grab bag of interesting posts coming this week, so don’t touch that dial.

MTG Drake Token, Day 2

I started roughing out the drake’s body this morning. This is a 3D sketch; the idea here is not to get caught up in the geometry, just figure out the defining masses of the object.

The Drake’s going to be something of a cross between a pterodactyl and a snake. I’ve already got a decent snake head built for the Seej Ouroboros Guardian, so that’s a good place to start.


For all its complexity, Maya’s hotbox does not yet have an item under Create->Polygon Primitives->Token->Drake, so I’ve got to extrude some edges, pull some points, and flip some faces until I get this rough model.


Ooo. That wing’s going to be tough to print. I’ll be reaching deep into the Well of Cantrips to pull that one off.

It’s a good idea to proceed very slowly at this point in the model, just so you can get a fine appreciation for all the problems you’re going to encounter later.

But my mon Zheng don’t shiv. We’ll get this figured out.

Magic: The Gathering Drake Token, rough sketch

My series on the design of my Magic: The Gathering Beast Token was well-received, so I’m going to do it again with this Drake token. People seem to enjoy watching the growth of a model from idea to 3D-printed object.

If you’re awake at the right time, you can follow the 3d modelling process in quasi-realtime by peering into the Scrying Pool in this blog’s sidebar. I hacked together some automated screenshot/image processing/uploading code that runs whenever I’m working a new 3D model.

I’m usually working around 6AM EST during the week for an hour or so, and longer on the weekends. Now that I’m thinking about it, I might add a webcam script so that test prints get uploaded, too. Note to self: increase stimulant intake.

I keep a few older screencaps in the scrying pool in case you miss the live show, too.

Like all of my programming projects, the Scrying Pool’s a spit-and-baling wire operation, so if it breaks just chalk it up to a passing astral dreadnought.

Back to drakes: The other day, intrepid user @shower_tweets asked if I’d take a model request. Sure, I said. It’ll be fun, I said.

@shower_tweets wants a Drake, and a Drake @shower_tweets shall have. This is going to be a tricky model, because Magic: The Gathering Drakes are basically just flying snakes with wings and hindlimbs.

Getting a single-print, no support pose for a flamboyant model like this is going to be a challenge, and like all good art challenges it begins with a sketch. Here I can start working out the pose, thinking about how gravity’s going to affect the model during the print.

Even though these are literally one-minute gesture drawings, these sketches are also useful to help me think about what features I want to emphasize in the model later.


This sketch would never print on an FDM printer. Way too many overhangs, especially in the wings. Curse you, wings.

But it emphasizes the drake’s keel and the pectoral muscle attachments for the wings: it’s very important to avoid Art Major Biology, as far as I’m concerned.

SO! Stay tuned or RSS’d or Grindr’d or whatever it is the kids are using to follow a blog these days. The drake is started and I’ll be posting updates until it’s done.