Hopefully this is in the right place!
Allow me to introduce myself, My name is Lee and i go by the internet pseudonym of Almighty_gir, and i'm a character artist who works in the computer games industry. Some fellow industry artists and i are about to undertake a project (starting proper at the end of February) which is to create a digital scene based on a part of the Silmarillion. It will be an animated clip designed to showcase our individual skillsets, as well as our teamworking abilities.
The clip will likely last around 30 seconds. The scene we have in mind is Glorfindel and the Balrog. but we're unsure about how to go about doing a couple of things. which is where we need your feedback.
Firstly, our Balrog will have wings, he will not be able to fly. the wings will be skeletal with no visible membrane or connective tissue. we will be using some VFX tricks to make them look like they're made of shadow instead. We're aware of the controversy surrounding Balrogs and wings and quite frankly, we've taken the artistic direction of "do what looks badass".
Our Balrog is inspired in part, by the one created by Weta for the movies. we want them to look similar enough that on first glance people say "that's a Balrog", but dissimilar enough that people recognise that they are two separate entities, after all there were more than one of the beasts and Maiar were personalities of their own... we feel this should be reflected in our Balrog. so here's a very early sculpt pass (done in zbrush) of the Balrog so far. it's almost entirely a block out of forms, the face has had some special attention paid so far as i got a little carried away! but please feel free to critique and give feedback, i'd love to hear it! in particular, i've been toying with the idea of giving him some form of armour plating across various parts of his body, possibly made of some kind of blackened steel with fiery red runic script across it... let me know what you think to that idea please!
Secondly, we're unsure which characters to include in the scene. we know Glorfindel was escorting Tuor, Idril, and Earendil "and many others" through the mountain range. Unfortunately i'm the only character artist, we have one animator as well as an environment artist and a VFX artist involved, so we're a very small team.
Realistically it's only feasible for me to create Glorfindel and the Balrog, however if we have time we'd love to include Tuor, Idril and Earendil as well... if that were to be the case, what kind of dialogue would be appropriate between them before the encounter with the Balrog?
Bear in mind it's a short clip so it should be something that focuses on what's about to happen, maybe an ill feeling they all share or something. If there were to be any dialogue, we'd love for it to be in elvish, with english subtitles. here's where we all fall down though, none of us know even the slightest bit about elvish. so any help here would be great! especially if you can (or know anyone who can) actually speak it! you may well end up voicing some of the dialogue.
Finally, this scene is a portfolio piece which we will all have a shared interest in, there is no money or profit involved, we're all doing this in our spare time. all of us are established artists, but we wanted to do something fun, and a bit different. when the project is completed, any special help received here will be credited.
Please bear in mind that we are games artists, and while this is a cinematic work you should expect the quality you'd see in a game cutscene, not a hollywood movie. I look forward to updating this thread as we progress further (we're in planning at the moment), and definitely want to hear your feedback, impressions, and ideas about the project. Certainly if you have any ideas on what we could do differently, i'd love to hear them!
Have just gone back and formatted my first post, for some reason it came out as a giant wall of text!
We're of course aware of the fact he needs to be wreathed in flame. it's one of the most exciting aspects about the project!
the idea we have as far as the animation goes, is that the scene will "freeze" during their first clash of weapons, so all of the animation will preceed that moment and we won't actually animate a completed fight scene... not at first anyway.
Please try to fit in the eagles, Thorondor himself in particular. Although they appear after the clash itself, so maybe it wouldn't be easy.
Your idea is wonderful, let me see if I can contribute something in the way of dialogue... tomorrow, maybe.
Agreed on the the Eagles Marghana as they indeed save the surviving Gondorlindim from the Ors filing along behind the Balrog. Gir I would like to see Glorfindal cast as a youthful but mature, tall and fair actor, not too young. Also the survivors should be led by Tuor and Idril with a young Earendil as a child. This child should be truly beautiful in face, grey eyes and a light in his face. The surviving people in single file trail behind along the mountain pass. Perhaps smoke and mist cascading down the mountain side having tumbled over the high mountain from the sac of Gondolin.
Can't wait to see! Good luck.
Maybe you could somehow work in Tolkien's: Alae! Ered en Echoriath, ered e·mbar nín! "Alae [?behold?]! [The] mountains of Echoriath, [the] mountains of my home!'
I might be able to work up some Neo-Sindarin for: 'Death to the demon of Morgoth!' based on Tolkien's Gurth an Glamhoth 'death to [the] din-horde [orcs]' but I'm not an expert like Carl Hostetter (or someone of his stature in the languages).
I would have advised that you do a 'new' Balrog of your own, but I get why you want to base your creature on the one in the films.
In the battle with Glorfindel -- with the only version ever described in detail by Tolkien being the very early Book of Lost Tales version -- the demon is twice the size of Glorfindel... but I assume you will be going larger?
size wise, we were going for 2.5x or there abouts, but it also depends on how you define height, is it defined while in their "hunched" posture, or when stretched to full height? i think we wanted ~2x Glorfindels height while hunched.
Thanks for your help with the language! any help we can get there will be very gratefully recieved. so with that in mind i have a question:
if i were to do some form of armour plating for the balrog, with some kind of infernal rune-work, would the black script suffice for that do you think? here's an example of the style of armour i'd want to use, although i certainly wouldn't want to cover his head:
i'll have some updates on the balrog sculpt in the next couple of days.
OK, here's my suggestion for Neo-Sindarin: 'Death to the demon of Morgoth!'
Gurth an graug Morgoth!
Sindarin graug is a word for a 'powerful, hostile and terrible creature' -- also raug, noting that in Balrog we have -au- to -o- in this compound. And 'of' can be expressed by word order in Grey Elven [ennyn Durin 'doors of Durin'].
With respect to the script, did you mean the writing on the One? That's Elvish even though the language is Black Speech.
Anyway, as I say I'm no expert, so I would check my Neo-sindarin with an expert if you can!
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