Lord of the Rings - Helms Deep Cross Section

I have always had a fascination with cross section illustrations - I remember pouring over the Incredible Cross Section and Star Wars Cross Section books for hours as a child, and they're still some of my favourite books.

Mixing my passion for cross sections with my passion for Lord of the Rings seemed like an obvious thing to do and it'd been on my mind to do a piece for a while. In fact I am surprised no one's done one before! After looking at Kemp Remillard's Force Awakens cross sections I finally decided to start mine - beginning with Helms Deep.

During this I was fortunate enough to share WIP images with Alan Lee - original concept designer on the LOTR films and designer of Helms Deep. Alan's work was what first introduced me to the world of concept design to it was a humbling experience to work back and forth with him trying to ensure we got all his original ideas into the cross section, especially the ones that weren't seen in the film.

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Cross section with people

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Cross section without people

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Early planning sketches done in Procreate over a photo I took of the Sideshow/Weta polystone environment and drew over the top trying to figure out spaces and how all the rooms fit together.

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Early stages of modelling the environment.

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The best thing about building in 3D is being able to put the camera anywhere - looking into the great hall.

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I modelled the terrain in zBrush based off reference images of the original miniature and film stills.

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Starting to plan the cut throughs of the rock to showcase the stables and great hall.

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Rough render of the final angle for the illustration.

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This was the base render I started the illustration with.