Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

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xer
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Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by xer »

Following the call for mainline art, I decided to try my best and make a custom Melbrin for the (Revised) South Guard campaign. In this thread I'd like to gather some feedback/ideas on how to improve his design.

But first I need to address the question some will have: IF he should be improved or if he should just be a generic lich. It's a fair question, after all he only appears in one scenario in one campaign.

I do however believe that the campaign benefits from a custom Melbrin. I always found it a bit strange
Spoiler:
Let me know if you disagree.

If he deserves a custom sprite, then only appearing briefly is still no excuse for a bad sprite. This is the initial version that was briefly included in the campaign:
MBrin009-RC-magenta-5-black.png
MBrin009-RC-magenta-5-black.png (3.66 KiB) Viewed 824 times

Several people have expressed that I've missed the mark, and I can see why. Without a new portrait he just looks like he's 2 completely different characters. Luckily, in my first drafts I was trying to match the portrait as much as possible, and only attempted to make him more elvish over time. Here is a version with a previous head, more faithful colors, and 4 pixels less waist diameter:
MBrin010-RC-magenta-5-black.png
MBrin010-RC-magenta-5-black.png (3.5 KiB) Viewed 824 times
Screenshot (2801).png
Maybe that's a better starting point for a discussion.

Ideas that I currently have are
- darker, equally desaturated colors for the skin
- just using the default lich-staff instead of an elven-inspired one
- starve a few more pixels out of his waist.
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Pentarctagon
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Pentarctagon »

The skull is definitely what threw me off - it definitely looks better/clearer with the whiter color. The staff being more elven makes sense though, I'd say.
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Mirion147
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Mirion147 »

So, right now it does look like he's got a pretty good gut going on. I get him having loose and baggy clothes, especially since he may not have a lot for the clothes to form around, but you may want to put a few holes in the fabric where you could showcase a ribcage, or leg bone.

Also, is there no TC? Or is the tc black?

In fevers i think it's a pretty good sprite, and having the first elven lich have its own sprite isn't a bad plan. I think it just needs to look a but more undead and not old man. The color change is definitely a step in the right direction
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xer
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by xer »

Mirion147 wrote: May 2nd, 2024, 4:17 pm Also, is there no TC? Or is the tc black?
Yea, he's on the black team.

I tried the ribcage idea, but he has lost so much weight trying to conform with the impossible beauty standards for liches that there's not enough space left for me to convincingly pull it off. I did make his head as dark and skeletal as I could now though.
MBrin013-RC-magenta-5-black.png
MBrin013-RC-magenta-5-black.png (3.47 KiB) Viewed 642 times
Duke_Anax
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Duke_Anax »

He matches the portrait quite well now, though the bones and hair could be even darker, they appear almost black in the image. Thinner ist definitely better.

The problem is, the portrait doesn't really match Mal M'brin that well. Looks more like an old human corpse than a fresh elven lich. He would work well with a more mummified Look and elven ears.

Though any of your versions is better than the generic ancient lich.
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Duke_Anax »

Last edited by doofus-01 on May 4th, 2024, 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: tucking a large external image in a spoiler
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doofus-01
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by doofus-01 »

There are some nice design elements there, keep going. I don't remember the character enough to say what should be emphasized, but if it is supposed to be menacing, I'd make the torso:limb length ratio smaller, make the robes hang straight down and put the chest/stomach in shadow.

If you want to make it look more elf-like, don't be afraid to lift and recolor some part of an existing elf sprite - the sprites are icons as much as they are little digital dolls, so having recognizable patterns could be good. No guarantees, it could just end up looking frankensteined, but it is something to try.
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xer
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by xer »

Duke_Anax wrote: May 4th, 2024, 4:16 am The problem is, the portrait doesn't really match Mal M'brin that well. Looks more like an old human corpse than a fresh elven lich. He would work well with a more mummified Look and elven ears.
You're right, if his portrait looked more like the one you sent, it would match the story much better. Sadly I can't draw him a better portrait. I can make some edits to the existing portrait to match the sprite better though!
mal-mbrin-portrait-03.webp
mal-mbrin-portrait-03.webp (92.85 KiB) Viewed 404 times

He's not really supposed to be menacing. He is a menace to the people of Wesnoth of course, but he mainly stands out for his relation to the protagonists. He's the former mentor of the elf, and the guy the party set out to ask for help against the lich from. Hence why my initial versions were more alive, the guy isn't even really (un)dead yet.

The elves don't have that many iconic elements that fit for this character and remain recognizable when recolored. I also added this elvish loincloth thing now, but with that I feel I've exhausted the existing elven elements.
MBrin19-RC-magenta-5-black.png
MBrin19-RC-magenta-5-black.png (3.53 KiB) Viewed 404 times
Screenshot (2811).png
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DuncanDill
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by DuncanDill »

Haha! You seem to have missed out a rather iconic elf feature, the ears! If I understand right this is more like a mummy than a skeleton, so it might make sense for him to have one broken ear?
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Duke_Anax »

DuncanDill wrote: May 18th, 2024, 2:44 pm Haha! You seem to have missed out a rather iconic elf feature, the ears! If I understand right this is more like a mummy than a skeleton, so it might make sense for him to have one broken ear?
Well, the problem is this portrait wasn't intended for him, just some available art used as a placeholder. The best case would be if someone drew a new portrait.
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by holypaladin »

DuncanDill wrote: May 18th, 2024, 2:44 pm Haha! You seem to have missed out a rather iconic elf feature, the ears! If I understand right this is more like a mummy than a skeleton, so it might make sense for him to have one broken ear?
His ears may be under hair
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Pentarctagon
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Pentarctagon »

Given ears are cartilage rather than bone, it makes sense the ears are gone since the nose is also gone.
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by DuncanDill »

Just to ask, wouldn't the hair also be gone if that were the case? I see no reason that ears wouldn't stay, I mean, Wesnoth is fantasy after all! It would probably make him more recognizable as an elf... Not trying to enforce anything tho
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Duke_Anax
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Re: Melbrin (Mal M'Brin)

Post by Duke_Anax »

An elven skeleton wouldn't look much different from a human skeleton, maybe just as much as a Neanderthal, certainly less than a gorilla.

However, Mal M'Brin is a fresh lich; he wouldn't have reached that stage yet. So having a portrait and sprite with a nose and ears would actually suit him better.

There is also an argument to be made that Liches never fully skeletonise, but stay partly mummified like this:
Image

Also, Hair and nails are keratin, they don't decompose like cartilage and are present on old skeletons.
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