Fall of Spartacus: Project brief

My Character Studies module at Uni tasks me to design a character and create a beauty shot. Think promotional artwork or game cover, as opposed to a turnaround.

For my beauty shot, I am going to do a Gladiator themed image, loosely inspired by Spartacus.

Character profile: Spartacus

Spartacus was a Thracian slave that became a leader of the slaves in a major slave uprising against the Roman empire. 

There are many different accounts of Spartacus’ past, but what we will be going with for this story is Spartacus was a Thracian mercenary, who became a Roman soldier, only to end up as a prisoner and sold to a ludus (gladiator school) owned by Lentulus Batiatus, to be a gladiator.

Along with several other gladiators (most notably, a Gaul named Crixus, he stages an escape and plunders the region around Capua. The slaves then made a base camp by mount Vesuvius, and through several battles against Roman militia (the Roman legion was absent, tied up in wars elsewhere), earned the trust and respect of both slaves and farmers in the region, who joined them.

Alarmed by the defeat of the militia sent against the slave rebellion, the Roman Senate recalled several Roman Legions to fight the rebellion. What followed was a war that lasted for nearly 3 years, where the momentum changed several times, until Spartacus’ forces eventually were destroyed by a Roman legion under the command of Marcus Crassus.

Spartacus fate is unknown, as his body was never recovered, but it is widely believed that he perished in battle with his men during the slave rebellions last stand.

Image description:

Spartacus has lost everything: His wife, his freedom, most of his friends, and he is near the breaking point. But through battle, and almost perishing in the arena, he has come to terms with the fact that he has something to live for, the desire to earn his freedom once more, and take revenge on those who destroyed his life. 

This leads to a long and bloody conflict that eventually ends with a last stand from the desperate remains of the slave rebellion led by Spartacus.

The image will depict the deciding moment, where it becomes clear that it’s all going to end. That he has lost. As his friends and brothers in arms are falling all around him, as his army is being routed in their desperate last stand, Spartacus experiences a break in the action, and surveys the carnage around him. 

As the realization dawns on him that this is the end, he struggles with feelings of desperation and hopelessness. The ground seemingly shifts beneath his feet, and he finds himself standing on a pile of bones, while his life and the events that led to this moment flash in his mind, consumed by the fires of war that rage all around him This lasts but a moment before he snaps out of it, regains his determination and fights bravely until the end.

The emotions I will aim to capture with the image will be: Regret and desperation, with an undercurrent of grim determination.

Tools and workflow:

I will be using Zbrush, 3Ds Max and Photoshop for the creation of the image.

Since this character is just for the one image, after modeling the character in a T Pose for the purpose of getting proportions right, I plan to sculpt the final pose in Zbrush. As opposed to sculpting for a neutral pose, and then posing the character, actually sculpting the pose will allow me to do things with the model like detailed facial expression, and stretching and contorting of muscle.


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About Nate Fury

Character artist, games designer, and fighting game enthusiast. Follow me on Twitter @NateHawke and add me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/furytrickster My personal blog site can be found at www.pttogames.com

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