Artsy Rants

Fly the Angry Skies!

  • March 29, 2015

“Here be dragons.”

When I start putting together artwork for the fun of it that statement is often kind of a given—have you noticed?

There’s not a ton of thought behind this piece; no deep significance at all, really. One day I just decided I wanted to create a dangerous, forbidding animated scene and, after I’d gotten partway into the process, I concluded it also needed someone to live there—someone bad ass enough to feel at home in my little pocket nightmare.


As for the creative process, this animation came together in several steps. The first stage was getting the sky and clouds into place to fit what I was seeing in my mind’s eye. For that task I turned to my favorite sky and atmosphere tool: an exterior environments creation program called Vue. I built the cloudscape in several layers then created the atmospheric effects to get them roiling in a suitably angry fashion. Finally came the lighting rigs to get them (and the sky) into the right mood.

The volcano is a vector drawing created in Xara Designer Pro. I brought that and the sky animation into Adobe After Effects, where I employed a particle effects plug-in to add the volcano’s smoke plume as well as the falling meteors.

The flying dragon was animated and rendered in Lightwave 3D, and then I brought all the video sequences and graphic elements into Adobe Premiere Pro. In Premiere I added the musical theme (created using Sonicfire Pro) as well as some public domain clips for the extra sounds. The meteor effect required stretching and then clipping a recording of a missile launch, while the dragon’s “whoosh” was used unchanged.

And that’s the scoop!

Please let me know what you think in the comments section below, and share this post to all your friends (and even not-so-friends).

Spinland Studios, LLC is a high-tech 3D modeling and animation studio in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York. Defy conventional marketing and let me bring your brand to life! Visit for more information and examples.

Spinland Studios, LLC is a proud member of these organizations (click each to learn more)