a gallery of computer-generated images

Conan the Librarian


I refuse to apologise for the pun.

For a long time, I've wanted to do a parody of Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Barbarian" under this title. Terry Pratchett's character Cohen the Barbarian comes perilously close, but goes in a different direction. When Zygote offered their 'muscleman' figure at a reduced price, I tried to think how I could possibly justify buying it. You're looking at the answer.

Conan is the Zygote muscleman, with female (i.e. long) hair and a pair of glasses modelled from Bryce primitives. The inevitable skimpily-dressed babe is a standard Poser nude female. Her bangles - including the torc around her neck - are Bryce primitives, but her leather bikini and belt are a painted texture map. (The texture map is based on a nude map developed by Kjellil; Conan's texture map, on the other hand, is original).

Other objects in the scene are either Bryce primitives - the bookshelves, throne, column, candles and sign - or Ray Dream models - Conan's goblet and battleaxe, the three-legged table. Conan's belt-buckle is a skull originating in Poser, and the skull motif is invisibly repeated three times on his throne. The sign was made in Photoshop.

Some minor post-processing was done to paint in a candle flame; the supposedly-visible light on the nearer candle vanished during the render. The use of point light sources in an overall dark scene is an obvious nod to one of my heroes, the painter Georges de la Tour. The influence of fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo is also obvious (although to be truly faithful to Frazetta/Vallejo I'd need to pump up the girl's breasts and make her clothing even scantier and more improbable).

The image is not without defects. Conan's five o'clock shadow makes him look like John Major, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, while the girl reminds me strangely of my friend D. (not that I've ever seen her wearing nothing but a scanty leather bikini and chunky gold jewellery, but I find something about the face and hair vaguely reminiscent of her). This is not necessarily bad, but some of the objects, such as Conan's battle axe and his goblet have also come out less well than I might have hoped, and I'm uncertain about the shadow effects. Still, it has a nice sombre feel to it.

An updated version of this image is now available.


Bryce 3D
Poser 3
Curious Labs
Ray Dream Studio 5
Photoshop 5.0.2