View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Francis Tsai

10 October 2004, 03:15 PM
Francis Tsai has entered the Grand Space Opera 2D.

Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: sundered realm (

OK well you guys shamed me into putting a few more minutes into this. I agree, after taking a break from this for a couple of days - I got a bit lazy and cheesed out on the oldest son character. I went back in and added a detail layer on his outfit, and gave his gun a bit more love. Hopefully it doesn't look *too* last minute...

Nathaniel - thanks man, your image is looking great too.

Grant - sorry to hear that, but I certainly understand how that goes. Got to pay the bills after all. Thanks for the comments on my piece.

ecura - thank you, it was quite a struggle to get this piece done on time.

andreasrocha - once again, great comments, thank you. I incorporated some of your ideas, but I didn't want to drop the top guy. He is a very crucial part of the story I am attempting to depict, so I wouldn't feel right eliminating him purely for the sake of composition.

Blackarts - great comments from you too, thanks very much. As with andreas' comments, I took a few of yours and left the others.

Snotblow - thanks, haha what a name...

Tommy Lee - thank you very much.

Airborn - thank you, man I agree, it's hard to do this sort of thing well. I hope I didn't embarrass myself here...

Art2 - thank you, very useful comments, some of which I heeded in the last set of changes.

10 October 2004, 04:43 AM (

These are some initial ideation sketches, exploring some backstory ideas. I wanted to try an interpretation of the King Lear story, where a prosperous emperor decides to divide his empire among his three children. Akira Kurosawa did something similar with Ran, one of my favorite movies. This is just a starting point, so if it pans out I will try to develop the backstory a bit more.

10 October 2004, 04:45 AM (

A quick sketch of the emperor. I already know this one will get pitched, but I thought I might as well post it.

10 October 2004, 05:44 AM
I like your drawing style, my only suggestion is don't get too bogged down on the details of the characters just yet (unless that's just the way you work), work on a composition or get an overall feeling down first, otherwise love the storyline Ran is a great movie I love Kurosawa! Can't go wrong getting an epic story out of Shakespeare either
This has great potential, I really like the character designs so far...

idiot box
10 October 2004, 06:12 AM
Nice to see you hear, and as well you got a nice start. Your tutorials have been detrimental to my learning in the past month. I will definetly keep an eye out for ya.

If you have time please give mine a look for c/c.


10 October 2004, 06:21 AM
Hey Francis, good to see you on board. I love the idea you're toying with too...

I better get back to work...
Great stuff.

10 October 2004, 09:11 AM
hey Francis, you were the best in machineflesh in my opinion, so I hope you'll do as well here

10 October 2004, 09:40 AM
Hey , nice to see you compete again ! have fun !

10 October 2004, 05:23 PM
nice to see a character driven approach to the subject.
Look forward to seeing more of your work.
Good luck

10 October 2004, 11:21 PM
Superb sketches and great goal! I wish u'll succeed with another excellent piece of art (and i dont doubt about that :))

10 October 2004, 04:39 PM
i really relate to you're working style. I'm also working out characters, and other elements like the environment and props separately and sooner of later i'll figure out how to piece them together from there. I wonder how all this will be composed on the page?

good luck!

Tommy Lee
11 November 2004, 11:32 PM
Heya... welcome to the challenge. Glad you could make it...hehe!
Can't wait to see more

Cheerz and good luck:thumbsup:


11 November 2004, 12:51 AM
hi there francis

i adored your work in the machineflesh. cant wait to see what's yet to come.

11 November 2004, 02:35 AM
Hey Francis, great work on the MF - yours was one of my favoutite entries. I'm sure you'll come up with a great image here - it looks like you are off to a strong start.



11 November 2004, 01:17 AM (

These sketches explore the aesthetic of what I am calling the "Air Empire" at this point.

The basic storyline still follows the King Lear plotline fairly closely - a powerful but aging emperor decides to divide his empire between his three children. The oldest son takes over "Air Empire," which is the capital planet/system, the most advanced and wealthiest part of the empire. The middle son inherits "Stone Empire," a harsh, inhospitable industrial system. The youngest child, a daughter, receives the "Gaia Empire."

The design of the Air Empire ships are meant to evoke a sense of sophistication, elegance, craftsmanship. These ships might employ solar sail propulsion technology - both the technology and the visual of it seem more elegant than the "giant rocket thruster" approach.

11 November 2004, 01:19 AM (

The Stone Empire ship designs are inspired by heavy masonry architecture. The forms are meant to be much more massive, rough and vertical than the ships of the other two empires.

11 November 2004, 01:22 AM (

The ships of the daughter's Gaia Empire are influenced by forms from nature - creatures, insects, fish, etc. I realize it might be a bit of a cliche to associate the female character with a nature-based world, but for now at least it helps me resolve design issues in differentiating each of the three cultures from each other.

11 November 2004, 01:25 AM (

The ships of the daughter\'s Gaia Empire are influenced by forms from nature - creatures, insects, fish, etc. I realize it might be a bit of a cliche to associate the female character with a nature-based world, but for now at least it helps me resolve design issues in differentiating each of the three cultures from each other.

11 November 2004, 01:27 AM (

Here is one of my character studies for each of the three main characters in the story. At this point, I was focusing more on the color and aesthetic of each person's clothing and costume. The faces are pretty generic, but I think they will develop personalities as this process continues.

11 November 2004, 01:39 AM
Oops - disregard post #17. It's a double post with the wrong image.

Thanks for the earlier comments and crits! Sorry I have not been back before now to respond.

Steelpixel - it's probably just my working habits or nature, but this seemed like a good opportunity to really hash out an entire universe and story, incuding detailed character backstories. I agree that it's probably overkill when the ultimate purpose is to create a single painting, but for me it really helps in terms of creating a meaningful final image. I appreciate the thoughts and feedback.

idiot box - thank you, I will try to drop by your thread.

unitstudio - hey Grant, good to see you here.

Ranath - cool, thanks!

Squibbit - good to see you too!

mistermac - thanks, I feel like a character based approach is important in an exercise like this.

NinjaASSN - thank you.

Hillartsympho - thanks. I don't know yet what the final composition will be. I am still creating the parts at this point, but it should be interesting...

Tommy Lee - thanks man! I see you are from Taiwan; my father's family lives in Kaohsiung and Hsinchu!

Slav - thanks, I really enjoyed working on that one. I'm glad you liked it.

Blackarts - thank you very much! Your piece was awesome, glad you did well with that!

11 November 2004, 01:41 AM
Great sketches and designs. It's great being able to follow along with your thought/design process. I look forward to seeing your final composition. I also had fun going through your webpage. Good stuff.

11 November 2004, 04:55 AM
Those sketches are great, can't wait to see them once you start fleshing them out. The different empire ship styles contrast well off of each other.

11 November 2004, 11:19 PM
I like medieval-futurist style, and your drawing style !
Very good job in Concept Sketch: Air Empire spacecraft .
I hope to see your new work soon!:thumbsup:
good luck!

11 November 2004, 11:41 PM
hey francis! where are you? we're waiting your composition sketches. Those last sketches rocks! keep them coming!

11 November 2004, 11:59 PM
Yop great sketchs Francis.Come on we want more!!!:D

My Grand SpaceBra 2d:

Tommy Lee
11 November 2004, 12:15 AM
Awesome Sketches there Francis!:thumbsup:

Waiting desperatly for the first composition sketch.
And your thoughts about a cliche... In my opinion the whole space opera concept is a cliche in itself, so- Keep em coming!:D


11 November 2004, 12:41 AM
yeah! Francis I was hoping I'd see you in here. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Great stuff so far, love the sketches.

11 November 2004, 04:30 AM
i just nod my head seeing some works like this...wish i could do 2d like that. feed us more Francis:beer:

11 November 2004, 04:58 AM
wowo. really liking your character studys. love your style. appeals to me. Can't wait to see some sort of composistion. That princess looks amazing!

11 November 2004, 07:45 AM
There was nothing else to expect exept from great sketches and us drooling users waiting for the first composition ;) Make them coming! The first submissions look very promising!

11 November 2004, 01:22 PM
Nice concepts!
Good Luck!

11 November 2004, 06:54 PM
I definitely like the way you sketch! It's clean, precise and professionnal. I'm so more messy on my part... I hope it'll improve with time!O_o'

Nice work again and I hope you'll put a Giger like monster in the style of your machinflesh entry!

11 November 2004, 08:11 PM
Really nice prelim design and sketches. Love your drawing style -nice and clean.

11 November 2004, 11:54 PM
Just stopping by to give out a yell to you down there in S.D. ..................Nice ship designs,I like the character's too,they have an in-depth look and appeal,and have a whole lot of potential,and when fully done will be something extra nice to see............Looking forward to more......:arteest:

11 November 2004, 12:46 AM
hey. just love ur concepts. beautiful work. keep it up!

12 December 2004, 04:11 PM
Francis, I've long admired the economy and succinctness of your roughs, and these are no exception. I vaguely recall King Lear from high school and I think it's a great concept to adapt work of shakespeare to this. The underlying themes are the same...

I look forward to seeing how the composition evolves.


12 December 2004, 11:21 PM
Really like the way your thinking and making the world before digging into a final image...
And the association with color is beautiful...

Hope all is well.
Inspiring as always.

12 December 2004, 12:28 AM (

Here are two pages of sketches. These are initial layouts for the final image, using some of the designs and ideas from the concept sketches. I had originally planned to do considerably more in terms of exploration sketches.

12 December 2004, 12:33 AM (

The first page shows some horizontal compositions, and the second shows vertical (obviously). I am tending to like the vertical ones a bit more. I think they will result in more abstract, less literal scenes than the more cinematic shots on the first page, and hopefully convey more of a sense of dispair and tragedy on the part of the father/emperor character.

Also, experimenting a bit with the name of this piece in the titles. Please let me know what you think.

12 December 2004, 12:36 AM
Francis, I really dig c, b and e. I know which ever you choose will be astounding though. Of those three, b might be my fav. I like being a part of the people witnessing this. Keep it up.

12 December 2004, 12:45 AM
novacaine - thanks man; I just wish I had the time to put in some serious design time on this one. I'm afraid I'm having to abbreviate a lot of steps here.

jm. - thank you. I hope they still maintain their identities in the final piece.

Lluc - yes, I knew that I couldn't out-Mead Syd Mead, or the other sci fi design monsters here. I thought it might be more interesting to bring in some visual influences that are not normally associated with space opera and science fiction.

Atmospheria - sorry for the delay. I'm going as fast as I can really!

Okmer - thank you.

Tommy Lee - yes it is a cliche! We have to do our best to minimize the clicheness.

dougbot - thanks man! I will drop in to see your sketches in your thread...

uwil - cool, thank you.

w!l - thank you; ugh, the character sketches aren't anything that great. Those guys need a lot of love at the moment.

ninjaASSN - wow thanks, that's a nice compliment.

Riddick - thank you sir.

Kraull - haha, I don't know if there is room for a Giger monster in this story, but maybe.

screamingwing - thanks!

Virtuoso - thanks, probably more design work than was needed for the final piece, but I like knowing the "story" when I work on something like this.

annisahmad - thanks

unitstudio - thanks; I will confess I did not fully appreciate King Lear until I saw Ran, and then went back and read the Shakespeare "version" again. Powerful story, even if it is that era's equivalent of soap operas as some people have said.

Freever - thanks man. What's going on with you these days?

dougbot - thanks for the input, definitely helpful. Especially since I preferred the last one (G). Hmm....

12 December 2004, 04:40 AM
nice comps, i think you couls somehow combine the group of characters in "E" underneath the large figure in "G"

12 December 2004, 06:05 PM (

Some quick concept sketches done while on vacation in Washington DC.

12 December 2004, 06:06 PM (

Some quick concept sketches done while on vacation in Washington DC.

12 December 2004, 06:09 PM (

I spent a few minutes here looking at different patterns and silhouettes for the Emperor/Father character, since I know that he will most likely be a prominent element in the final illustration. Haven't really figured out a color logic which will work with the rest of the image just yet...

12 December 2004, 06:17 PM (

Here is a rough color block in using "Option B" from the sketches above. The subject matter ("space opera") kind of begs to have a widescreen/cinematic feel. Right now though, I still want to explore both vertical and horizontal compositions for the final piece. One of my favorite space opera images is the movie poster painting that John Berkey did for Star Wars, and which was used on the paperback novelization.

12 December 2004, 06:21 PM (

This is the rough for the vertical composition option. I used the sketch "G" from above, and will likely use Hillartsympho's suggestion to incorporate figures from the other sketch into the lower foreground.

12 December 2004, 06:38 PM (

And this is the current state of the second painting. This one is more of a movie poster/collage approach, where the first painting is a straightforward single scene. I'm thinking that the collage will work better from a story telling standpoint, since there are a lot of ideas I need to communicate in a single image.

The image here is missing a lot of components still, but the main idea is to show the emperor at the depths of his despair and madness. In the story of King Lear, Lear banishes his daughter Cordelia and divides his kingdom between his other daughters Goneril and Regan. Goneril and Regan are revealed to be evil, feeding on their father's legacy for their own gain. Lear realizes at last that Cordelia, the banished daughter, is the one child who has remained loyal to him despite his treatment of her. He reunites with Cordelia just in time to see her die.

I am borrowing some of this plot structure as the backstory for this painting, but probably more important are some of the themes running through the King Lear story - the decay of authority into chaos, the emperor's descent into denial, madness, then finally clarity and reconciliation at the end when it is too late.

The storm in Act III of King Lear is meant to represent Lear's internal anguish. I've reinterpreted that as some sort of cataclysmic seismic event which is tearing the emperor's homeworld apart. That visual is where I've taken the current working title "Sunder" - hopefully it works as a visual of the world breaking apart and also of the destruction of the family in my version of the story.

OK well I hope this hasn't gotten too "high school English paper" and that it still more or less hangs together.

Love to hear your comments and crits!

12 December 2004, 07:12 PM
Francis, i`m really a great fan of your paintings and your mastery of light in computer graphics.I wish you the very best for this challenge.The start seems promissing, so keep up with the updates and the great job.:thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 09:34 PM
Looks great so far, I'm looking forward to how you bring it all together... even your roughed out lighting is beautiful!

Greta work...

12 December 2004, 09:40 PM
Greatwork Francis!!!
Nice composition, great suggestion and story, like always it is good!

Just one thing, the face of the man reminds me the style of Juan Gimenez! And it is great!

12 December 2004, 11:30 PM
Francis - I really love the colors in this so far, as well as the emotion that you've expressed so well. I'm not sure what else you'll add to the shot, but I hope you get to include the solar sailer from post #44: I love that ship design! Best of luck!


Freefall Omega
12 December 2004, 12:09 AM
it's all so effortless to you.

Im guessing that your update as so late towards the end of the challenge is indicative of how much work you've probably got on at the moment.

well, you obviously work immensely under pressure. this is so cool. and there is no messy underlay to the image. you just seem to lay it down in one go. unreal.

two critiques. at an instant the figure seems to be hunched and really looking traumatised and completely ripped of hope, after prolonged exposure it seems like he's too bolt upright. i think that it would be cool if he seems to be crouched over and then leans bck using mainly his neck. (like in the cliche films where someone dies in the guys hands and then he looks up and sobs with grief clenching his blood covered hands)

also i think the mouth could do with some local colour. although the style seems to almost scream out for black, a few subtle tones within the mout could really bring out the feeling of muscular presence and strength in his grief.

This is a bit extreme, but you could make it look like hes on his knees and then blend the cavernous canyone of fire inbetween his legs.i dont mean make his crotch a volcano of spuing magma, i just mean make the transition subtle. that way you have a double take effect but also you emphasize the position he is in, as if he is in his in pure grief and then you have a symbolistic imahge of that canyon below him.

Not very film like and maybe overdoing it. (my suggestion that is, not your image)

kind regards

12 December 2004, 12:24 AM
This looks promising! I like your flow of colors and your drawings. I wish you all the best in this competition :thumbsup: !

12 December 2004, 08:34 AM
like that bud,thanks for team gt website,love it man,i got to know so many artist,just want to know how come you do not update it .it has been a while,I do not see ryan church name up there,i Know not a lot of time,well

if by any chance if you update it would you add me up to your links, (


monkey syrup
01 January 2005, 12:39 AM
Looks very good. I'd love to see this.

01 January 2005, 05:40 AM
good expression in the face,good life drawing

01 January 2005, 05:53 AM (

I had some time this weekend after the break to work a little more on the painting. Given how the time has run out on me, I decided not to explore the cinematic/horizontal composition. The vertical montage illustration is going to take a lot of work still to sort out all the elements in a compositionally pleasing way. I think I'm a long way from there...

I went with my initial ideas for the three children of the emperor, without doing the amount of iteration I would normally like to do on their character designs. Same goes for the various spacecraft from each of their realms. In one of my initial concept sketches, I had doodled some simple graphic shapes that were meant to evolve into a sort of graphic corporate identity for each empire. These graphics would then help associate the characters with their ships, using certain visual cues like colors, jewelry or clothing designs, graphics on ships, etc.

What I'm trying to depict in the image is the feeling of grief on the part of the emperor - his one true loyal son (depicted above as a sort of ghost) is now dead, and his empire is sundered and in ruins due to the selfish machinations of his treacherous youngest and oldest children. The middle son, the ruler of the Stone Realm (for lack of a better name), was the one who initially opposed the emperor's plan to divide his kingdom. The emperor, misinterpreting his son's disagreement as betrayal, banished him from the empire to the inhospitable mining world of Stone Realm. The emperor then divided his kingdom between his oldest son and youngest daughter, not realizing that each had ulterior motives. The two have conspired to take over the few remaining territories that the father has kept as his personal stake.

The middle son hears of this and returns in his father's hour of greatest need. The rescue, and subsequent reunion and reconciliation is joyous for father and son; the father's happiness is short lived however, as the son is mortally wounded during the course of the rescue and dies in his father's arms.

01 January 2005, 06:00 AM
dean - thank you sir, now it's just a matter of managing my time and getting this done by the deadline.

cgkrusty - I'm glad you like it so far. For me at the moment the tough part is making this work compositionally. There are a whole lot of things going on...

Riddick - thanks man, that's a huge compliment! Gimenez is the man.

walrus - hope you like the ships! hehe

Freefall Omega - thanks, that's a great crit with great suggestions. Good point about the mouth. I don't know if I can make the pose you described work, but the emperor character is definitely still in flux at the moment. Probably some changes yet to come for that guy.

lovliebutterfly - thank you very much, same to you.

boalid, monkeysyrup - thanks!

01 January 2005, 03:43 PM
Wow! Francis...this is going to be a very nice painting! I hope you can finish this...good luck with it!

01 January 2005, 09:25 PM
Once again u came in last moment of the challenge and show to all of us that everything is possible. Great story in a great picture. Strong colors, cool characters (well, I know that u could do better here ;) but nevertheless, they r still very good), and overall another great piece of art is coming. About the characters.. I know that u'll develop them further, but anyway I suggest u to put lots of details on them, think about their cloths, make them grand in that way... But Im sure u have already planed that :)
Good luck!

01 January 2005, 10:10 PM
Thats very interesting painting. I like the poster-like composition. I hope that You will menage to finish this before deadline. It would be a shame not to see this finished. Good luck!

01 January 2005, 12:46 AM
Very emotional image. Maybe the Emperor is a tad too whiney.
He has suposedly conquered a vast number of worlds during his
regency, and should have a bit more self control. Hes a battle-hardened
veteran after all.

01 January 2005, 07:22 AM
francis you're the man..

Like the composition and general theme! The uplighting from the cracking planet is going to look really cool once it's all rendered out. I might spread the emperor's arms a bit more, like he is trying to encompass all that's going on. Something's not right there - it looks like he's getting a really painful neck massage..maybe if the ghost were gazing upward..I dunno. It's looking good, hope you have time to finish this!

01 January 2005, 07:45 PM
Great work, i love the concept and the realization, the beginning of paint is very good, the choice of color and the render of the reflective light on the hands good work

01 January 2005, 02:09 AM
Oh my God Francis! That's so friggin' cool! Great ship design too. You always put great though into story, culture, and characters, and it really shows in your paintings. I want to see this movie, or play this game, read the book/comic. Great stuff as usual.

01 January 2005, 07:18 AM
Atmospheria - thanks man, I'm glad you like it. Yeah it's going to be a little tight time wise. I hope I can finish too...

Ninja ASSN - nah, I am just trying my best, but thanks for the feedback. Right, the characters were very underdeveloped in that last update. I worked on them a little bit on the new version, but I think they could still use some more development.

Kalen - thanks, I think I can finish in time. The poster composition has turned out to be a lot more difficult than I originally thought. I don't know how the movie poster artists pull it off.

marcnail - haha, yeah true. But I think it's possible for an empire to develop in a more benevolent way than you describe. In any case, I wanted to focus the story more on the interactions between the characters. The history of the empire itself, whether "good" or "bad" wasn't a story point that was as important to me.

Blackarts - thanks, you were right about the massage thing. Looked dumb. I changed it a bit in the newer version. I tried a version or two with more dynamic arm poses, but it was setting off a chain reaction of composition changes. It might not be perfect right now, but I am too worried about retracing my steps too much at this late date.

MDN67 - thanks for the feedback.

dougbot - thanks very much doug; I don't think it's as cool as you think it is, but I appreciate the compliments very much. I get jazzed by stories and ideas. It's one of the cool things about doing visual development work for games - the designers come up with some great story ideas, and once the back and forth between artists and designers starts going, the visual creative juices can really start flowing. I had to punt somewhat here and use an existing story, but the nice thing is that there is already so much drama and emotion laid out.

01 January 2005, 07:35 AM (

Still cranking on composition and character designs. As was pointed out, the "second son" wasn't quite working in the previous iteration. I still plan on building out the cityscape in the foreground, to get some of that grand scale and epic destruction into the composition.

01 January 2005, 08:37 AM
Hey there Francis, I cant believe I hav'nt seen your post before now... anyway, I think your colouring style and linework is fantastic. Nice composition too, well I'm inspired!

01 January 2005, 08:46 AM
Looking great!

I love your ship designs...

Nice use of colour as well, very controlled... great to see!

01 January 2005, 09:39 AM
Great color harmony. The passage from red to blue works very well. The faces are looking very good, too. Perhaps you could try removing the bigger planet to the left, or make it smaller. You could also try to put some of those spaceships off-frame to give more spaciality. I just think that the top head needs a lot of reworking.

Very good...keep it up!

01 January 2005, 12:48 PM
Hey Francis!

I like the fact you're doing the monatage thing (that's what I'm doing for mine too--love that movie poster feel). I think the way your composition is right now, everthing's a bit scattered though--they have similar spacing and sizes.

01 January 2005, 03:16 AM (

Oh lordy the time is running out isn't it??

Well hopefully there is no penalty for wishiwashiness, but I changed the character designs for the children of the emperor once again. The emperor himself remains pretty much unchanged. I thought it might be more interesting to update them a bit and abandon the medieval approach.

I had some good suggestions, like andreasrocha and Lunatique (thanks guys!) who both mentioned varying the sizes and placement of some of the elements to improve the composition. I think certain things work a bit better.

Thanks jezzarts and cgcrusty. Lunatique, I will have to check out your post and see how you are handling the poster/montage approach.

01 January 2005, 03:55 AM
Very nice work! I like the feeling of this. It has a movie poster feel to it. Keep it up!

01 January 2005, 06:12 AM
Wow, this looks really great! I'm liking your last update a lot. Although I'm not crazy about the guy on the lower right. I think the guy you had two updates ago was my favorite. Also, the way he's posed doesn't seem like the best pose to use. It's almost like he's leaning in so he can be in the picture. Everything else looks great, though. No real crits on the other elements.

01 January 2005, 06:55 AM
Very nice work. Like everyone says, it looks like a movie poster. Good facial expressions on everyone. I also love the color contrast between the top and bottom halves- its been done before, but its done well here.
The only thing I suggest is that you make the lips of the guy on top a little smaller. Not bad at all, and its just a suggestion- I have no idea how it'd look :P

01 January 2005, 12:30 PM
Much better...The woman to the left also looks perfect. Two suggestions: Put at least one of the spaceships on the right off the frame like you did on the left. The headsizes of the top guy and the right bottom one are too similar. Try varying their sizes to create some sort of hierarchy.

You could also suggest some sort of action to the bottom right guy, or make him hold a gun or something. He looks a bit bland. All the others have more characterization: The middle one for obvious reasons, the top guy is some sort of ghost/rememberance and the woman looks kind of evil like she had a purpose.

Great work!

01 January 2005, 01:20 AM
love the composition and idea,the human paintings l have not the natural skin texture

seem they made out of stone(in some areas)

good luck with it

01 January 2005, 03:39 AM
Nice work Francis.:thumbsup: Nice technique. I have to say that I like your previous post better than this latest one. I'm not sure about the top figure in both, it's stacked directly on top of the main character. Maybe a slight adjustment it positioning. Great work

01 January 2005, 07:46 AM (

Well this is probably at the 99.9% stage. I have benefitted tremendously from all the comments, and if there are still any showstopping errors here I would like to hear about it.

I struggled with the character in the lower corner (and I've flipped the image a few times during the course of the painting), and while I'm still not 100% happy with what I have, I think it's one of the more successful options I have looked into for this character.

||) |V| |^| - thanks!

Evil Gerbil - I agree; although I don't know if I like the guy from the iteration you are talking about. It seemed a little too "Ming the Merciless" to me, but it's all subjective...

sidchagan - thank you, I went back and tweaked his face a little bit. The features were a little big, and the head proportions overall were a little weird.

andreasrocha - you will see that I pretty much incorporated your suggestion verbatim; I do like the idea of giving that guy more of an acting/active role to help the storytelling. If I had more time I would try to come up with something a bit more interesting, but for now I think it will have to do. Thanks so much for the analysis, very helpful.

boalid - you are right, I hope I have corrected that sufficiently!

Sideache - yup, I agree, there was some uncomfortable composition things going on there. Probably still are, but hopefully it's a little better.

Thanks once again all!

01 January 2005, 07:57 AM
Really great image. I think everything is working very well, so no real huge changes jump out at me. Tremendous work!! :applause:

01 January 2005, 08:40 AM
Hey Francis, sorry I missed you on the closure of Concept Design Forum, but I just popped in to say that this is looking stunning. The colours are working especially well and the central figure connects the two halves perfectly. Impressive as usual. Keep it up mate - good to see you've taken Robert Chang's feedback on board. The composition and the relative scale and weighting of the actors works much better in the latest version.

Looks like with the two freelance projects currently on my plate, time escaped me with this.
But good luck to you!

01 January 2005, 09:19 AM
How could miss seeing your work all this time. This so stunning, there is a lot of emotion going through the characters and the spaceship is really cool. Sorry no critic's on this one.

01 January 2005, 09:46 AM
Cool Francis! Looking better each day. Some more suggestions:

1. I think that now there are too many spaceships on the upper left corner. Try reducing them by one third (but it's ok like it is).

2. Try breaking the spaceship trails or make them more transparent.

3. You could put some elements in front of the guy in the middle like the planet or put some of the smaller ships between his torso and his arms. Just don't put anything in front of his face. The glow below his hands, for example, is working great. You probably know who Drew Struzan is, by observing your composition. Look at the Star Wars posters for the Special Edition, if you haven't done so already. I think they can help.

4. Not a suggestion...just to say that your city in fire is beautiful!

5. I don't know about this one...but perhaps you could drop the top character. He somehow seems to be out of place. If you could leave only the spaceships above it would help, I think.

6. I still think you could vary sizes between the two foreground characters. Perhaps sizing up the guy in the corner.

7. His nostrils and nose look too flat. Try making it made up of varied planes, or ask someone to show them your nose from below (not a pretty sight, sometimes, hehe)

I hope I am helping and not making your life more difficult.

Keep up the great work!

01 January 2005, 05:13 PM
This turned out awesome francis, great colors - overall it's working I think. Since you are 99.9 % done, you are probably sick of tweaking this thing...but just for the hell of it, and since there is a still week left....a few comments..

- you might want to make the lower left guy's gun a bit more high-tech or designed seems a little ordinary? Will they have glocks in the future? =)

- i like the little ships flying around, and the various light beams

- The ships on the left feel a bit light and fragile to me - you might have been going for this seems the more refined ships on the right would kick their ass all over the place.

- emperor is looking good...I might add some slight (or make them stronger) worry wrinkles on his forehead. If you have time, perhaps some more elaborate clothing details would help sell his postion.

- What if the ghost's eyes were aimed down towards the focal point?

Most of this is just splitting looks really good as it is....congrats!

01 January 2005, 05:54 PM
aahhhhh....pretty colors! :bounce:

Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 04:45 AM
wow.. there I am totally stunned!:thumbsup:

I am away for hollydays, come back and...WOW!
Nothing to crit...

01 January 2005, 07:40 AM
Great composition. I find collages one of the hardest to pull off, and you did a fantastic job. :) Looking forward to the final!

01 January 2005, 09:33 AM
Francis, great concept and use of color.
Things I like most are the crack, small ships and the emperor and the way you've split the canvas in two opposing sides horizontal and vertical.

I agree on the design of the gun. It looks too ordinary. And I also think that the character holding the gun is imho the weakest. Maybe flip him facing outwards (if that's possible) and give his outfit more pizazz (if that's the word :) )
The right lower corner is a bit empty, maybe you could extend the girls dress a bit, but keeping the gostly effect.

Again great job!

01 January 2005, 06:28 AM (

OK well you guys shamed me into putting a few more minutes into this. I agree, after taking a break from this for a couple of days - I got a bit lazy and cheesed out on the oldest son character. I went back in and added a detail layer on his outfit, and gave his gun a bit more love. Hopefully it doesn't look *too* last minute...

Nathaniel - thanks man, your image is looking great too.

Grant - sorry to hear that, but I certainly understand how that goes. Got to pay the bills after all. Thanks for the comments on my piece.

ecura - thank you, it was quite a struggle to get this piece done on time.

andreasrocha - once again, great comments, thank you. I incorporated some of your ideas, but I didn't want to drop the top guy. He is a very crucial part of the story I am attempting to depict, so I wouldn't feel right eliminating him purely for the sake of composition.

Blackarts - great comments from you too, thanks very much. As with andreas' comments, I took a few of yours and left the others.

Snotblow - thanks, haha what a name...

Tommy Lee - thank you very much.

Airborn - thank you, man I agree, it's hard to do this sort of thing well. I hope I didn't embarrass myself here...

Art2 - thank you, very useful comments, some of which I heeded in the last set of changes.

01 January 2005, 06:57 AM
That's excellent work. I like this oldest son character a lot more. Nice job :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 07:03 AM
Hi Francis, just had to say well done, it's turned out beautifully. A lot like a film poster or a book cover, it tells a great story and has strong characterisation. I think the lower left character looks a lot more consistent now. The one thing that niggles me is the main weeping guy's lower teeth, they need a touch of seperating out like the top row (at the moment it looks like he's been given a big white pill to swallow). I think the perspective of the bottom row of teeth needs a slight tweak as well. Apart from that very minor detail, it's stunning.

01 January 2005, 07:28 AM

Nice to see you submitting something man, I remember asking you about that guy who worked on the original batman series (with Tim) because of that Batman painting you had where he's in a hell-ish place! GSO poster seems nice, really liking the elements of story that leave those what's all this over here about, who's that, etc. Rock on!

ps - concepts are sweetness.

01 January 2005, 10:28 AM
Now it's perfect... :thumbsup: !

01 January 2005, 04:52 PM
Beautiful work, Francis! I preferred the more saturated palette from the earlier posts, but you're really done a nice job with the rendering. Bravo!


01 January 2005, 05:34 PM
I think the new color rules! Great job. It has a clasic movie poster look to it.

01 January 2005, 04:46 AM
Time to crack open a beer I reckon. That's looking sweet Francis. I would have to agree with walrus - i do prefer the more saturated palette - at least somewhere between the two. Otherwise, the sheer scale, the film poster compostion, and the protagonists all scream 'space opera'. Awesome work!


Tommy Lee
01 January 2005, 10:50 AM
Beautiful work, Francis! I preferred the more saturated palette from the earlier posts, but you're really done a nice job with the rendering. Bravo!


Yepp.. bravo indeed!:applause:

01 January 2005, 11:32 AM
Many posters was in this challenge, but I think u r one of those rare ones, that really suceeded showing something fresh, grand and original. The pic is very well balanced and the contrast between two sides is just perfect. I wish u all the best with the voting process and Im sure ur work will be rewarded. good luck!

02 February 2005, 04:10 PM
whoahha...the things that are left rolling in the must
have been one of them 16th places...
the main character is so cool...among other thingz..

Tommy Lee
02 February 2005, 06:33 PM
Congratulations to this awesome piece anyway:thumbsup:



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