Fyrus was the first monster that I built from scratch, and he remains my favorite baddie created in the entire Legend of Zelda Cosplay Project.
Even without an epic cosplay picture, Fyrus is undoubtedly one of the coolest bosses of the Legend of Zelda franchise.
Fyrus was originally a peaceful goron patriarch named Darbus. But, corrupted by exposure to a relic known as fused shadow, he transformed into Fyrus, a flaming being of uncontrollable wrath. Chained deep in the Goron mines by his former friends, he smoldered in stasis until awoken by the Hero of Time.
Like I said earlier, Fyrus was created almost a year and a half ago, and while I had taken on simple adaptations of real creatures like wolves already, Fyrus was my first attempt at building a monster from scratch.
This had a huge impact on the way that he turned out.
At this early stage of the project my Photoshop skills were fairly rudimentary. Had I created Fyrus today, I probably would have started with a body from some other fiery creature (perhaps the Balrog seen below) and then edited it until it looked a lot like the actual boss from the game.
But I didn’t have the skills yet for that level of editing. I didn’t know how to use a Photoshop mask or even a brush (Hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere). All I was really good at was using layersl.
…So I made layers!
I found as many free layered photoshop files of fire as I possibly could and then started arranging them into a recognizable form.
Anatomy of a Fire Elemental
No fire I’ve ever seen outside the silver screen has ever looked anything like a humanoid body. It’s wispy, disorganized, and ever changing.
There are flames of all shapes, however, and some of these shapes vaguely resemble human body parts. For example, an expanding plume of flame could be a foot, and a round-ish flame could be a shoulder.
Work with me here, okay?
Assembling the flame layers I needed to create Fyrus was kind of like finding familiar shapes in clouds or constellations, but over time, I began to sort through the flames in my toolbox and assign them body parts.
I’m a Doctor of Physical Therapy by day, so I may have geeked out on this a little more than necessary. I had flames called “right deltoid,” “left pectoral,” “humerus,” “bicep,” “tricep” and more…
I then arranged these layers as though they were actual anatomical parts. In the pose I was going for, the forearm would appear in front of the biceps and triceps. Because of the rotated position of the arm, however, the deltoid (shoulder muscle) would appear in front of the triceps, but not the biceps.
If that’s confusing, then just take my word for it—arranging all of the fiery “muscles” on top of each other in the correct order gradually began to make the flame look like a familiar, recognizable, and even believable body.
As I was assembling Fyrus, I discovered by accident that the upper part of the flames I had chosen for a chest had some skull-like qualities.
Not seeing it? I’ll be honest…it took a bit of imagination. But…I added a few more teeth and a couple of eyes, and a face was born!
Tying Back to the Game
At this point, I had taken a lot of artistic liberties with the actual Twilight Princess monster. In the game, Fyrus is a transformed Goron and has a very substantial body which appeared to be covered in molten rock. He’s so heavy the ground even shakes when he walks.
What I had created with my limited Photoshop skills was quite different—an elemental creature of flame.
In order to tie my Fyrus back to the Twilight Princess Fyrus, everything else about the picture needed to be spot on accurate.
First, I gave my fire demon the shackles and chains Fyrus wields in the game.
I also created a shining jewel to put on Fyrus’ forehead, which is his weak spot in the battle.
And, of course, I had to get the action right. Most of the bad guys in the Legend of Zelda cosplay project were created to match cosplay pictures that already existed. The archery picture I used was taken specifically for the fyrus picture, for an accurate take on the action in the game.
Finally, I needed a large, empty, stony room for the background, with pillars for Fyrus to smash.
These kind of “boss chambers” are quite difficult to find in real life. So in this case, I actually used a video game background–in this case a Mines of Moria mod for the game Skyrim.
…so…I guess the Balrog (or at least his home) did end up in the picture after all!
This picture of Fyrus may not be perfectly game-accurate (never really the point of the project), but it still turned out as an epic action shot with a bad guy so frightening that he is my favorite of the whole project.
Just goes to show that you don’t need crazy computer skills to make excellent art. Even if all you know is the layers panel on Photoshop, go out there and start creating!