View Full Version : Machineflesh 2D Challenge Entry: Jesse Speak

03 March 2004, 06:46 PM
Jesse Speak has entered the Machineflesh 2D Challenge.

03 March 2004, 01:03 PM (

An early idea of mine is to explore the idea of body modification for style or recreation. Having once had a facial piercing (now removed) I'd be interested what will become fashionable in say half a century's time. I'm thinking brain or skull modification, maybe a sleek metal housing with internal lighting and perhaps inter-skull connectivity for added kicks. This is just a quick sketch to flesh out the idea.

03 March 2004, 01:14 PM (

Taking this idea a bit further. I want to put it in context so I thought of some kind of cool futuristic bar with people milling around and two cranially modded people kissing passionately in the foreground. I like the green glow idea, so maybe the bar could be suffused in red light which would complement it nicely. I'm also liking the connectivity idea so I'd like to see these two lovers hooking themselves together with jack plugs and super-Firewire type connections for that extra level of shared experience.... ?

03 March 2004, 01:30 PM
nice concept man

verry Intriguing
I love being able to see through it like that with the green emitting.

with the styles I see today, I can see that hapening in 100-200 years from now.

03 March 2004, 07:52 PM
Nice graphics and story.

Only crit so far, do not stop with the just the people in the bar, maybe even the place (bar) is another added incentive to further seek modifications.

Think about it, people go to a techno bar why? The lasers, the smart drinks, the music, the lighting, the scene, the people, the environment. Every thing feeds into and receives feedback from somewhere else in a feedback loop that keeps the whole thing moving to reach higher extremes than the last.

Darn, I need to keep this to myself...heh

I loved your latest sketch so far, so I just had to give this feedback to you.

03 March 2004, 02:36 PM
SteveFoX and Continuumx, thanks for your comments, they are much appreciated!

SteveFox - maybe this kind of thing will happen within our lifetime and give us something to worry about when we're old and stuck in the past?

Continuumx - Wow you certainly take the idea to the max! I like the way you think. Certainly I'm going to give the bar a lot of techno juice. What I'm aiming to do is show how this cranial modding can be completely accepted by the culture and society in the picture, yet freakishly extreme to us in the here and now.

03 March 2004, 09:54 PM (

Another sketch of my cranially modified woman. I'm just testing the green glowing brain set against a predominantly red backdrop, and I think it could work well.

I like the idea of being able to say, "You have such a beautiful brain" and mean it literally. The whole idea of actually seeing someone's brain messes with the whole inside body / outside body split. Very strange.

03 March 2004, 10:46 PM (

And another quick concept sketch, tying together the kissing pair, the red lit bar and the green glowing brains. About two hours for this, starting from a pretty bad pencil sketch, block colours, standard kick lights all over the place. I like where it's headed. Comments and criticism are welcome.

03 March 2004, 10:49 PM
You really captured the mood with this sketch. rock on!:buttrock:

03 March 2004, 09:54 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Speaky
[B] (

Hey, they still have some "animal instincts"!
My favorite so far!:thumbsup:

Tommy Lee
03 March 2004, 09:58 AM
Last one combines so much emotional themes... I think thats the one to go.:thumbsup:
But thats just my opinion.


Tommy Lee

03 March 2004, 04:46 PM
I love the composition and overall mood. The design is nice too and different from a lot of other people so far. So many people are trying to create a really dark and scary combination between metal and flesh, which is cool too, but with your idea you are still focusing on the key requirement for this challenge but also introducing symbolism and if anything story.

I can't wait to see more! :)

03 March 2004, 03:21 AM
The last kissing image is deffinitely the strongest one so far. Nice work with the compliment colors, also. Normally I'd be afraid of using both intense reds and greens at the same time, but you're pulling off nicely. Can't wait to see the finish :thumbsup:

03 March 2004, 04:52 AM
very nice concept! the style is very striking as well. keep up the awesome work!

03 March 2004, 10:25 AM
Hey thanks for the comments people!

Crazybread - Thanks for dropping by. I'm very impressed with the insanely detailed sketch you've got going in your thread. Too good, man.

NLO - Yeah, they should get a room! Thanks for that!

Tommy Lee - I always think it's important to include emotional content in picture. Hey, I've been keeping an eye on your thread. Very good work from you as always. It's so sick!

AirbORn - Thanks AirbORn! I'm trying to avoid some cliches while keeping a serious tone to the picture. The temptation is to create something dark and terrifying, a cybernetic pain / killing / destructo / mechanic angel / soldier .... yeahhhh. I wanted to show how a radical machineflesh melding could become normal. Life goes on, people go to a bar, people kiss. With their brains visible and lit by neon, lol.

Evil Gerbil - I hope the final piece will live up to it! I picked the intense reds and greens on purpose, but I wonder if it'll become too much? That's kind of why I have the white light of the bar in it, to act as a balancer. Thanks for taking the time.

teknotek83 - Cheers. I'll do my best!

04 April 2004, 08:23 PM (

I would welcome any comments at this stage. I've been staring at this line art for too long and might be totally overlooking some blatant perspective error or something else that might be obvious to a fresh eye.

I'm itching to get started on the colouring phase. I'll probably downsize the line art and do some colour thumbnails first to get a handle on the lighting. At the end of the day, I may totally rework bits of it, but that's the beauty of digital isn't it.

Can I just say that I'm amazed at the general quality of entries. I check the updates every day and can't wait to see the end results, so good luck to you all!

04 April 2004, 09:17 PM
awesome work , man . Even the simple sketches with their
colors , lighting and atmosphere ... wow

that line art made go like hey! somebody bring back
the bladerunner mood from the first pics ! I know it's
just because it's just line art. And don't take that
bladerunner stuff too seriously , so many of moody
sci-fi pics remind me of that movie :) .

04 April 2004, 10:05 AM
Cool Concept.

Love the Idea. Body modification. Why didnt I think of that considering all the piercings I have in my Face.

Looks great with the red and green.

maybe have some of the charcters in the background with other wierd and wonderful mods like Jaw replacements or glowing eyes. Obviously not in as much detail.

The line art looks great cant wait to see the colouring

04 April 2004, 10:38 AM
Way cool concept, your use os contrasting colors are great. Can't wait to see the final image.

Good luck


04 April 2004, 11:09 AM
really amazing quick sketches at the beginning , wait to see more !! ;)
I love the red ambiance lights and the green light in their haeds!!

04 April 2004, 09:04 PM
ha ha, kinda reminds me of a Total Recall thing. I like your layout, and if you use a color pallete, it could be pretty cool.

04 April 2004, 07:11 PM
green light only?
not so dusty

another colors not be bad

04 April 2004, 10:16 PM (

I plan on doing a number of these colour concepts to refine the overall look and feel that I'm aiming for.

Currently I'm trying quite a bold saturated colour scheme, and quite like the way the white light is picking out the right-hand profile of the two subjects. I intend that light to come from a fish tank set into the wall. With so many kick-lights and cheesy cyberpunk hues, things are in danger of becoming quite a muddle. Could it work?

Whatever colour scheme I'm going to end up with, I do want to render this picture out with a lot of detail at a high resolution because I've always liked pictures that reward closer study and have a lot of incidental detail for a wandering eye to pick up.

04 April 2004, 10:32 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone!

Squibbit - Glad you like it! Bladerunner - probably my favourite SF film of all time! And of course a huge inspiration. I'm consciously going for an over the top colour scheme here.

SigFire - Body piercings are great aren't they? I had a lip stud between 1996 and 2002. When I first had it done old people would just stop short in the street and stare at me. Towards the end it was so commonplace that no one batted an eyelid. This is kind of what I'm thinking about in this machineflesh piece - the freakish meldings society might come to accept. Thanks.

Dloots - Thanks for stopping by. I'm itching to get straight into the final piece, but want to calm down and approach this a bit more sensibly!

Neozoom - Thanks for saying that, it's appreciated.

Neble - I'm racking my brains to remember what happened in Total Recall. I remember it being a pretty red film.. is this what you meant? Cheers.

Willy Bradberry - I think green lights for both skull mods for consistency, though you're probably right I need more variation in the colour. Also, I'll turn down the dust level in photoshop! Thanks for posting.

04 April 2004, 03:51 AM
YO YO YO YO...I like it.

Do u haf time? If u got it, try sent this piece of scene to Chris Cunningham for his Neuromancer! Maybe u could be his assistant in concept design!

I would like to see this scene in movie!..

the email is

hehe..kidding.. i dunno his email.

04 April 2004, 09:18 AM
I love that kiss scene that changes so much from other very dark work posted for this contest :) Some love is great

05 May 2004, 08:01 PM (

Another go at developing a colour and lighting scheme for the final piece.

In this one, I have 'raised' the white light which is illuminating the kissers, and now it helps define the man's face a bit too. This time the whole thing is a little more muted and less contrasty.

I didn't like the different coloured lights in the bar / public surgery booths on the left so they are all red now. The original idea was to totally suffuse the picture with red, but I'm thinking that may be too much! At the moment I quite like the way a shaft of sunset light is hitting the middle ground, separating the kissers and making the whole left hand side look a lot grubbier and seedier. There's also a soft blueish light filtering down from above, providing subtle definition for the characters on the balcony top left.

Well, it's bound to change isn't it!

05 May 2004, 08:09 PM
@dinodog_Jr - Well, you had me going for a moment there!;) I'm interested to see what the film version of Neuromancer will turn out like. The book's okay, impressive for starting the whole cyberspace thing, but ... is it actually a good story otherwise?:hmm:

@bonestudio - Thanks, that's good to hear. Don't get me wrong, I like the darker examples too, but it's always good to try something a bit different isn't it. I like your mech-enhanced sports idea... different, and looking good too!

05 May 2004, 08:37 PM
Help ! NNno ! you ARE joking , right ???

sorry I disagree like totally . Brring back the different colors
to the bar/surgery , the mood got worse (well , for me) ,
and the old lights were "reddish" - not too much different.

The kissers , the same , mood gone. Was dark with cool
moonlight sort of illumination , now is just colors.
The girls eyes seem open and empty and there never
was a need to bring out the guy's face , lol .
Really , it was better in the other pic , too .

I liked the background city in the other pic better also.
and the fish .

reconsider , pleeezze ?

but you won't cause you like the new pic, oh well :)

05 May 2004, 03:54 PM (

Probably my final colour concept, taking elements that worked and combining them. I agree that the bright white light outlining the woman's face in the first one works really well so I've reverted to that. In the second colour concept I had the sunset streaming into the centre of the picture but it felt a bit unbalanced like that. I did really like the cool blue lighting filtering down from the ceiling so I've made more of this now.

A lot of fine tuning and detail will take place in the final colouring because I'll be taking my time and working in a much higher resolution version, I just wanted to nail the basics before embarking. Now I've got a reference piece to colour pick from and be (relatively) sure that I'm using correct values and so forth. I find this tricky when working on a big canvas.

One thing I've noticed is that I'm tending now towards a more subdued background palette. My first sketches had a very saturated red which I liked at first but am now thinking might overwhelm the picture. Also, heh, I'm just going to go with the overblown cyberpunk colours and lighting. I tried to fight it. I really did.

05 May 2004, 04:02 PM
Hey Squibbit, see... I did reconsider. I agree that the second concept had lost the mood a bit, but that's the whole idea of playing around and trying something a bit different. My only concern is that I didn't try anything different enough, now I'm kind of going for some pretty cliched colours and lighting! Still, with a bit of care and effort it should look quite good I reckon. Thanks for letting me know how you felt :thumbsup:

05 May 2004, 09:08 PM
Machines in love... romance...

You are CrAzY hehehe lol!!!

Yeah, great idea, and the colors... awesome green lights!!!

I will keep my eyes in this job!

Force!:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

my entry (

05 May 2004, 06:02 AM
I haven't been checking your thread lately, but now that I did, you really have something special here, I love the composition, lighting and subject matter. Even the way the lighting falls on the womans face, very, very nice.! Keep it up!


05 May 2004, 10:15 PM (

I had a free day today so I've thrown myself into the first stages of the final colouring. I'm quite happy with the way it's progressing. I'll probably end up with a whole bunch of work on now so I won't get to do more for a while, but these final stages are so satisfying that I'm sure I'll find time somehow!

I'm colouring on a higher resolution version now, and have flattened the line art layer so it's all one one. If you look around the kissing woman's cranial case the lines are more refined and subtle looking. Those brains are becoming quite unsettling to look at too, and this is something I'll be trying to emphasise as I go along.

05 May 2004, 10:22 PM
@londero - May the force be with you too ;) Thanks for your enthusiasm, man...

@Airborn - thanks for those kind words. I've had a chance to compare this latest pic with the previous colour concept and they're quite different! I guess there's going to be quite a lot of adjustment action in the latter stages. I'm glad you like the lighting on the woman's face, it seems a good way to define the focus of the picture. Oh, and your augmented tree concept is great, really expanding on the whole machineflesh concept. Most impressive.

05 May 2004, 08:49 AM
hey, very good mood there.. keep the WIPs coming! ;)

05 May 2004, 01:51 PM
Really nice composition - really like the lighting and contrast between green glow of the brains and low lighting of the bar area.

the merging of metal and skin looks totally of the more diffricult things to get right

great WIP - bring on the next stage!!:thumbsup:

05 May 2004, 09:16 PM (

Just plugging away at the details, working over the lines from the line art stage and trying to tie it all together. To help keep the main focus of the picture the kissing couple, I'm working to subtly decrease the background's contrast and saturation and push the foreground c/s. I'm not too sure about the cityscape yet, I may rework it later. Thanks for the comments and interest, it helps me try my best!

06 June 2004, 02:07 PM

Love your work, kinda reminds me of Blade Runner.

:beer: :thumbsup:

06 June 2004, 03:47 PM
allright !

hey again Speaky, cool update ! you're right about the trying out
different things but I just got the idea that you was gonna
stay with the newer update way back then , sorry :) .

After you done with the contrast/saturation stuff maybe think
about a dust / smoke effect for the place ? And yea you prolly
have thought about most the stuff i'm suggesting but just in
case ... :
the monitor in the middle is cool , also , cliche as they might look
to some , door dials that glow in the dark are cool too (and
useful) . And similar little details all around the pic (for my
eyse anyways , I like finding new stuff hidden there).
Might the fish reflect some of that green light , too ? (if only a
little )
And maybe save that cityscape and work on it as the last thing if
you can? You could try a large building in that place , far removed
but still taking most of that space.You could put a bus stop or
a taxi post in front of it . Maybe a spaceport with a huge ship
taking off or landing ?
I remember suggesting to keep the background bar one shade
but I would add to bring out other colors in small , subtle volumes.
(another glowing brain , glowing hand maybe for a person
paying a bill using and ID-chip in the hand) , bottles on the shelves and the mirror surfaces on the shelves might have a little
color play)
also , name of the bar in neonlights above it would be cool yes ?
gotta stop now , overflow of ideas ,mostly used ,imminent ,
sorry if i been a bother :p

06 June 2004, 08:34 PM (

I've saved out some pictures showing some of the details which may not be apparent in the jpegs I've posted so far. This is one of three.

06 June 2004, 08:35 PM (

Some detail shots, two of three.

06 June 2004, 08:37 PM (

Last of the details shots. Three of three.

06 June 2004, 08:42 PM
hey thanks , much appreciated !

06 June 2004, 08:45 PM (

Well, here it is. At this size, it doesn't look that much different from the last few full size pics, but there we have it... a lot of work put in to refining the details.

One of the great things about these challenges is the opportunity to watch other people's workflow and approach to digital art. Some people do very well by just going for it with the details straight off, others like me try and get the basics down and introduce details in stages. There doesn't seem to be a right or wrong way to go about it, it's really eye-opening just to see it all take shape. Well done to everyone, good luck, and thanks for the comments!

06 June 2004, 09:41 PM
@ Russo - Hey, thanks dude.

@ MrFreeman - Thanks there, I always find composition a challenge, but I'm pretty pleased with this one. Maybe three months was enough time to really think it through!

@ Element5 - Ah, compliments, compliments. I loove that film, and have been a big fan of Syd Mead since I first saw his work in a book when I was 14. It's so very hard to escape that sprawling rainy neon metropolis in SF artwork isn't it.

@ Squibbit - More feedback! Thanks for your input on this, it really helped me focus on where I was going. I still didn't implement everything I wanted to, not too happy with the fish tank, but hell, I had fun so where's the problem?

06 June 2004, 11:33 PM
More input ? allright ...


the kissers , the main attraction , nothing to say there ,
not in my eyes anyways , well done , colors , metal surfaces´,
feeling , all , bravo !

I would have liked a bit more slight color and shade alterations
on the left side , nothing major , but distinct

also the major shapes like the bar's arcways could have been
a bit sharper , yes ?

the gradient sky is a bit too even to please my eye ... something
like that , heh , don't know exactly ... and the ships look a bit
like they're on display ...

the bar ..umm.. whazzatcalled ... mascot creature ? heh well
that thing above the bar , might have the brain cupola displayed
more clearly , but it's great that it's there

the people all look fine ...

06 June 2004, 10:21 AM
I like style and mood of your image! Good work!

06 June 2004, 08:19 PM
Sweet, love it and the colors!

07 July 2004, 02:31 PM
I love the fish tank,and those details on the building and in the background are so SUBTLE! WOW! Cool Brains man :D Good Luck and Great WOrk!

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