Superhero Art – Icon In 3D

More Super Hero action happening here on This time one of my favorite heroes of all – Icon!

ICON: The Remix!

I guess I don’t have that much to say this time around, mostly because I said pretty much everything the last time I wrote about Icon , which was during my 2011 28 Days of Black Super-Heroes event. Good times…

…but anyway, there hasn’t been much forward movement for the character since then. I assume he exists somewhere in the DC New 52, but I don’t read that much DC these days, so if he’s appeared somewhere I guess I wouldn’t know.

The most Icon I’ve seen has been on the awesome (but now cancelled) animated DC series Young Justice. He wasn’t a series regular, but he popped up sporadically in the later episodes.

Oh, well.

So, Who Is Icon?


Long story short, Icon (Augustus Freeman) is an alien being who crash-landed on Earth in the U.S. – back during a time when slavery was still in practice.

His ship activated it’s emergency protocols and reformed his body as one of the native species. The first person to find him was a Black woman, and thus he became a Black male.

An unexpected side effect of the process was that his body became superhumanly durable and energized. Likely the emergency protocols trying to give him his best chance to survive, and some of it probably owed to the mixture of his own alien and Human dna.

He’s a Superman-level character, with most of Superman’s abilities, although Icon himself acknowledged that Superman was his physical superior when they eventually fought.

The original creators of Icon somewhat heatedly reject comparisons with Superman, especially taking umbrage to calling him any variation of “Black Superman”.

They created him, so I can’t speak to what they meant to do, but I think it’s a bit of an uphill battle to prevent people from referring to him as a Black Superman, since he’s certainly a very similar type of character when you check the broad strokes. The details, of course, veer far and away from Superman, but either way he’s a great character that I enjoyed enough to work up in 3D.

It Wasn’t Easy.

When I embarked on making up an Icon character in Daz Studio, I thought it would be simple, but I was wrong…WRONG!!

Especially when you consider that it seems like Icon’s costume has been in flux since the moment he was created.

Looking through my old issues, there were times when the costume was drawn one way on the cover, yet drawn differently inside, sometimes even varying from page to page. Damn, damn, damn.

When making up these characters in 3D, you like to have all your reference images nailed down as much possible. I had to make some judgement calls.

I liked the gold rings on the arms, so I kept them, but some of the later costumes that appeared in the comics and on TV dumped them. The mask had a very unique shape at first that also seemed to get dropped later in the day. Plus the costume colors changed, too. The original cape was obviously green, while later on in the Young Justice cartoons, I think the cape was supposed to be a super dark green. So green it’s almost black. Well, maybe the color was off on my tv. I decided to go with black because I liked the look.

Anyway, here’s a shot of the basic Icon character in Daz Studio, before I even decided how I was going to pose him.


Blender Blunders

I had more trouble than usual with this one in Blender.

I was trying to add in the gun muzzle flash right in the 3D scene, but I couldn’t get it to look convincing enough. The same thing with the sparks I was going to add to show the bullets bouncing off of him. No matter whether I added them in 3D or in Photoshop, I couldn’t get them to look decent so I kept them out.

Also, I forgot to add the graffiti in the 3D file. Curses. Only when I did my final render was it obvious I forgot something. I wasn’t gonna go back and do another 15-hour render so I said screw it, add it in Photoshop.

Even looking at my final image, I wish I would have added in a little detritus on the ground. A discarded soda bottle or crumpled up papers and junk on the ground. Oh, well…

…next time.

Here’s a shot of the Blender scene.


Gallery of Shame

I ended up doing well over 100 renders before I got the point where it was time to make that final render. Here’s a look at the final render I ran from Blender:

Icon raw render

I’m moving closer and closer to getting the results I want straight out of Blender without doing any Photoshop. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to pull off everything I need to do using only Blender, but that time is not quite here yet.

Anyway, here’s a select bunch of the renders I made trying to get this damn image to work:

The Wrap Up


Just for kicks I slapped a title on the image to see how it would look. I can’t say I’m crazy about it with the title on there. It might just be a matter of finding the right font and style. Ehhh. If I think of something better I’ll re-do it.

So, with that said, we’re out of here once again. That’s yet another super-hero image down, so I’m gonna have to decide who I do next. If you have any ideas or suggestions just let me know in the comments, via Twitter, email, etc…

Speaking of email, the hi-res of this one is going to be available to those of you on my mailing list, so if you’re not already on there, make sure to go ahead and sign up for the Hypertransitory Mailing List of Fury.

So that’s all I have for this one. All the best and see you guys next time!

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12 thoughts on “Superhero Art – Icon In 3D

  1. I’m very impressed with your version of Icon, I must admit that being an Aussie I’ve never been exposed to Icon, although I have to Superman, Batman and many other Super Heroes, but I love your image all the same.

    Like you, I’m not at all sure about the title………

    1. Hey Sire, good to see you over here

      Yes, Icon is not exactly a household name, so I’m not surprised you never heard of him -but he definitely could be one day.

      Thanks for checking it out!

  2. My pleasure John.

    You know, it would be nice to see him on the big screen as a part of the American Justice League.

    I just noticed you’ve written a couple of eBooks. I wouldn’t mind checking the Cold Elf out.

    Oh, BTW, I cam upon your Blog via Mitch’s I’m Just Sharing.

    1. Hey Sire, yeah I definitely know you as a mainstay of the IJS blog, that’s why it is nice to see you over here.

      And if Icon ever hit the big screen that would be awesome! I won’t hold my breath, though :)

  3. interesting! the only character i thought that really made it out of DC’s buying of Milestone was Static. go figure.

    as always, nice work. love all the behind the scenes work.

    1. Yeah Static was the real breakout character, but I never really liked the whole “slick superhero outfit” phase.

      I preferred the early version with the “X” hat and the long coat. Oh, well.

      Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  4. That is an awesome tribute to an underappreciated character. It’s impossible to create a character like that without comparisons to Superman. He’s just too iconic. I miss Dwayne Duffy.

    1. Thanks Maurice, I agree completely with the Superman thought. And I miss Dwayne, too he had a lot of great ideas. His last run on Fantastic Four was one of the few times I actually liked those characters.

  5. Wow!!! Thats pleasure John.

    You know, it would be nice to see him on the big screen as a part of the American Justice League. as always, ncie work, love all the behind the scenes work.

    1. Thanks Sonali! I’m glad you like the behind the scenes stuff, it really takes a lot to do these so I try to show a little of the process…

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