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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

HeroMachine custom portrait contest

I've got a link for HeroMachine in the links section of this blog, but I haven't written about it yet. This is an ultra-cool resource that lets you create custom portraits of characters from a variety of genres. It's the brainchild/masterpiece of Jeff Hebert, all-around cool guy* and great artist. It's like if you took my old favorite toy, Mighty Men & Monster Maker, and ramped up the awesomeness exponentially.

I probably don't need to give a lot of background--just hop over to the site and play around there. But I will let you know about a neat contest that Jeff is running. He's giving participants who post images they've created through HeroMachine the opportunity to qualify for a drawing to get, well, a drawing--an original custom portrait that he'll create. You can read the details here.

I've been fortunate enough to be the recipient of some of Jeff's original artwork before (I commented on some of that here and here), so I'm not fishing for more. But I thought it would be a fun opportunity to participate and show some of the cool (to me, anyway) images I've created over the years with the program. You can click on any of these for a larger version.

This first one is Ari, a villain I created a while back for my face-to-face Champions game. He was one of a slew of human/insect hybrid characters I created for a storyline where a bunch of people in the campaign city were getting insect powers. Ari was a kind of crazy guy who venerated samurais, at least their outward trappings. His mutation (into an ant form) made him incredibly strong and durable and he gave the heroes trouble whenever he showed up. I like the flexibility that HeroMachine gives you in details, items, colors, etc. In this case, I took an ant head and put it on a skeleton body for what I thought was a pretty cool effect. The samurai trappings added to his oddness. He was fun.

Next up is Fist of the Pharaoh, from another storyline in the same game. The characters had become involved in the magic of an ancient mummy. When they returned from another adventure (in a different adventure), they found that their city had been converted into a kind of hybrid of their old city and ancient Egypt, with Egyptian architecture and design, different themes and appearances for the inhabitants, etc. Oh, and of course everyone in the city was under the magical thrall of the mummy. Fist of the Pharaoh was the Egypt-ized version of Stalwart, a Champions character from the Champions Universe book.

This one is Miss Chance. She actually plays a small, but important role in Devil's Cape, and HeroMachine was a handy way for me to get my thoughts for character design into a visual format. This particular design is a little over the top for the general tone of my book, so don't be put off. I don't want to give a lot away, but she's basically a four-color/Silver Age character who makes the mistake of coming to the city of Devil's Cape to try to right an old wrong.

Here's Cascade, a PC I play a lot in the campaign I run (he's added muscle for the team in a battle, a character players can pick up and run when their own characters are knocked out or off screen, and a character I can play when someone else takes a turn at GMing). Cascade is a mild-mannered high school math teacher and wrestling/swimming coach who can also turn into a huge mass of water. This is the only one of the images I had to PhotoShop a little bit, using layers to enable me to employ two different character forms for the dripping water effect.

Just for giggles, here's me, from Jeff's "real life" version. Perhaps slightly more ripped than in real life...

I'll wrap it up with this one, The Pirate Smasher, from my son Alex. He's had lots of fun playing with HeroMachine and "creating superheroes for your book, Dad."

Anyway, HeroMachine is great fun and now it's even absolutely free since Jeff found a sponsor. Check it out, play around, have fun, and enter Jeff's contest.

*Oh, but if Jeff disses West Coast Avengers, just try to ignore it. He clearly doesn't know any better.


Jeff Hebert said...

Thanks for the love, Rob! Can't wait to read about Miss Chance (hope I got that right) when my copy of Devil's Cape arrives.

Don't I get credit for having bought the first issue of WCA back in the eighties, even if I don't like it so much now? Maybe I was wiser back then ... sigh.

Rob Rogers said...

But of course!

I'm not sure if you get credit for buying WCA and then failing to appreciate it. Kind of reminds me of those times they find an original copy of the Constitution or whatever in someone's garage sale. Good work for the one who found it. But the one who kept it in the garage for years and then tried to sell it for 50 cents? Not so much. :)