View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak

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11 November 2004, 11:50 PM
Waw, put a color version of the last one!

11 November 2004, 09:45 AM
And when the spaceship arrives at GalCon Prime, they are presented with a book they must decipher called "To Serve Man".....
...har har har! Okay, maybe that was a bit too obscure of a reference. Oh well.

I really love the perspective of this one. Backstory and all that aside, I think the picture is fantastic.
(jealousy... ...rising... ...can't control.... ...urge... ...throw out my design and start over...)

11 November 2004, 10:06 AM
Russell - Just did a bit of googling, came up with:

nicely referenced! Got to admit the twilight zone never really clicked with me the few times I ever caught it. Maybe I caught a couple of poor episodes. In the UK it always seemed to be on ridiculously late and unpredictably so I never gave it much of a chance. Still, cheers!

11 November 2004, 10:11 AM
Yeah, the backstory you wrote just reminded me of one of those utopian-dystopian "bait-and-switch" moves that they always liked to pull on the Twilight Zone. Why is it mankind is only capable of envisioning disaster for himself (global warming, epidemics, etc)? Oh well.

Tommy Lee
11 November 2004, 11:01 AM
Your last sketch is my absolut favorite.
I love the angle, the feeling and the overall weight of the composition.
Fantastic... This image sucks me right in,... I am there!:bounce:

Can't wait for your final choice(Please the last one, Please the last one, Please the last one,...)
No, when you are happy with your concept, go for it.


11 November 2004, 11:36 AM
I agree - the point of view is really superb: works really well in showing off the cityscape and making the viewer fall into the image. Very imaginative to come up with that. :)

11 November 2004, 11:50 AM
Indeed!!Great angle,nice feeling of falling into the image and nicely worked out
BG story!!!
This is the one I prefer so far from you!!!
And like Tommy Lee already said,if you feel this one I shouldn't hesitate too much.
It's great!

y Srand Graceopera:

11 November 2004, 12:00 PM
Yeah, great story! :applause: And the pic is my favorit so far. I've nothing to crit and am just waiting for more! :D

11 November 2004, 12:56 PM
Squibbit - from the size of the bridge in question, I doubt they'd be visible. The foreground craft might well be shuttling some last minute officials to the embassy ship.

BlueEyeLizard - Ah, I'm glad that my benign vision of the future pleases you. I thought I'd try something nice and wholesome. And no 'bait and switch' moves planned, Russell! :twisted:

LuisNCT - Yep, colour version to come. Not sure if it's worth doing it until the 3D base has been set up. Maybe. Thanks for your comment.

Tommy - Thanks! I've been considering it for days now, and I'm pretty much set on the last sketch as a basis for composition. When I have some free time I'll do some basic 3D models and try and replicate this perspective, but I always find this well tricky!

Bolchover and Okmer - Hey, I'm glad that you feel that way when you look at the pic! I was aiming for a sense of vertigo. Thanks!

Anyone and everyone: thanks, I'll try and regularly update when I start to work on the next stage.

11 November 2004, 01:49 PM
oh man ,!!!wow, the final composition sketch(lighting scheme and atmospherics, contrast and camera angle), it has all necessary technicalities and it;s a marvel as a b/w, hope you maintain these tonal qualities on the final piece

11 November 2004, 07:14 PM
Hi !
You've got your final comp, please keep it !!!
It reminds me one scene in Blade Runner, when cops are flying above L.A. : what a vision !!! :thumbsup:
What I like is not only wide angle -impressive- but also foggy atmosphere drowning the city...
Keep it up ! will look for more...

My space opera (

11 November 2004, 03:34 AM
Im jealous.:applause:

11 November 2004, 03:42 AM
I think all of your concepts have been amazing. You could probably draw one out of a hat and come out with a successful piece. The scale on this last one is very impressive. It would do very well.

11 November 2004, 07:54 AM
well all you sketches are very good, the last one is probably the best ... But after that, if you have the time, it's will be very cool to see final version of another sketch...(like the second of the page 15)

11 November 2004, 07:58 AM
Yeah, that last concept is excellent, looks to have good potential :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 02:43 PM
Wow, really fantastic work - you have a big fan base going on!!! Good luck. :) Claireabella

11 November 2004, 02:57 PM
Very nice camera angle on the last concept. Also the lighting is very good, brings out the sense of depth. Waiting for the color version :D Keep up the good work :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 03:01 PM
i like the composition.. and it looks good b&w! look forward to some refinements

11 November 2004, 01:52 AM
like the two towers

11 November 2004, 12:16 AM
Giza-di - I find there is often something about a quick black and white sketch that contains a fluidity, spontaneity and dynamic which gets lost in the refining process. Often I've preferred the original sketch to the developed version! I'm happy that you appreciate it on on so many levels, for all its messy lines and scribbles I did put a lot of thought to the light and atmospherics of the pic. Thanks for your kind words!

Arctis - I know exactly what you mean. Syd Mead and the whole future vision of Bladerunner is so unsurpassed to this day, and the foggy, rainy film noir backdrop, the structures, the architecture still leave me speechless. And the music. I'll stop before I get carried away! As to my pic, I plan on having quite a sunny feel to the piece but we'll soon see if that pans out. If I get in trouble I'm sure I'll douse it in darkness and neon lights to try and save it! Cheers.

Rusty_carr - My ego swelled a bit then, I thank thee.

Ondrayce - There were times when I was ready to choose randomly from the bunch, I'll admit. I gave myself too much choice! Hopefully I've settled on the right one. Thanks....

Stunner - I liked that one too, something quite abstract about the style. But I kind of wanted the pic to be anticipating the launch, last minute feverish activity, steam clouds, tense expectation, spectacle about to happen and the sketch you mention didn't have that really. Glad you liked it though, thanks for taking the time.

V_Shane & Clairebella - Thank you both!

Lenz79 - I did try a quickie colour version last night but it didn't add anything really so I didn't post. I've not quite finished a 3D perspective base replicating (quite well hopefully) the angle and dynamics from the last sketch. I hope to post this tomorrow, get a copy printed and do some pen detailing on it. Thanks for posting!

Hydrocell - Coming up soon. Hopefully have some time to dedicate to this over the weekend, can't wait! Thanks.

Tolga - In the final version I'm looking to increase the number of towers significantly. Cheers!

11 November 2004, 02:56 AM
latest sketch=bee yoo tee fooooool!

11 November 2004, 03:40 AM
Without lack of being repetitive, once again you have outstanding talent, and the last couple of updates i just seen look spectacular...and i might just take you up on the advice for photoshop...


11 November 2004, 09:18 AM
Your lastest image is simply fantastic! I really like the story behind it as well. Can alreally picture this as being a very icon indeed.

11 November 2004, 10:16 AM
Amazing angle and glow :D
can't wait to see the final !!!

11 November 2004, 11:35 AM
This is very atmospheric and the story is very good . . . something other than war. the whole feel of the piece is gentle and soothing and i can't wait to see more. wish i had come up with story!

11 November 2004, 01:54 PM
hi Speaky...nice story dude,love what you bring lately...the story is just amazing and full of details..saw you think of everything city names ,measurements.....just cool.....the final layout is realy cool ...hope to see him developed more very soon.....cheers tech

11 November 2004, 03:06 PM
The atmosphere and the point of you are really well exploited! The final result may just be good with this solid sketch! :)

11 November 2004, 03:07 PM
The last sketch and backstory are just great! I don't know what to suggest at this point... I don't know if it's possible, but maybe you could find a way to show the people celebrating? Maybe parades in the street and spectators? I don't know if this is possible at the distance you have set the camera, though.

11 November 2004, 05:32 PM
Always very well your last sketch, but or you will stop you became a
machine with still creates space Opéra, Bravo for all this work.

11 November 2004, 11:02 PM (

Modelled in Wings, put together in Blender, I also included the 3D model for the original top-down perspective building shot for added complexity. I tried to keep it as basic as possible because all that's needed really is a guide. I defined a lamp off where the sun should be, it will be useful to refer to it in the colouring stages. I can't see myself following it too closely because there are always areas that can be improved with a bit of artistic license, made to read better or appear more dramatic at the expense of accuracy.

I'm also not entirely sure where the horizon is on my pic, I'll need to try and work it out. Verticals are parallell to the horizon, but the wide angle lens seems to point to a curved horizon. Not sure how to do this, I may need to employ the age-old best guess technique. Anyone got some advice on this?

To produce the line art (will follow in a few minutes) I used the find edges filter, lightened the image and printed it out. This gave me a very subtle guide and I went mentalist with the line detail with a 0.1 marker I have.

Not the waterfall is flanked by structures, I'm wanting some generators and machinery down at the base of it. You can see this in the line art, to follow...

11 November 2004, 11:12 PM (

Here's the lineart. Looks like a complete soup of lines at the moment, very hard to differentiate what's going on. It'll all become clear in the later stages (I hope!). I'll use the lines for a while but will definitely work 'over' them soon enough, and I'll make sure the focus is clearly on the key elements, the ambassador ship, the closest craft and the waterfall while having a lot of extra stuff to add interest on further examination.

I might well have some kind of cliff face or mountain in the upper right half of the bg, this may go some way to help the horizon issue, not sure yet.

Next stage, I'll scale this down to say 500 pixels wide and start rebuilding the values and atmospherics. I'm going to make sure I get the value, colour and composition working on the small simple scale first. Very important, I wouldn't like to backtrack and have to rework anything too major.

See ya!

11 November 2004, 11:54 PM
I agree with you that there could be some shapes to fill the horizon. Great line art by the way!

11 November 2004, 12:47 AM
can't comment anything ! do you have any suggestion how to coloring without do lineart just like you?? :>

11 November 2004, 02:11 AM
awesome line art! the only thing i really have to say is that the 3d base and the lineart is far less dramatic than the original sketch. but either way, the latest image is still very "grand-esque" and i'm sure you'll make a great piece out of this :)

11 November 2004, 03:36 AM
Wow! Great choice! From all of your previous sketches it is the best, for me. The city is really amazing, all rounded around the center of the composition from where the ships are coming. I like it a lot. I hope the misted ambience of the sketch will remain in the last picture. Congratulations!

11 November 2004, 02:02 PM
With right colors to show a depth of this image and right quantity of details to show the grandness of the envieronment, this will be a masterpiece hard to compete! And with ur previously sketches and work, I dont doubt that u'll succeeded :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 05:25 PM (

This can be called a colouring WIP I reckon. As always, the first step is to get the values right. This is simply the most crucial aspect and comes before colour, saturation and texture. If you get the values wrong, it's going to read badly, simple as that. That's not to say that the values have to be accurate necessarily, here I've ignored a lot of what the 3D render was 'telling' me about the way the light was falling on the scene, and I think it works better for it.
A general rule of thumb for pics set in an atmosphere is that the further away an object is, the lighter it's darkest dark is. This is one way the brain interprets distance and the hierarchy of objects it is looking at. In other words, if you have an object with one side in light (effectively white, say) and the other side in shade, if it's close to the 'camera' then the shade can be black, but the further away the object is, the more ambient light is mixed in with the atmosphere, raising the shade's value. If it's very far away the lit side would be white, and the shade side might only be fractionally darker than the sky / atmosphere / surroundings. This is called atmospheric perspective and affects colour too. A green tree is green close by, but a wooded hillside a couple of miles away has a lot of sky blue mixed in, making the green appear more like a purple. Again, this makes the pic more believable to the human eye.

Again, realism isn't always the idea. It's only recently clicked with me, but I reckon I can get away with the fact that the tower-like strut on the ambassador ship is darker than it 'should' be because it is surrounded by very light areas. I increase the contrast here (making the strut darker) because I imagine the retina shrinking or camera iris stopping down to cope with the brightness of the surrounding area. This lowers the exposure, bringing the value of the area in question down. And letting me fudge what's going on and make the pic read better!

The topic of exposure is also something I'm only really beginning to 'get'. When I was first struggling with digital art a couple of years back I was dismayed at how flat and unrealistic my efforts turned out. I started to consider why. A long time later I began to understand the relationship between dynamic range, exposure and the image.

In a nutshell, consider this. You're standing in dimly lit church, looking at a doorway, and outside is a beautiful summer's day. You have a camera and want to take a pic of the church wall, and the door. How to expose the pic? If you set the exposure on the wall so you can see the detail of the stonework, a picture hanging there etc you'll end up with the doorway being nearly flat white. If you set the exposure to the brightness outside, you'll see a rectangle of a sunlit cemetary and the rest of the pic will be black. You cannot get both 'ranges' of value information in one pic.

The eye, the camera and the film camera can select a particular range of light values (the exposure, making up 0 - 100% of pixel luminosity) from a far greater range (the dynamic range). Anything outside of this chosen range gets 'clipped' or moved towards the dark or light end of the exposed range respectively. This is why the buildings above the waterfall are defined in the lightest values possible, there's very little difference between their lightest lights and their darkest darks.

In my pic, then, I have chosen to 'expose' in favour of the shaded areas in the central 'dip' and the shaded areas of the buildings. This lets me bring out detail there and makes me bleach out much lighter areas. The end result (and I did say I'm still learning!), should be an image that looks more photographic, or something that you could expect to see in the cinema.

EDIT: Thinking about it, maybe the dynamic range IS the exposed range. Anyone care to clear this up for me?

11 November 2004, 05:30 PM
bravo... bravo....+ the usuall applause...

11 November 2004, 10:45 PM (

I spent an hour and a bit trying out different colours. Started by putting a color layer over the value sketch. I didn't have any real plan, just tweaked a bit here, used the airbrush there, tried adding a bit of colour detail, dodged the buildings in the centre and the side of the ambassador ship and generally messed around with it. I'm thinking that a bit of variation in the upper plateau area might add interest.

This is a quarter scale image of the final hi-res version. This makes it easy to re-scale it up again and use it as a colour basis for the final pic.

11 November 2004, 10:47 PM
I 'm curious of the colors you will choose for your pict, because it's one of my favourite composition - my favorite maybe...- in the challenge.
Good luck

My space opera (

11 November 2004, 10:50 PM
Oooops ! You just posted your color sketch before I post my reaction...
Beautiful color embiance, very promising, so now, I'm curious about how you will detail it.
Keep on ...:thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 11:30 PM
great colors! wonderful atmosphere!:thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 01:31 AM
Wow there are a lot of exciting concepts in your entry so far... it's hard to choose which one I like best :)
Now choose one yourself and get some headway on this!!

11 November 2004, 05:50 AM
great developement, I have no crits. I just watch and learn :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 03:35 PM
Really impressive... Your work method is very good and effective. :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 04:59 PM
Beautiful coloring so far! I wouldn't have thought of green for a ship's engines, but it complements the yellows in the background wonderfully. nice work!


11 November 2004, 05:55 PM
well your final image is amazing ... The colors are beautifull. good choice ! :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 06:14 PM
nice colors and ligthing. very realistic:bounce:

11 November 2004, 06:25 PM
Looking really good. I appreciate all the explanation you give for your process.

11 November 2004, 06:47 PM
Hey there.. I've been following your thread lately and there's a heap load of great work here. You've got great composition and lighting skills... something I cant get the hang of.

The latest entry looks fantastic, although for a bit more urgency with the escaping ship I would have sugested to have the closest ship banking at about 45 degrees. The reason I say this is because the ships look like they are cruising... or is this the intention? I havnt read all the posts ; ) Really nice lighting though

11 November 2004, 08:40 PM
Arctis - Thanks, I managed to pip you to the post! I can't wait to get on with the detailing, but I must avoid the temptation and do the groundwork first.

Bloodtaster - Glad you like it, I was planning to set this in a blinding sunset since I always tend to go for dark scenes. I wanted something a bit different.

Leigh - Hi there, thanks! Unless some drastic issue crops up I reckon this latest is the way forward for me. Appreciate the comments, cheers.

Element5 - Thanks man!

LuisNCT - I never really thought I had a method, but certainly recently I'm discovering that an organised approach and a bit of thought go a long way to helping a pic along. Thanks!

Walrus - Oh yeah, green engines. That'll be the beryllium-oxide quantuum flux dissipation emissions. It's an increase in tax but hell, they're worth it. Cheers.

Stunner, Melkao - Thanks to both!

Novacaine - You are most welcome. Any questions, just ask and I'll see if I can explain further.

Jezzarts - Cheers, man. I've still got a long way to go learning composition, though I'm starting to realise the importance of guiding the eye around the pic. Basically, the (western) eye favours moving from left to right, from up to down. Areas of high contrast, high saturation and sharp edges attract the eye, whereas areas of low contrast, low saturation and lost edges don't. That's where I am at the moment, there's bound to be more to it than that! Lighting - that's the result of a lot of observation and just plain trying to work out the various planes of the pic and what / how much light is hitting them. Oh and the use of gradients to approximate light falloff.
As to the two ships, they aren't chasing each other. I know what you mean about having it at a 45 degree angle but I prefer it the way it is, simply powering along and about to enter a controlled descent into the lower plateau. I'm trying to concentrate on a sense of scale and majesty rather than an action packed scene.

I am still considering ways of getting a human element in there. Currently I'm thinking of putting some kind of balcony in the lower right corner, as if there is a huge building just off to the right. Some people could be crowded round to watch, and maybe someone hooting and hollering at the passing ship.

11 November 2004, 09:53 PM
I like the concept and the perspective, perhaps the top of the image is too burned... will add more details, and others flying ships...

11 November 2004, 10:01 PM
speaky... :bounce: this isnt good , this isnt nice.... this is something that i cant explain with words............ i can just say that i am impressed... and about picture not a word...........
those colors.... make me feel so good...

11 November 2004, 10:25 PM
I could never do such crazy amount of pictures even if i had the imagination for it!

If there is a way for public to vote for Community Award ill be voting for you :scream:
:applause: is this really final desing? Will you try some other approaches as well?

11 November 2004, 02:00 AM
Wow, very cool. The lighting is super tight. Nice work.

11 November 2004, 02:26 AM
I'm a bit of a spectator on this one. Simply enjoying watching it progress.

11 November 2004, 12:37 PM
this looks very grand.

I really appreciate the explanation, learnt alot. I really need to buy some books on this kind of stuff . . . recomend any good ones, on perspective, exposure and everthing else you can think of.

I reckon yuo have a good chanc of winning. At least an honourable mention. can not wait to see the final image.. Adn i love the colour scheme!

11 November 2004, 01:06 PM
Lookin real good Speaky. I like the 'values first' way of doing things. You're right, if it doesn't work at this stage all the color in the world ain't gonna save it. And I must say, yours is workin' great. Top job so far, and inspirational.

11 November 2004, 02:50 AM
Jesse, first off, I apologize sincerely for not stopping by your thread. I could've sworn I had subscribed, and I hadn't received any message updates, so I've missed a lot of your process. And a thanks for keeping up with mine! I really appreciate it. Anyway, I went through every post since my last visit so I could understand your concept, see where you're wanting to go, and see if I can humbly try and help you go there at all!

On the issue of my last post of finding your story was to help you personally understand, maybe, your concept, and also to help us as the critics understand. I can totally relate with you when you say you want your images to simply be a source of inspiration, neutral extravagance that the viewer can create there own story. That is a belief of mine that I hold strongly too... which gets me quite a bit of negative feeback being at art-school where everything must have a specific message to convey to the viewer. I disagree. If you have a message you want others to understand, sweet, try and convey it. I do that as well. But a lot of my work is simply to inspire in any way the viewer conjures up, I'm in total agreeance with you. The only reason that we should know is so we can understand what it is you want to convey so we can help you convey it. The judges will not need the explanation, nor will any other viewer. Your process and our critiques should be enough to help you convey the message. The words are simply for the forums purposes.

Speaking of which, your story is fantastic and original. When I think of the concept of this challenge, I think of creating a work that could go into motion at any time with angellic voices belting with full orchestration on top of it. A lot of the participants are interpreting this as a fight. But you're one of the first I've seen to see this as an optimistic potential. This seen could have angels singing and full orchestration. A momentus occasion that is full of operaticness. Bravo. The critiques from here will have to just insure that your image displays this (or really any) as a momentus occasion, and not just a snapshot of something happening or a scene... a postcard, if you will.

You're method of sketching is extremely conducive to positive results. Starting with a midrange on top of midranges really helps you focus on shape first, lighting value later, and color even later. Very good workflow. You're comments on exposure are absolutely 100% correct and I couldn't've said it better. It is an issue that, if explored by any artist here, it would make there work infinitely better. You're one sentence, saying that one image cannot have every value in it, is genius. I could never find a way exactly to say it, but that's exactly what it is. Understanding how our own eyes work and cameras which capture the majority of images we see, which defines our image of realism, is key.

And your recent color experimentation is about the most intense, dramatic, convincing lighting I think I've seen in a digital painting... honestly. It really is incredible. Your use falloff color is so strategic, instead of just a white gradient flashing across the page becomig more and more transparant.

Alright, now all I've done is basically praise you and repeat your thoughts... sorry for the redundancy, it is sincere though! However, it really won't help you much, just enforce you're credibility and raise your ego! :p

Here are the weak parts I've noticed:

I, personally, wouldn't immediately be able to recognize the center focus as a ship. It looks more like a towered structure in the middle of a barracaded city. I'm not sure if I have any suggestions to help you achieve this understanding, but something you should think about maybe. Possibly add some smoke or steam leaking out from under the ship, such as space ships of today do before the enginse start. Maybe even other steam leaks around the ships body. Before take-off they pretty much freeze the jets and everything around them so they don't over-heat during launch and disinegrate/melt everything! So that steam/frost cause by that might be a useful effect. Maybe make the bridge to the ship less structurally solid so it would look like something that would move out of the way before launch. You know, like cross-bard supported such as launchpads of today. (i know it's not today, just to help communicate though) Yea, I really don't know how to make it read like a ship, but I do believe some thought should go into it. The red light leaking through the ship is genius, incredible.

Next, I admire your compositional value with the extreme bright on one side, and the not so much on the other. However, I believe the top right side is read as 'unrealistic.' Not in the sense that it's not how it would be in real life, but it's not convincing as something 'real' to the viewer, no matter how technically correct it is or isn't. It's too bland. The only way I could see that stark of a value change is if there was an enormous mountain behind the ship that owuld be blocking all that light and atmosphere. As the backside of the mountains would probably be close to that value because of the atmospheric perspective, as you have mentioned , the highlights reflecting this incredibly bright light-source would be brighter, I believe. I just don't see the object blocking this intense light. Again, I don't understand enough about it to give you help to achieve the effect I'm searching for, it could be many many years before I can create a color sketch as convincing as this. All I can tell you is what I see, and to me, although my wisdom of light is not as thorough and extensive as yours, my first glance at the image reads unconvincing.

The lights contouring the launchpad aren't convincing either. Even though the sunset is technically a stronger and brighter light source, think about what you said. The eye/camera has to read a value as white and a value as dark. Anything below or above these values simply are black or white. Anything inbetween is detail visible to our eyes. And a camera or eye of any type will not read the brightest bright as brighter than any lightsource. If you were to put a light bulb and a sun in the same picture, the sun would overpower the lightbulb for sure, but the brightest white will still be of a lower value than that of the source in the bulb that emits the light. Therefor, there would still be a glimmer of pure white within the bulb, surrounded by the pigmented falloff. The sun, being stronger, would simply have a larger part of it's source read as pure white. But either way, any light in a scene will have at least a glimmer of pure white because the camera will not read pure white any brighter than these sources, if it did, the entire rest of the scene would be completely black. So the launchpad lights, I believe, would still have a 'nucleus' as white as the whitest white in the scene, ie. the sun, just not of as massive proportions. As they are right now, they cannot be read as light sources, I would merely read them as extremely dim glowing orbs. What I believe it needs it a smaller pure-white nucleus and a smaller, possibly more saturated, falloff.
EDIT: Rereading this, I have to object and say that the nucleus could be a very saturated color of a glimmer. But either way, the center of the light source would be of an intense value of either pure white or an extremely saturated color, not the grayish almost neutral values you currently have in the nucleus of each light source

And in referance for obtaining the distortions one would get with a wide-angled lens would simply be to render the picture with normal perspectives, then take the finished project into photoshop or some sort of software to customize the distortion. Or, take the line-art from the beginning and distort that with a very modestly fish-eyed distortion and go from there. It's impossible to map this with regular perspective techniques. All the wide angle lense is is a distortion of a reality... that's all you have to do with yours: Create the reality, then distort it. It would probably be easier and more predictable to distort from the beginning though

and digging for the most minor of details, maybe add a slight light block ray from the lower cruiser and possibly an array of... rays, shooting in between the smaller city buildings just to see how it looks. It could add some intrigue and an interesting intricacy to the piece. But that is merely an experimental idea to maybe play around with on your free time!

And I'm not sure if I like the immense glow from behind the ship or not. It's either distracting or the most vital point to the composition.... so yea, that was a useless thought!

Anyway, hope this book that I have just seemed to have written is more of a help then the nuisance of space it's taking up! Good luck, I'm excited for your work, and thanks again for keeping up with my thread! take care

11 November 2004, 05:20 AM
I think the lighting in your image is powerful, but the blown out white is very distracting. I would take a look at some reference of some very intense light situations like that and try to see what is really happening. Other than that, it looks to be coming along nicely.

11 November 2004, 02:24 PM
You've got some awesome stuff here. I'd say it's time to pick something and start developing it though. Part of the process is making decisions, which is hard for me as well, but necessary. I'd hate to see you do all this great concept work and then not have time to complete a final render.

11 November 2004, 09:53 AM (

Hello again! It seems like ages since I last updated my entry. I'm so swamped with work that I've had next to no time to get stuck in to this pic. It looks like my weekend will be taken up with work too.

Anyway, I have stolen the odd half hour here and there and have rebuilt the values on the master pic, which is 3600 pixels wide by quite a few tall. I could have simply taken the low res values and scaled them up by 400%, but I wanted to take what I liked and kind of approach it afresh.

First step was to create lots of mask channels of the various areas - upper plateau, lower plateau, main ship, near building, distant buildings etc. This is a great way of being able to work on selective areas without hampering yourself with the annoyance of layers. I find layers can be so restrictive in terms of making subtle but sweeping changes to the pic as a whole. So basically I'm going to try to work on a single layer throughout and use a layer only when trying something out or using the 'erase through' technique I harped on about earlier.

I don't consider this pic to be the final values, there are many areas that need to be brought up to speed in terms of detail and so forth. Just wanted to get an update up!

11 November 2004, 10:05 AM
Thanks everyone for posting! Some double-quick replies because time is short:

Stefgrafx - Yes, way too dodged and burned. The value sketch wasn't a detail thing, more of an indication of where I want to go.

Markovicd, Falcor_, Dougbot, Sideache, W!L, Cornishman - Cheers you lot, keeps me going!

Steve - What can I say? Thanks so much for the long reply! I thought some of my posts were comprehensive, but yours.... wow! Thanks for the support, and I appreciate the crits. I wish I could do justice to your reply, but can just say: I agree with the building / ship confusion, I've taken your advice and made the bridge element much more temporary looking. It'll be ferrying cargo and supplies aboard in the final pic. Upper right area: agreed, I still need to address this. Good suggestions about the smaller light rays which I've taken up in the latest. Bit worried it's looking washed out, but will stick with it.

Jm. - Thanks, care to elaborate a bit more on how it's not working? I'll be the first one to admit I'm still learning how light works, so could you explain your point a bit more?

Banter3 - no worries, theme, composition is all picked. Here it is! Just need to sort the values, colour, details.... Cheers!

11 November 2004, 06:48 PM
Well, it's going better each time...:)
Keep on the good work !!

11 November 2004, 07:14 PM
Speaky, the biggest thing I enjoy about this peice is the sense of mystery in invokes. This feels like a hidden base, or ruined city....a place for intrigue. I think the feeling this generates is good, and the values are great, now maybe this needs just a hint more of story or action and it will be very strong. With scuh a large canvas you have a lot of room for detail and these details can help you suggest a story to the viewer.

It's looking good man!

Tommy Lee
11 November 2004, 03:05 AM
Short comment from me:

Holy Crap!!! This is so awesome:thumbsup: ...totally love it.

11 November 2004, 04:22 AM
I agree with what Tommy said!

11 November 2004, 08:07 AM
I cant believe iits not budder........

11 November 2004, 06:33 PM
I really like the stuff you have posted on your thread! You have great vision to do mindblowing compositions. I guess Your latest isn't quite my favourite concept of yours and I like the version that is on the page 17 more than this. you can feel the height better in it. But i really like the dramatic lighting situation that's going on! :)

11 November 2004, 09:26 PM
Very nice values on that last one. You may want to consider dropping the contrast of the background in selcted spots, like creating a suble de-contrasted halo around certain forground elements, to make them stand out more. Very nice.

11 November 2004, 10:08 PM (

I was wondering if this should have been put in as a final colouring milestone? Ah, I'm still working on it so I'll stick with the WIP status. It's pretty saturated, that's for sure, but at this point I'm kind of enjoying it so I'll let it stay for now.

So this is where the sheer usefulness of having worked out my values first really shows. It's taken me about half an hour to throw some colour round and I'm liking it already! Basically my approach was to use a number of layers (only temporarily, mind) to stack up a number of gradients set to 'color' mode. First off I dragged one from where the sun is brightest, top left, diagonally down to the bottom right. That gives a nice falloff of the saturation as the pic generally gets darker. Then I dragged a gradient from the bottom straight to the top, giving it a warm earthy orange, to simulate the way color intensity fades in atmospheric haze. Next, a blueish colour was dragged on in an opposite direction to the sunlight layer. This was then gently erased with a big soft brush in the areas which weren't in shadow. I think I then put a deep red layer on top and gave it about 10% opacity, just to tie everything together a bit. Lots of slight adjustments followed on each layer, bit of this, bit of that, some green on the ship exhausts and we're there!

I've not finished on the colouring stage though. I want to introduce some subtle variations to break up the orange a bit, I also need to work out where other sources of light, however faint, may be. Oh, and that horizon, which I'm guessing lies almost at the topmost point of the ship, not ideal. Maybe I'll just repress it for now.

Anyway, the colour is pleasing me big and it's pleasing me as a thumbnail. Like values, it's important to get the major components right first before getting fiddly with it. I plan to get this sorted and then leave myself with long enough to work the details to my heart's content.

Cheers for looking!

11 November 2004, 10:23 PM
Blackarts - Cheers man. It's kind of what I like in a pic, something easy to approach and understand what I'm looking at without it all being laid out for me. I hope I can strengthen the story in the details, but I'm not sure it'll be too effective. For me, I think writing the story helped enormously in informing the design of the pic itself, and for that reason alone, it was well worth doing.

Tommy Lee - Man, easy on my ego here! ;)

Sideache - What I just said! Dude, your pic is amazing, just saw it for the first time.

Ymbsnakeeye - It's only half the calories of real SF art and tastes nearly as good.

TeemuR - Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how you feel! I know what you mean about the quick sketch. There's always something special about the initial sketch that doesn't make it through to the final, I'm just hoping that the final pic will have qualities of its own that are yet to be maximised.

ChrisThatGuy - There's a whole lot of time left to amend the bits. There's a lot of the original sketch in it still that needs to be eradicated. I'm hoping for some canny subtleties in the background, contrast, colour and everything.

Thanks you lot, it makes it a whole lot of fun taking part in this challenge. :beer:

11 November 2004, 11:08 PM
yea! go Speaky!

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

11 November 2004, 11:16 PM
very cool. great mood. It lacks a little on detail in some places to be a final rendering, for example the building in the background.

11 November 2004, 12:07 AM
if i ever get to you're level i will be another demi-god praying to only the best wow dude


lol love it :P

11 November 2004, 11:02 PM
I like it VERY much

12 December 2004, 12:01 AM
Looks amazing! my only sugestion would be to add some magenta around those large lights on the ground. Everything seems a little too monocromatic in the structure.

realy nice clean work! :thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 02:05 AM
Looking very promising!! :)

Impenetrable D
12 December 2004, 02:56 AM
How long did it take you to get to this stage, permutations, permutations.:cool:

12 December 2004, 03:52 PM
now here is a man vry much in control of his work . . . excellent. looking a bit too monochrome at mo like CodeNothing said but otherwise hats off sir.

12 December 2004, 10:10 PM
Jesse, It's looking very good. I'm learning from your process of creating the values first, that is phenomonal advice. I'll definitely be attempting to use that in my process as well. Do you paint on top/below your values or use them only as referance?

I was thinking, one more thing that might help the ship look more defined is maybe placing some darker values right under it's body so it wouldn't look 'attatched' to the city. Right now it looks like it's built right into the ground with a foundation. darker values immediately under it will give it the appearance that it's being held there, temporarily.
The docking lights are tons better

Now that you added those extra rays flooding through the buildings, it appears your light perspective is wrong. The ray flowing through the ship is going more to the right. The ones going through the buildings are going more down-right. It might just be a matter of one side of the ray being less balanced and making it appear it's going in a different direction, but check it with your perspective lines to make sure it's all coming from the one light source.

Someone mentioned something about this one being too monochrome, so I went back to your previous coloring to see what I liked so much about that one. I think what gave it a little more contrast and intrigue to the eye was the buildings in the foremost ground were less saturated. Try toning it down some more and see if you like it. It might not apply to this version of the color sketch, but you can see for yourself. I think it could use some cooler colors.

Good luck with everything, hope you can find as much time as you'd like to work on this. I know the feeling! take care

12 December 2004, 11:33 AM
wooooooooooooooooooooooow..great work so far dude..didn't wach the thread lately but I'm amazed about what I everything mate.....the buildings are crazy and the colors too...try to add more details in the close area....more small ships would be cool too..but I think they are waiting to come later....dont they? work it....cheers

Tommy Lee
12 December 2004, 06:51 PM
This is gettin' itense dude! Love your color choice. Very warm and mystirious:thumbsup:
I wish I was there!


12 December 2004, 10:14 PM
WOW!!:eek: Do you do all your colouring in photoshop?
Do you know any painting tutorials i can check out. I am currently photoshop illiterate and i don't even know how much time i have left in the challenge, but i know it's not much!!:eek:

12 December 2004, 11:38 PM
Hi everyone, it's been far too long since the last update! I think I've got pretty much every evening this coming week free to concentrate on the pic so expect to see some daily updates from me. I'm looking forward to getting stuck back in to it.

I'll write specific replies tomorrow. I just wanted to say a general thanks for the continued interest, and have noted that there are some fantastic entries developing now. Great stuff.

Laters :)

12 December 2004, 11:30 PM (

Keeping an eye on the time left here! I'll be leaving my PC and tablet on the 19th December to fly home to England, then returning to Italy on the 7th of January, leaving me only twelve days from now and another ten days after I get back! It's suddenly become a deceptively short amount of time, so I thought I might as well push on and begin to render this out.

And I'll be checking the threads while I'm away, and will try to keep track of all the wonderful pics that are starting to come to fruition.

Also at this late stage, I've still got the nagging feeling that the pic needs one of two things: either the main ship needs to read much more clearly as if it's about to take off, or I need some sort of added interest in the form of another element. I had thought of putting the side of a building with a balcony and people celebrating on the right hand side, but the composition is quite heavy over there anyway, I'm not sure it could handle it. It leaves me with some nagging questions, and I don't really want to extend the canvas anywhere else because of the limited time and I like the composition as is. Hmmm. Any thoughts you lot?

So, I'm beginning to paint out the line art, increasing contrast in some areas, I've added a slight colour gradient cooling off the horizon slightly, and made the shadow areas a bit cooler too. Lots of little things. The foreground is a bit unbalanced detail wise, some of the distances - i.e. the close building strut and the nearest part of the upper plateau need separating, but that's a minor thing and will be left to the final touches stage.

So, some mixed feelings at this stage, but I'm still enjoying it and that's the most important thing, isn't it. Publish and be damned, that's what I say!

12 December 2004, 11:48 PM
*jealousy cramp* urgh... *jealousy ache* ...ngrrhh... * awe stroke* AWzzchhh...

12 December 2004, 12:31 AM
Squibbit - Ha, love it. Thanks man.

Garma - Detail, hot and being served up now.

Angelbait - Flatterer! :blush: I still have a lot to learn, but that's the joy of it. Set your sights higher than me, you can get there. Practice, patience, the basics are the key. Thanks...

LuisNCT - I'm glad you do, thanks for posting!

Codenothing - Monochromatic, it is a bit. I'm planning to put more colour in there, but subtly. Less is more. Big golden sunset tends to dominate everything.

Adonihs - Cheers!

Impenetrable D - Way too long, being on this challenge from hour 1. More sketches than strictly necessary too...

W!L - I think my process gives a greater illusion of control than I really have! But thanks!

Steve - Hello again, always appreciate your timely advice. Values, I start off with a black and white layer that seems to read well to me, then I'll put a number of layers set to 'color' on top and sweep some gradients (one colour fading to transparent) across the pic, erasing where elements overlap - say the main ship prong reaching up over the horizon etc. One thing that really tends to help is to have a topmost layer which I pour a solid (or subtle gradient) colour which will be the dominant colour overall, and set this to multiply and adjust the opacity so it doesn't darken the pic too much. This isn't as destructive as it sounds because the point of values is that they hold a relative value to each other within your 0 - 100% luminance range. You can push them right down towards black or bleach them right out quite severely and the pic will still 'work'.
As to the whole ship / building / ground issue. I'm on it, hopefully it'll become sorted, your ideas here are sound I think. The light rays... not sure that the perspective is wrong since the verticals in the pic are so crazy it's hard to imagine what's right! Again, thanks a lot.

Techart - Thanks man, details on their way.

Tommy - Nice, I'm glad you like it. It would be quite something to attend wouldn't it? Cheers!

NewCenturydsn - All colouring in photoshop. It takes a while to learn and seems lacking things like blender brushes but they are sometimes overly tempting to use. A bit seductive, like the dark side. As to general advice, where do I begin? I would always recommend taking your line art (which is strong, I saw it recently) and work on a smaller version of it only in black and white. Get it to look right in monochrome - you'll surprise yourself at the immediate improvement this will bring to your final pic, and most people are intuitive at seeing if it's right or wrong in monochrome. This is where you think about your light sources. Complete your value study first, don't skip over areas you haven't got right because they'll be the ones to cause problems and frustration later on. Colour is very tricky to get right, so I'd recommend a simple two tone scheme when you get to it, with some local and subtle variation. Subtlety is the key, texture. Research traditional art. Learn about edges (hard, soft, lost). Sorry, you asked a bit of a general question here, I tried to think about what might directly help you in this challenge! Hope this made some sense.

Bedtime! :wavey:

12 December 2004, 01:38 AM
OH man, this composition is beautiful. I haven't checked up on your progress lately, and boy did I miss much. Great work! I love it!

12 December 2004, 02:46 AM
Jesus Christ!
Excellent painting, my friend!

12 December 2004, 04:28 AM
Jesse, thanks for the input. I'll definitaly take it to heart, i've seen in my travels, that many other artists, finish their black and white's before adding colour. ex;Alex Ross

It never seems to occur to me to do so. I guess i see the finished product in my head and go for the kill.

Thanks again, 40+ days left, you might as well throw another pic out:D , even though the one you have is definatly 1st place material.
Keep your eyes to the....screen?

Uh... yeah

12 December 2004, 09:48 AM
Just popping in to give my support, this is looking to be an amazing it :thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 01:13 PM
Is this a teaser for all of us here before you put the final touches when you come back from your break? Oh no now we all have to wait, but at least there is something to look forward to. One suggestion to the master of this challenge... clarity on the waterfall would be good. At the moment I can vaguely see it, to anyone whom haven't read the story would see this as only a great artwork and probably would only picture part of the story. The connection of the water and the ship is somehow not conversing this one message. Behind this image is a great story and needless to say its already a fantastic master piece whatever stroke you place on to it. Just can't wait to see the new updates when you get back! Travel safe and Merry Christmas.

12 December 2004, 02:08 PM
Yes . . . just a slight amount of more detail to waterfall. As for more stuff i am not sure it needs it. . . It has a great feel right now as is. People on balconys not a bad idea.. culd try it... ot some sort of firwaoks, flare typr thing being set of, nothing overbearing just subtle. Maybe?

Anyway love the atmosphere and i can not believe you are worrying ab0out time... I still do not know what it is i am doing.

12 December 2004, 02:46 PM
WOW! Impressive! I think that adding some figures of othr tiny detail is good idea. It gives good feeling of scale to the image. You shouldn't worry abotu the time. Your image already looks great.

12 December 2004, 04:32 PM
hi, such a massively popular thread. i see why. If it were me, I'd add a very subtle vapour trail or heat adjustment (you know that wibblywobbly effect above a car bonnet or fire) behind the ships to suggest interaction with enviornment and a bit of their direction/motion. They seem to be hanging there a bit at the moment. anyway, not much else I can say. Look forward to more :)

12 December 2004, 06:15 PM
Your pict is really nice and I love it ! But I agree with you that there could be maybe a couple of thing missing yet...
I have two suggestions, I hope it will be helpful :
1- You could colour with a special tint the ship in the center of the scene, to have it detached from the background, otherwise, no object appears really clearly in this totally brown ambience.
2- There is a lot of sharp shapes, but no smooth objects like smog or clouds. maybe you could add some of it, another way to create contrast between objects.
Anyway good luck and good holydays.:scream:

12 December 2004, 11:02 PM (

Lots of small details added, some structures casting shadows on the upper plateau. I'm trying to find the right level of detail for the closest ground buildings which will convince the eye that there's more to see but won't distract from what's really going on. I wanted some more vertical elements here too, and I've got a few shadows implying largish structures just out of frame. I'm a lot happier with this area now, it's beginning to please me and I feel the light is working nicely.

I've been fiddling around with the contrast and saturation a lot too, trying to push both on the main ship (still not reading well, but fingers crossed it will soon) so that they stand out. And I've pushed back the foreground tall strut building and, well, almost everything behind it to some extent. I found the buildings in the lower right corner where the shaft of light is striking them to compete for attention, so I lowered the contrast in this area.

Things for next time: those buildings behind and to the right of the main ship are a bit... bad. Need to sort them out. Got to think about the horizon, but I just can't work out wether it should be straight, curved a bit or curved a lot. I reckon it might even harm the composition so I may just leave it fogged.

12 December 2004, 11:15 PM
nice enviroment you got going on here, it's looking great.

-I agree with Arctis, I would give a slightly different material to the central big ship. It reads to me as just another building. Maybe the engines are getting ready to fire and are generating smoke or something liek that?

- I think you could leave the horizon fogged, it looks fine as is

- Some more small ships flying around might help convey the importance of this event?

12 December 2004, 11:33 PM
Airborn - Hey there, thanks man.

Lula-assassina - Cheers!

Newcenturydsn - Doing sketches in black and white is well worth a go, and really doesn't have to take much time at all. Start with a thumbnail of your lineart, only 400 pixels long will do. Set this layer to 'multiply' so that the black values (your lines) are preserved, put a layer underneath this and fill it with a medium grey. Then pick a darker grey, start blocking in the elements in shade etc. Then a lighter grey for the big areas that are catching some light. Then a near black for things really close to the camera, or stuff that really is in shadow. Then white (sparingly!) for your light sources and planes that can pick up the light case from these. Time - 5-10 minutes. What you are looking for are clearly defined silhouettes, no detail whatsoever, you should be able to see really clearly how the general composition will work. Then if you want to spend some time finding inbetween values and work some subtlety into it, go for it. Finally, on a layer above your lineart, 'overlay' mode is quite good here, pour a colour or a gradient into it. I guess next you could have a normal layer above this and eyedropper colours and start to change them subtly.This lets you start planning your colours. This way you put luminance values first, and colour is a secondary priority, the best way to make it read successfully. What I found before I did this was I'd get luminance and saturation mixed up, the eye can be fooled into thinking a vivid colour is brighter and that leads to all sorts of problems! Ah... there I go writing an essay again, sorry if I bang on about this too much!

Element5 - as ever, thanks for your supportive comments, they spur me on!

Ecura - Cheers! Ah, rumours of my holiday have been slightly misplaced, I'm not off just yet! Your comments about the waterfall made me tackle it tonight, you were absolutely right, it needed it! So thank ye.

W!L - Waterfall thanks to you too! Come on man, get stuck in to your pic, I'll pop over to your thread and see what you're up to. Thanks, as always, for dropping by.

Kalen - Figures will be problematic because of the scale. You're right, they'd help, but I showed how naff my figure drawing is in earlier sketches so probably for the best!

Bolchover - It's certainly tempting to add some kind of trails to them, but I find them a bit cheesy. I may experiment with some very subtle heat haze on the nearest craft though, good idea.

Arctis - Both great suggestions, I'll seriously consider them. I'm going for very subtle (bar the glowing green drives) colour variations in this one because of the time of day in the pic. Not really conducive to standout colours, but there may be a way. Nice idea about the clouds, may well explore that idea in a future revision. Thanks!

12 December 2004, 11:38 PM
Blackarts - You slipped in after I started the reply! Damn your pic is good, and something about the hero's skirt (sorry!) gives him that kind of Braveheart kilt type effect. Very heroic and grand. As to a different material for the main ship, that makes a lot of sense and it's on my mind at the moment. The way it's similar to the other buildings is proving problematic, I know. Actually, I've put a few extra ships in, but they are only blobs currently. I'll very likely make the mid distance a lot busier, and think a bunch of subtle smaller lights will help too. Thanks for stopping by!

ered dium
12 December 2004, 02:06 AM
It's great, all the details looks cool. I like the lights and shadows in the spaceships.

Gran Space Opera -

12 December 2004, 04:18 AM
Wow. What great work you've done so far. Super lighting, color, perspective and comp. Nice the way the green lighting breaks up the image in a way. This image=total awesomeness.

12 December 2004, 04:21 AM
How about posting a bigger version so people can see those juicy details? - this one's so itty bitty.

12 December 2004, 08:11 AM
good:thumbsup: keep

12 December 2004, 08:49 AM
Looks fantastic! Where can I book the air ticket to see the amazing waterfall in person?

12 December 2004, 09:09 AM
Very Tasty! I love all the details. The whole waterfall/sea idea is just awesome. Excellent!

12 December 2004, 12:48 PM
:eek: :eek: excellent work

12 December 2004, 03:12 PM
Another for the short list! Beautiful image!! :eek: I've really enjoyed watching the evoloutin from the sketches.
As for the horizon, IMHO, a very , very slight curve with a bit less fog ( maybe some larger cloud formations on the horizon ). I think too sharp a curve kills the scale.


12 December 2004, 11:24 PM (

I've been trying all sorts of ways to make the picture seem more imminent, as if something really momentous is just about to happen. It's been one of the major issues with this pic and I've been wrestling with it for the past hour or so.

I've tried giving the nacelles glowing lights, and lines of gleaming around its base as if it were powering up but it began to look like a disco. I've tried simply changing the colour of the ship but actually I think this doesn't work as well as it could have if I'd sorted this in an earlier stage.

The most successful option in my opinion was to have some kind of outgassing or water vapour. What seemed to look best initially were forceful steam vents dotted regularly around the perimeter of the structure the ship is sitting on, but this ruined the composition and diminished the waterfall a lot.

So I imagined this more gentle outgassing, really the preliminary stages before proper thrust is applied, which would spread out violently all over the lower plateau. This way I can have it carried off to the right by the wind, preserve the waterfall AND cover up those buildings I don't like. Seems like a solution with promise.

So, this is a quick 10 minute scrub-over to see how it might work, and I'd appreciate some crits on this idea. I think I could do something pretty nice with the shadow cast over the clouds by the main turret, and the 'sunbeam' which shoots behind the closest nacelle would really light up the cloud it passed through. Steve, master of clouds, got any tips on this?

12 December 2004, 03:10 AM
I'm not sure I would know even now that that's a big ship if I hadn't read all of the posts - in part because it's so similar in color & value to the architectural elements - but man, is that shadow over the new clouds cool! Good luck with it (and sorry I can't be more helpful!)


12 December 2004, 03:29 AM
Why not use the same visual cues you are using on the smaller ship on the large one? Different material, green glowy propolusion system...maybe even work in some of the interesting curves you have into the design. Part of the problem is that it looks like it's cut from the same cloth as the city around it design-wise. The smoke helps a bit I think, and I'm sure you'll be able to render it well enough, but It might just end up looking like a smoking building. I think I would prefer this with less smoke and a clearer, more functional design.

12 December 2004, 08:04 AM
"master of clouds" haha, hardly :p, I've only been seriously studying clouds for the past month, I've got a lot to learn. But, I'll humbly try and help:hmm: i think you have it down pretty well. You've got quite the sense of atmosphere and volumetric air already... so just think of clouds as reeaally volumetric air. It's saturated more when backlit, straight on light is less saturated. In an area of shadow on the cloud, if their are more clouds lit up behind it, there will be a nice vibrant glow of (probably in your case orange/red) especially in the creases between the 'blossoms' of cloud. One thing I've picked up is in direct light, it's the tops of the 'blossoms' (sorry, can't think of a better word at the moment!) that are lit up, naturally, and the bases behind the light get really dark. In Shadow, the tops of the blossoms are darker when backlit, and when not backlit, the creases are darker and the tops are light (because of global/radiant/atmospheric light). I probably made no sense just now, but feel free to ask.
Remember also that the clouds themselves will cause a shift in light, they'll block the light completely or mute it down a little. Anything that's more dense than the atmosphere will cause change in how the atmosphere is lit. The clouds will cause a shadow ray, and in the clouds farther from the viewer, maybe even shadow rays on itself. It's been very useful for me in the past to think of atmospheric rays not just as 'light rays,' but a combination of dark and light rays. When one thinks of just 'light' rays, then the image can get sort of dull. absence is just as powerful as presence

alright, now that I just got done ranting about tips on the cloud, I want to address blackarts comment

I think that he may be right. I do think the steam/clouds really help seperate the ship from the city, but mayby some more experimentation with placement and amount of. The river and waterfal look absolutely amazing and real. (I'm not sure the reason for the waterfall falling into the launchpad however, where does it go?), but the smoke right now seems as though it might just be mist that's caused by the watefall.

Here's what I really think would work. Maybe tone down the clouds a little bit and see if that helps, play around with it. Add some vents of steam ON the ship, so you see it's DEFINITELY coming from the ship, like on the tower part. Maybe 2 or 3 small vents placed to your liking following the wind. Also, like blackarts said, it looks like its a skyscraper of the city, that cathedral looking place in the lower right almost looks like its extension. I would definitely think that if you made some parts of the ship more smooth, more dome-like to relate the structure with the already flying, already recognizable smaller ships. The green glows would work too, but very modestly. Also, what always helps is some warning/notice/whatever you call those lights like on the tips of plane wings and such that blink. Maybe add one to the tip and other locations. Play around with those ideas and see what you can come up with. It's looking great, don'[t forget to focus some on the top right as well, it will really help add some interest to the whole scene and grandness
awesome work, I'm thoroughly enjoying it!
take care

(and sorry for the long posts, I'm glad you appreciate them, but I just have so many thoughts flying around in my head and then I end up rant, so take from it what you can and ignore the rest!)

12 December 2004, 04:12 PM
The idea of adding clouds is good, but I think you must try with less solid clouds: more transparent and diffuse except in their source.

12 December 2004, 06:49 PM
looking at it again, I'm convinced that the clouds need to be less. The watefall could have some thick spray (look at referance pics for that), but coming out of the jets should be small, subtle outsprays of steam, as if it's not taking off yet (if it were taking off, these ships would not be allowed in the flying zone ;) ), just as if it were cooling the engines, venting heat buildup, something, but subtle coming distinctly out of each engine and other select parts of the ship.
For later development pics of this scene/story, would be interesting to create some launchpics

take care and look forward to an update

12 December 2004, 02:19 PM
Speaky, I think the idea of the gas leaks or water vapours or whatever oyu decide they're gonna be is a splendid idea, it will really bring some sort of conflict into the visual story.

I think Steve is right too, less is more. Maybe higher up the tower have the steam come out, I'd really hate to see that waterfall get pushed out of the tunnel of vision, it's quite stunning. maybe have some lesser smaller leaks coming from some other spots in the lower right corner from the lower platform, (I hope you get what i mean) As though the vapours have released in a few different spots, have the center of attention to the tower though, i think that works.
:buttrock: :beer:

12 December 2004, 07:28 PM
by far one of the best images i have seen. fits the topic 100%

not crits from me.

mybe you can give me some :P on my latest update

12 December 2004, 12:52 PM
Jesse that is fantastic detail. I love it. Looks like your almost done :thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 05:15 PM
Long time didtn post anything here, mostly coz I havent got anything to crit or add. But I was present at ur thread all the time of ur procedure :) A very nice one! ANd finally I found something that bothers me, at the last submission of urs. That steam/smoke really doesnt fit into the pic in my opinion. At least not in this amount. It looks desturbing at the moment, althought that is only a 10min put-in. I thing it also dont help to imagine the scale of the pic.. If u want to put a steam into the pic (which will bring some nice action, true) I suggest u use less opacy brushes, and make rather lots of small smoke chains, than one big messy cloud of it. I hope I am understandable and I wish I helped a bit :) Very good work otherwise! Its so much fun following ur thread!

12 December 2004, 07:36 PM
More big ships.Very nice.sorry my terrible eng.

12 December 2004, 08:48 PM
its a pleasing image but i don't get the feeling somthing is about to happen .the clouds you have to much of a painterly stlye i think try a softer brush tuo build up the volume those that are being overcast by that building are covered by so much shadow makes them look flatened, you need to work on there tranlucancy .

my space opera (

12 December 2004, 02:31 PM
Hello everyone, I just wanted to wish you all a happy christmas. I didn't get much of a chance to update my pic before the holiday so I'll have to try and pick up the pieces when I get back around the 5th January. Hopefully inspiratation will strike as to the best way of resolving the ship / building issue, but thanks to all of you for your help and suggestions, and enjoy your holidays too!


12 December 2004, 12:32 AM
hey it looks really awesome.. i think you could try to increase the immenence of it by making the two ships seem as though they were waiting for something, rather than moving off.. and maybe more atmos in the top left like some haze drifting off the scene? keep up the good work!

01 January 2005, 03:29 PM
You are my favourite, just keep adding detail. Rock cracks, couds puffs, detail detail, come on, prize is yours in 2D....(and my in 3d:-)

01 January 2005, 03:54 PM
hi, if you are still pondering the clouds/vapour question, you could consider flipping the direction of it round (in your test towards top right) so that it then is coming towards the viewer. Could help emphasise the motion of the image. Actually could be very interesting if you portrayed it very gently, like a thin mist thickening, but in nature like volcanic ash flow or nitrogen dioxide which run across the level of the ground then rises at the edges. This would fit with your composition too. Just a thought...

01 January 2005, 11:11 PM (

A Happy New Year to everyone! After a long absence I've finally made it back to my PC and really need to sort my entry out seeing as the deadline is a mere 9 days away.

What I've tried here is to edge away from the orange look and tried to concentrate the colour and light more in the upper left of the pic. I'm toying with the idea of adding a building in the lower right which is catching the sunlight full on, with a balcony and people celebrating (or someone waving a banner etc etc). Talk about entering a world of pain at this late stage!

Anyway, the main problem still stands that the 'ship' was blending in with the surrounding buildings. What I've tried here is to remove the physical bridge between the ship and the nearest building (it was supposed to be a loading gantry of some sort). I've also reduced the stature of the other buildings and even lopped off a whole section I didn't like. This is all in an attempt to stop them competing with the main ship.

I'm a bit worried that the image is so fundamentally flawed that no matter how much I tart it up the actual content will remain a bit bland and unclear. And this kinda ruins the pleasure of actually working on it and that's really the whole point for me. I'm seriously considering scrapping this and going for one of the later ship takeoff concepts I did (the simpler 2D ones).

01 January 2005, 11:19 PM
heyheyhey crrraazzzy , don't go back to another pic , gotta figure this one out somehow !

thinkthinkTHINK .x,mcnbvmcxnbbrzncccccchh........

01 January 2005, 11:31 PM
Hi Speaky,

Squibbit is right. Set the focus on this one. The mood and perspective view is great.
Maybe it needs more activity but thats a matter of finetuning.


01 January 2005, 11:34 PM
Hi there! What about twister like flying spaceships around the main building in the center? That would make th pic with lot of action and dynamics. Just a suggestion, but anyways it looks really good, so dont worry. U'll make it up the way it should be :) Good luck!

01 January 2005, 11:44 PM
how about adding a sharp rim of glow below the warming engines.... and a bit
more discernible fumes rising up from the engines and gliding in the around the buildings...

I'm toying with the idea of adding a building in the lower right which is catching the sunlight full on, with a balcony and people celebrating (or someone waving a banner etc etc). Talk about entering a world of pain at this late stage!
-heh , you could try it at sketch level at least , you could also try a couple of taller
buildings in the yellow area, making big shadows :)

you could put serpentine and other paperstuff flyin in the air all about...

01 January 2005, 12:33 AM
ah... no ... u are going to finish this master piece ... ! do u hear me ?

01 January 2005, 01:51 AM
damn, I forgot about you...nice things going on! some of the nicest pics are coming out of your thread. do you do these kind of things on a professional level?
anyway, congrats with the good work and I'll hope you get some credit for it..
greets, Francis

01 January 2005, 02:30 AM
I agree - great piece so far just needs some activity. btw its great to see another designer who wants to be an illustrator around (looked at your site) - I am in the same boat man. You are off to a great start.

01 January 2005, 03:58 AM
Fantastic work. I would add some more ships to this piece. It is wonderful otherwise. Keep it up!

01 January 2005, 10:22 AM
thats really nice work.

01 January 2005, 10:06 PM (

A week to go! I spent an hour yesterday and a couple of hours tonight plugging away at my pic. Thanks to all of you for your support and friendly threats ;)

The big change I've introduced now is the storm clouds in the upper right. I think it really helps to tie this area together. I'm also hoping that the dark area pulls the buildings which clash with the ship into the dark, leaving the ship bathed in light. Even further, I like the visual metaphor between the dark and the light, the turmoil and the calm. I'm getting a bit of a sense that this ship is a hope for this species, to drag them out of a wasteful, decadent and polluted existence. Maybe that's just me!

To balance out the light to dark I've defined little zones in the right hand side which are catching oblique rays of the sun, and I've made the top of the waterfall and the left hand crater wall a bit darker. All subtle stuff designed to balance out the pic more. A slight cool gradient was applied in the upper right, balanced with a slight red gradient in the lower left, and now those lovely green (complement to red) engines seem more vivid.

As to the main ship itself, I'm planning a bit of a combination of things, a bit of steam / outgassing, light streaming out from the base. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Thanks for the very helpful suggestions everyone.

01 January 2005, 10:25 PM
Hi, i look at your progress since the begin and this work is super, the picture is very beautifull and particulary the lighting. The ambiance is really realistic. I like all progress of your work but now i have a critic, the storm clouds don't integrated with the rest of the compo, they are so cartoony, perhaps you don't finished, i hope, because all the picture is very great

01 January 2005, 10:33 PM
Just a quick thought, coz Im sooooo short on time :/ I think that the clouds dont fit into this pic, the emptyness and clear sky really did a great job, but with clouds there is something too much. I think u should go further with the development and skip the clouds. Just my opinion. Good luck!

01 January 2005, 10:36 PM
Just lovely, and the new clouds really lend a feeling of impending doom. I agree, i think that they could be more effective if they - or at least parts of them - were renderred a bit more softer. Perhaps one might even see parts of the clouds casting shadows on other parts, or rays of sunlight streaking through the dust in the places up there not quite obscured by the clouds... anyhow, just ideas. But it's coming along nicely. I was checking out your site and there's some lovely stuff there... But I think this is one of your strongest pieces yet, so bravo! Good luck in the final stretch!


01 January 2005, 08:37 AM
Squibbit - Cheers, thanks for helping me see a future for this pic. I was so close to starting over, but now I'm enjoying it again I'm starting to like it more and more. Good suggestions too, especially the sharp rim of glow around the engines. :)

Fahrija - Likewise, many thanks for the kind words!

NinjaASSN - Just want to thank you for your regular posting, you are a great help. The flurry of activity you suggest is a great idea to make the pic busier and more vibrant. I'll tackle that in a while. I'm quite keen on the clouds though because they go a long way with filling in the very bare horizon. Ever since I started this pic I knew I'd have to deal with the fact that I didn't really know if the horizon was curved, horizontal or even exactly where it lay! With the light bloom in the upper left and the clouds in the upper right the problem's nearly gone!

Markovic - Glad to know that you were around to apply a bit of arm-bending to get me to continue. It's appreciated!

Foane - Yeah, what with my three and a half week break while everyone was still working hard on their entries, I can see why I'd be overlooked! Professional level? No, though perhaps one day when I've learned how to draw figures properly. Hell, I'm enjoying it so much as a hobby, being able to draw what I want, when I want... you know....

x_se7en_x - Someone like me! I've always wanted to do illustration for a living and have done a couple of small-time illustration jobs in the past years which turned out well, but those corporate websites, business stationery and brochures really pay the bills, know what I mean. Fingers crossed, hopefully one day etc etc... Thanks for the reply!

||) |V| |^| - Do you mind if I call you ||) ? More ships = good, will appear in a couple of days hopefully. Cheers

magnethead - Thanks!

MDN67 - Thanks for appreciating the lighting. I'd say it's one of my stronger points, and it all comes from really thinking hard about both how the light might occur properly in this situation and how the light might work to help the composition and achieve the most dramatic effect. I know the clouds are a bit basic right now, but I've only just put them in. In progress, and will hopefully look a lot better later. :thumbsup:

walrus - Great ideas for the clouds there. I think some softening and very subtle light rays would work very well. Thanks for looking on my site (and please feel free to leave a comment, somebody!) and I agree about this being possibly my strongest piece yet. As I've said, I've only really gotten into digital art over the last two years and all my practice and study of the basics seems to be paying off at last. You'd laugh if you saw what I was producing a year ago!

01 January 2005, 08:54 AM
Good job dude!
I still prefer the latest version (less contrasted, more "subtil").
I think you've reached the finish line.
I think you'll be on the podium!
Good luck.

Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 08:55 AM
Sorry for not replying that long(Hollydays and Tattoowork). Excellent work. For the clouds, well,... I like the new mood of the pic, but the clouds are to solid, to intense for my taste.
Besides that::thumbsup:


01 January 2005, 02:56 PM
Wow Jesse, this is fantastic, it all looks great, wonderful even.

Cheers to you sir, good show!!

01 January 2005, 03:02 PM
The clouds are good but they need more work so they fit with the rest of the image wich has a very smooth feeling to it.
Absolutely great pic dude! :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 07:19 AM
Starbuck - Thanks a lot, I like subtle too but I may end up tweaking the final for a bit more contrast in certain areas.

Tommy - I'd love to see some of your tattoo work... got a website or any examples online? Yeah those clouds need sorting. I put in a bit of work late last night and they look a bit better. I'll hopefully post an update tonight.

Newcenturydsn - Thanks for your constant encouragement from start to (near) finish. It's helped immensely!

Cocoknight - Yes, smoothing out those clouds is priority number one, next only to making that damn ship/building look more ship-like and imminently taking off. After a period of frustration with my pic, recently I've begun enjoying the process again and that fills me with hope that it might end up working!

Check back tonight, I'll post an update. Cheers you lot :wavey:

01 January 2005, 10:17 PM (

Here's an update, I've not had that much time to work on it this evening, but then that's always the way isn't it?

What's changed here, well I've made a few areas in the left hand side a bit darker to balance the pic out a bit more, and I've given the waterfall a fresh lick of paint. Lots of detailing of smaller structures and I'm still trying to get those buildings to the right of the ship to look ok.

I've worked the clouds a bit too, though they're still a bit rough and ready, I feel they are really serving their purpose which is to prevent the eye from getting lost over there. I'm trying to keep the focus on the centre-to-upper-left area.

Now the ship, I've added some fins at the top, and I've begun to block in some extra bits freehand (not much fun with my juddery tiny wacom penpartner) and am generally working on making the ship pop out a bit more. Now I'm in two minds as to go with some thin bright light cracks appearing at the base or some kind of full-on thrust clouds.

Any crits and comments are very, very welcome!

01 January 2005, 11:21 PM
This is comming along well. The yellow is almost too overpowering, but you have managed to balance it well with the shadow.

Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 10:33 AM
As said: Besides the clouds... nothing to crit. Its a beautyfull image.:thumbsup:

And about my tattoowork. Have to get new webspace, because i am not hosted on cgnetworks no more.
When I have a new site ready I'll anounce it.

Cheerz buddy


01 January 2005, 04:11 PM (

I've snuck in a few hours this afternoon to work on the pic, specifically the problematic cloud region in the upper right. There wasn't a very good response to it so I've revisited it and tried to make it much less severe. Did I succeed?

This is the first time I've posted a detail of the main piece, though it's still only 60% zoom. At 100% you'd notice both how big the whole picture is, and how sketchy and loose a lot of the detail is. It's always nice to save out a small version because it looks so much tighter!

My next bone of contention is that awful building just to the right of the leftmost pair of little ships. I'm going to try tackling that next, though I'm not sure it can be saved!

01 January 2005, 05:10 PM
The streams of light are really nice, and exactly what I was talking about! It'll be nice to see them not in a cose up, jjst to see how the angle works with the whole composition, but they look good from here. That one dark cloud on the bottom-ish right still sticks out as looking a bit solid, but everything else appears to have been adequately beaten back into fluffiness. :-) You might want to consider adding some more atmospheric hazing to those small ships which are obviously far in the background... but again, hard to really tell unless we saw the whole thing.
But no other crits: It's just looking great!


01 January 2005, 05:52 PM (

Hey there! I could do with some opinions on this if you've got a minute!

I've been really putting off work on the main ship and thought I'd try something a little more drastic. I removed the second of the close ships because it really didn't add anything to the pic and was a little lost.

So that got me thinking about making the main ship look about to launch, then after my girlfriend said the image was technically good but lacking the drama that so many of the other entries had, I thought about doing something drastic. Like the ship launching from underground and shooting out of the launch tube like a bullet! A very very massive bullet!

So this is a rough idea of how it might look. I lowered the overall value of the image so that the brightest spot, and hence the focus, will be the thick beams of pure light. I'm in two minds as to take this path, but I like the idea of bringing some of the power and drama of the earlier sketches.

I'd really appreciate some feedback on this!

01 January 2005, 06:16 PM
wow impressive

01 January 2005, 06:25 PM
Denman - thanks! Do you reckon I should go with the hole in the ground or the earlier version though?

01 January 2005, 06:35 PM
personally I feel this one is best so far (at least for me) (

not to sure about the whole in the ground, with another composition it would perhaps be a bit more effective, but I can't say it really adds any more drama like it is at the moment, just my opinion though :shrug:

Edit: just went back a bit further, quite liked the one with the steam too

01 January 2005, 06:41 PM
Incredible stuff all the way along.....I would go with your instincts and try the Launch look....maybe instead of pure white add another colour say blue or whatever with shafts of light thrusting up to the sky...then you can add some cool bounced light on the main ship and emphasis it more....hope that helps...

(My Grand Space Opera Challenge page)

01 January 2005, 06:50 PM
I think I preffered it without the launch. What about the older composition but have the ship venting and building to launch?

I have always thought that your image had a wonderful sense of awe and discovery to it, and yes, a sense of drama. You may want to play up those attributes rather than trying to retrofit a more dramatic event (like the ship launching like a massive bullet) into the image.

When I see this piece I think of the opening to Blade Runner... a massive future spectacle unfolding before my eyes.... I'd say it's succesful on it's own, existing merits.

Great stuff!

01 January 2005, 06:51 PM
FlyingP - I appreciate your thoughts there. I'm kind of with you in that my personal preference is for the enigmatic, the contemplative etc etc. I did think the earlier pics were more 'me', but then I'm trying to consider that this is a GSO: drama, lights, action all mixed in there so I'm taking that route against my instincts! Cheers...

6800AD - Thanks for that! I'm kind of going against my insticts here but I think I'll keep it. I reckon with a bit more work to integrate this blinding light into the scene - reflecting around, lighting the buildings up it'll sit better with me. This is just a rough and ready start. I like the idea of using blue, though it'll be very subtle. Good idea though, it'll really stop the light sources merging together. :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 06:53 PM
i think with the hole and the straight beams of light shooting down, it strangely looks
like the craft would already be flying at high speeds , even though the speed isn't evident
by anywhere else than the beams... I still would go for the rims of light, smoke and steam..
or some support construct in the hole

01 January 2005, 06:58 PM
CGKrusty - Ah, got in there while I was replying! Yes, yes, yes, I totally know what you are saying here, I am torn between the two. I've been messing around with venting gasses and stuff but never once found something that did it for me unfortunately. At least with this new approach it's got some kapow factor.

Ah, Bladerunner, you pay me a great compliment there! My favourite SF film by far.

I do think that in this case it would be better to try and 'fit the bill' more rather than use my own preferences to guide me. I really appreciate what you've said though, thanks.

Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 06:58 PM
I like the first one(With Clouds!) more... The new one looks to forced...:shrug:

Hope that helps

Cheerz dude


01 January 2005, 07:05 PM
FlyingP - I appreciate your thoughts there. I'm kind of with you in that my personal preference is for the enigmatic, the contemplative etc etc. I did think the earlier pics were more 'me', but then I'm trying to consider that this is a GSO: drama, lights, action all mixed in there so I'm taking that route against my instincts! Cheers...

to be honest and reading one or two of your last posts I really get the feeling your letting yourself be too influenced by other works. You are I believe trying to make this image fit into a new mould far too late. That aside I believe it can well be a GSO without huge explosions and intense drama, you earlier attempts had a great mood to them, an 'anticipation' if you will that I rather liked.....actually cgkrusty described it better :D

01 January 2005, 07:07 PM
Squibbit - Yes, the aim would be for the ship to have begun takeoff underground, and to be moving at a fair pace at this point. I'm imagining vapour streams forming on the leading edges of fins etc etc. But ok, it does seem like the general consensus is a 'no' on this one. Thanks Squibbit, your comments are always a great help.

Tommy - That does help, I'm not sure if it looks forced because I haven't worked it 'into' the pic yet, or if it really would benefit from reverting back to the previous version. Maybe I'm overreacting to the fact that early on the 'ship' blended seamlessly into the other structures and, well, the pic was of a crater, some buildings and a small craft was in the foreground. Not exactly GSO material.

Thanks everyone, this is exactly what I needed. I'm gonna think it over while I eat dinner. Talk about leaving it until the last minute! :eek:

01 January 2005, 07:13 PM
i think you should fill the middle of the hole.. so you have a "ring" in the ground...
do you feel me ? or should i make a sketch for you ?

anyways its an excelent peice of art

01 January 2005, 07:17 PM
FlyingP - You make very valid points there. The new idea is at a very basic stage currently, I know I can work it in and make it look less like it was added at the last minute - I think I've got enough time to do that. Do you see what I mean though, even though it's a nice technical pic, it's like ... a crater, some buildings, and a small ship. Just not operatic enough. I'm not one to follow others' leads unless there is a good reason to do so, but in this case I'm simply thinking it needs more drama.

Ok, I'll be back in a half hour, I'll see how I feel. Much appreciated you lot... cheers!

01 January 2005, 09:02 PM
A plate of spaghetti later and all is well again. Going to ditch the new idea after thinking it through a bit more. No more desperate moves from me I promise. Good advice you lot, many thanks!

Denman - No need to draw it, I can see where you are coming from. Good idea, but redundant now I've decided to stick with the way it was progressing before. Cheers all the same!

01 January 2005, 10:29 PM (

Continuing as before, minus the recent crisis of faith! No more gaping holes in the ground here.

Ok, I've removed the second of the closest ships because it added nothing and only made the scene more difficult to read. I've detailed out the lower half of the main ship a lot more, and revisited the idea of outgassing water vapour which goes a long way to covering up that so-so far crater wall where nothing of interest lay anyway.

The water vapour particles can really catch beams of light and bounce the light toward the viewer so I've made the most of the original ray of light that passes in between the main ship body and the nearest nacelle. Also, there is a subtle shadow in the water vapour to the rear caused by the left hand crater wall.

Well I'm a lot happier about the pic than I was a few hours ago, and feel that this outgassing pic is a lot more refined than the original rough version posted a while back!

01 January 2005, 10:39 PM
Hi speaky,

very well said :) - eating in between is a good formula. I should do this also.

I didn´t follow everything till my last post cause you can be proud of having many traffic and response here.

I would say that the strongest part of your image is devinetley the atmosphere you´ve build up with your light and colors. The output image you´ve posted again really invites me to explore and immerse the scene. I would try to keep that - no matter which things you will add furthermore.

For me without a doubt this is a strong image. Great work - but you know that :)


01 January 2005, 02:07 PM
I think you have done the right thing and continue on without that hole. The image works well as it is. It submerse the viewer into a WOW factor by not using action at all, and that is something that is very difficult to achieve. I'm not sure if it is too late now in the process to have a thought but just in case, that sun on the left is really blinding me. Its drawing my focus away from the center piece of attraction. Maybe that actually meant to work that way to give the sense its a sun and brings the whole environment alive. Great work and best of luck.

01 January 2005, 03:57 PM
it looks perfect... ! nothing more to say.. besides i wish i could make something like that ;)

01 January 2005, 05:45 PM (

I think I'm about done with it, and I'm very happy with how it has turned out! I'm gonna hold off from posting it as the final image milestone for a couple of hours just to have a rest from it and then give it a final once-over before submitting.

The last stages have seen some quite substantial changes in terms of value. I overlaid a red layer at 10% set to 'lighten' which affects only those colours darker than it. This is to add a bit of atmospheric perspective to the image as a whole, and I masked off the ship closest to the camera. It's true black 'darkest darks' help it pop out from the bg. Generally, I was getting a little heavy-handed with the darks in the main body of the pic, so I've taken steps to soften it, raise the value and move away from delineating shapes too strongly.

The main ship, likewise, has seen a lot of 'lighten' mode brush action in order to raise its darkest darks substantially. Firstly, it is a long way off, and secondly there is a lot of water vapour around it which tends to reflect light sources all over the place, meaning that the base of the ship is only really defined by strokes of lighter value. I dodged the vapour / light ray interactions to give them more of an effect, a nice glow. I'm happy with the way it's turned out.

There are loads of areas I could noodle the details of until I was blue in the face, but I don't reckon it would add anything so I'll restrain myself!

01 January 2005, 06:54 PM
you should be proud, it really has turned out to be an excellent piece, as if there was any doubt. Everything is very nicely rendered. The ships on the top right give a good sense of depth and perspective. The main ship is a lot more recognizable as a ship now and the surrounding city is beautiful. The select spots in the city on the right where the sun is hitting them especially strong is genius and extremely dramatic, nice addition.
I think I like everything about this piece except for the clouds. They don't seem to fit in with the rest of the image. The forms fine, but the rest of your image is very lit up and vibrant by this sun, I would think the sun would be dancing through the clouds to create a very elaborate color scheme and visual effect. Throw some more color in there and see what happens. Overall very nice piece and I wish you the greatest of luck. It's been a pleasure having you as a critic for my work and seeing your process, I've learned a lot. I'm not able to finish my piece :hmm: , being my first large scale painting it was hard for me to plan my time and process appropriately, and since I started with a subject foreign to me, that put me off as well, but if I keep working on it with the help of the people here maybe I'll have a piece worthy of expose 3? we'll see. Anyway, thanks a million for your help, i'm very grateful. Take care

Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 06:55 PM
awesome now!:thumbsup:

I think you did it!!!

01 January 2005, 07:35 PM
Fahrija - Yeah, I can't draw on an empty stomach. In fact, can't do anything on an empty stomach whatsoever! Thanks for your kind words. I'm very happy with a lot of the pic, though I do wish I'd anticipated the ship / building issue because that caused a lot of grief. It just goes to show how necessary planning and thinking ahead is!

Ecura - Cheers, yeah I'm glad I canned the hole idea. That was on a whole lot of good advice from everyone here, it's so good to have that kind of support from people with such an interest in this type of art! I'm happy the pic gives you the wow factor, I do prefer a slightly less obvious pic (generally speaking) where it's not prescribed for you too much. I was just worried that it was a bit bland thematically. Thanks a lot.

Denman - Ah thanks, I'm very pleased with the result. And, completely honestly, If I'd seen this pic two years ago I'd never have thought I could do anything like this. It's easily the most accomplished piece I've done, all thanks to an inspirational challenge, enough set time to really get into the process, and so many talented artists providing the impetus to push myself to the limit. I'm a happy man.

Steve - Hey, I'm sad you didn't get round to finishing your entry, that last cloud image you produced was spectactular, so many little subtleties and nuances. I hope you do find time to finish it now the pressure's (almost!) off, and make sure you post it online so I can see it! I respect you for setting your goals so high, that's the best way to improve I reckon. Just don't feel disheartened if you can't achieve them, better to aim high and miss rather than aim low and go noplace. I remember setting myself the challenge of including some figures in my pic, but I chickened out in the end embarrasingly, just can't do 'em! Take care, thanks for your comprehensive feedback, and I'll look out for you in the next challenge! :thumbsup:

Tommy - Nice one, glad you like it (even the clouds?). Thank you for your support through this, it was most appreciated. Cheers dude, now get on and finish yours!

01 January 2005, 07:47 PM
yea i think the big ship looks more like ship than ever before... :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 07:55 PM (

Well, there we go! Thanks again to everyone who took time to support me, it was my absolute pleasure to take part in this challenge. The amount, and diversity, of sheer talent participating has been a great inspiration to me.

Good luck to you all!

01 January 2005, 08:24 PM
Excellent work ! Nothing to crit... just a pleasure to see.

Good luck:love:

01 January 2005, 09:10 PM
that's a nice picture. fine perspective and design.but I dont like those white smokes in the middle of the picture.Also the saturation of color give to the picture little overburn effect (because of saturaion standing next to very dark ships and some of the shadows).
I would also think about changing shadow colors to bit colder coz yours are in just darker example basic color of element. Also I would aviod that intensitivy of light or contrast.

Keep working dude theres some time left ;)


01 January 2005, 09:20 PM
Beautiful....just beautiful!...that can almost taste it.

Very good work, Jesse...congratulations!

01 January 2005, 09:28 PM
Best of luck Speaky!
You've produced a load shed of jawdroping images in this Chalenge...
And I feel this last one really deserves the award!

Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 10:24 PM
Tommy - Nice one, glad you like it (even the clouds?). Thank you for your support through this, it was most appreciated. Cheers dude, now get on and finish yours!

Yeah, even the clouds... and I am on it!:D

01 January 2005, 10:44 PM
Congratulations on finishing your entry, your entry has a great sense of scale, nice colours and great visuals. I love the details too, lots of work went in this piece by far. Good luck! :)

01 January 2005, 11:06 PM
Spacesnail - Thanks! :D

Tiger1313 - No time left for me, I've submitted my final image and uploaded my tiff. Honestly I could have driven myself to an early grave tweaking this, adjusting that etc. So I just called it a day and submitted. I really wanted an over-the-top orangey / sunset type image, it's been a plan since I went for this particular concept. Your points are all good, and if I started over I'd give them the utmost consideration. Dude, you've got an outstanding entry for this challenge, I could learn a lot from you. :thumbsup:

Andreas - Hey there, cheers! I'm glad you like the way it turned out. I think yours is excellent, I've followed it all the way through. Good luck!

Evanfotis - I had a lot of fun in this one. Honestly, they couldn't have set a more inspiring challenge from my point of view! As to an award ... I'm not even thinking about it, there are so many excellent entries, so many interpretations, so many different approaches... it's anyone's guess isn't it. I just hope they follow this challenge up with another!

Tommy - Cool, I'm happy the cloud issue is sorted. I'm gonna pop over to your thread and see how you're doing next.

Airborn - Just finishing it was difficult enough! I thoroughly enjoyed myself.:) I'm glad you like it, thanks for your comments.

01 January 2005, 01:54 AM
awsome! i love your atmosphere! :)

01 January 2005, 02:19 AM
congrats on a great image jesse - it's a real standout entry.

01 January 2005, 03:41 AM
This is great Jesse!!

Well done on finishing, it's been a pleasure watching you create an absolutely amazing peice of artwork. I like the lights, a very nice finishing touch.

Good show, and good luck on the win!!

01 January 2005, 03:51 AM
great work man, this is the first time ive seen your entry but its a very good one. the light and detail is great. good luck

01 January 2005, 06:53 AM
Hi Jesse,

congratiulations to your final image. A very beautiful image but also the whole thread was a pleasure to watch. Great work.

my best wishes and good luck!


01 January 2005, 07:39 AM
Great image Jesse :thumbsup: Congrats & Good luck

01 January 2005, 10:16 AM
Congratulations :applause: is really an awersome work !!!


01 January 2005, 06:16 PM
Great work, Jesse! I am glad that you decided to keep the clouds in the uipper right. All in all a beautiful sense of light throughout the whole picture, and i think your final captures all of the best elements of your recent posts. Congrats! (now go rest!)


01 January 2005, 09:21 AM
I've just voted my way through the whole 2D category, I cast so many votes! The final set of images is so strong overall, my jaw hasn't recovered from hitting the desk so often. There are quite a few excellent entries that I wasn't even aware of. It has been very inspiring to work among such talented people! :beer:

Bring on the next challenge soon, I'm getting withdrawal symptoms!

01 January 2005, 09:24 AM
:beer: :beer: good luck

01 January 2005, 11:25 AM
I still think that the clouds on top of the pic could be a bit softer, but I like the brightness of them u used. Nevertheless, one of the best pics in this challenge for sure, watching ur thread was awesome and a great pleasure. Cant wait for next one to participate beside such a great artist as u r! :)

01 January 2005, 07:34 PM
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Hi Speaky...

Fantastic Entry......really answers the competition brief...great sense of scale, atmosphere and lighting....

gets my vote and my favourite entry...good luck!!

02 February 2005, 12:04 PM
Hey ...improving! Where will u be next ? :) Good work dude and congrats!

02 February 2005, 12:26 PM
hi speaky,

it was worth it to stick to this image. Congratiulation for your top 15 image!

best regards

02 February 2005, 02:30 PM
Congrats man... awesome job!

02 February 2005, 04:38 PM
Hi, All my compliment for your price. :applause:

02 February 2005, 05:46 PM
Great work, really great. Congratulations!

Tommy Lee
02 February 2005, 06:15 PM
Hey, we did it buddy!:thumbsup:
Congrats to your awesome piece...



02 February 2005, 10:22 PM
No words man.. just congratulations for ur fantastic piece of art. I hope we'll see each other in next challenge as well, coz it was very enjoyable watching ur thread!
Have fun! :)

02 February 2005, 08:52 PM
Great job Jesse, loved it. Looking forward to seeing you in the next one.

02 February 2005, 09:57 PM
Congrats on placing, Jesse! Way to go! See you in the next challenge...


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