View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Mats Holmberg

10 October 2004, 09:21 PM
Mats Holmberg has entered the Grand Space Opera 2D.

Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: Catharsis - Final image! Woo!! (

Finally. For a while, I thought this thing would never come to an end. I haven't spent this much time rendering an image... ever! Also, this pic has been sort of a turning point for me in my art. I have had a leave from painitng since October - work ha totally eaten all my creativity, and getting back to painting has been really hard. I'm glas I pushed myself, since I have a few more pics to do in the near future.
(The title "Catharsis" wasn't chosen randomly, since catharsis means a kind of psychological purgatory - a cleansing and refreshing crisis - and that's what all this has been for me.)

Anyway. Since my last submission I have basicly rendered the detailing once more, adding definition to the planet and the nebula in the back.
When I was satisfied with that, I flattened the pic and applied some very gentle curves, and a yellow tinted color layer that gathered the whole palette a bit. (Thanks for the tip, Amoe!)

Hope you all like the image! Thanks to all who helped me out along the way. :beer:

10 October 2004, 09:34 PM
Yay woo - I'm in the game now!

I started a pic just two days ago. Not sure I'm gonna use it for my final submission though, but i might aswell post the progress shots. Let's call it a warm-up. Or something... ;)

I started out by making the perspective. I wanted to paint something huge, so a nice 3 point perspective should do it... (approx 15 mins)

Then I did a priliminary sketch over the whole thing. Changed stuff back and forth. Tried some different colors but finally made up my mind. Btw, I keep the perspective setup in seperate layers so i can turn them on and off as I want to. (approx 1 hour)

Then i started rendering it out... This pic is from approx 3 hours.

Then I started doing small, hardly noticable changes... and the time just flies. (I hate when that happens) 6 hours.

And that's about it for now. I'll do some more on this pic.. and then maybe start a new one. We'll see.

10 October 2004, 09:40 PM
looks great. i can only imagine what waits your piece.

10 October 2004, 10:39 PM
So. Done for now. Gonna start a new... so I'm calling this first pic finished now. I mean, I could render it for hours and hours... but I feel more like starting something new. ;)

Here it is anyway... let's call it "Huge"

10 October 2004, 01:13 AM
Did a few quick sketches tonight. Only one of them worth posting atm though. I'll go through them tomorrow again to see if they are worth developing.
I'd love to get some crits on the pic below. As you might see, it's not really one ship, but rather a cluster of many. Like some kind of swarm of evil crows or something!

10 October 2004, 10:36 PM
It's great to see so many of you taking interest in my development! :D

Sketch of the day... "They mostly come at night".
(It's supposed to be a tiny farm there, in the spotlight, below the ship.)

10 October 2004, 10:49 PM
Awesome work there Mats. The first piece is reading particularly well tonally and compositionally. It reminds me of the mothership in Homeworld 2.

Awesome stuff indeed!


10 October 2004, 10:59 PM
Hey! your off to a great start, this one will be fun to fallow :)

10 October 2004, 12:05 AM
this is pretty sick... i love your start

10 October 2004, 01:23 AM
wow wow wow :thumbsup:

10 October 2004, 07:19 AM
Please submit all images here. (

Judges will be looking at CGNetworks pages to review your progress.
Thanks. :D

and I should add ... "wow!"

10 October 2004, 12:31 PM
Thanks for your input! :beer: I'll probably be doing a whole bunch of sketches, to sort of warm up a bit and get the feelng right - and I'd love to hear your say on my choices of design and general mood. When I feel I have enough input, I'll start the final pic, and I'll be posting my progress on that.


10 October 2004, 01:41 PM
WoW! In my opinion the first 4 scetches is beautiful! :bounce:
I like the others little less.:hmm: But anyway i like you stile!:thumbsup:

Good luck!

10 October 2004, 02:04 PM
i am just wondering what the last one is ... a few folks camping out in the desert? or some kind of small patch of trees in the desert?

10 October 2004, 02:06 PM
Whow! I do not know which to choose!
The atmosphere of your work is cold but really great.
I wait to see the next works
good luck of you!

10 October 2004, 02:08 PM
(It's supposed to be a tiny farm there, in the spotlight, below the ship.)
Slav: ;)

arden: Yeah. Me too. The difference is basicly the time spent on them. The last ones are just quick concepts, and not so much illustrations when it comes to coloring and composition.

tekila: Heh... well, no need to chose yet. I'll be sketching along for a while i think. Don't wanna start the final pic too soon.

10 October 2004, 02:17 PM
All three of them are really good (atmosphere, compositing and so forth). The first one kind of reminds of homeworld.

Looking forward to see your final picture.

10 October 2004, 02:17 PM
All three of them are really good (atmosphere, compositing and so forth). The first one kind of reminds of homeworld.

Looking forward to see your final picture.

10 October 2004, 02:36 PM
far out! thats crazy concepts. i like the first one definately.

10 October 2004, 03:14 PM
great stuff , dude ,especially that first pic

also liked the black ships in the asteroid cluster


10 October 2004, 03:58 PM
I like the swarm in the last picture, just the idea.
I think it would be easy to not make it not so much like hulls concept for matrix ( But develop it into something else.

10 October 2004, 06:32 PM
The first concept looks really impressive. Maybe there could be some people to get real scale and monstrosity of the (mother)ship. Cool colors! :)

10 October 2004, 07:14 PM
awsome work.

[poo i wish i could say more than that to everyone... but i suppose its early]

10 October 2004, 08:44 PM
wow, congratz on your work it's just amezing

10 October 2004, 09:26 PM
absolutely beautiful work... wow

Frank Lake
10 October 2004, 11:44 PM
Wow! That image in post #5 has tons of potential as both a 3D object and painting! I'd pay good money for a large sized image of a more finished print. :love:

Dene of Terror
10 October 2004, 12:17 AM
Wow! That image in post #5 has tons of potential as both a 3D object and painting! I'd pay good money for a large sized image of a more finished print. :love: i also loved that 'Swarm' looked great.. i know it's just a rough image, but the vagueness of the vessels really worked for me. :thumbsup:

10 October 2004, 12:52 AM
Wow! So many great comments! :D

About the Homeworld reference: Yes. I love the style of that game... and it seems as if that blocky design is so closely related to that game, that it's almost impossible to use that style without people pointing out the similarities. It's unfortunate when i design-approach that you love is so closely related to something that familiar. And the last thing I wanna do for this challenge is to be some kind of HW copycat!

About the black cluster: I'm really glad you like it, because I do to! I know you won't believe me now, but i haven't actually seen the last two Matrix-movies, so I was unaware of the likeness that Alice pointed out (awesome pic btw!). Since i like it, I might finish it up - but not to enter into the contest. Look in the "Finished work 2d"-section sometime... soon. (Hopefully!)

I'll be back with a new sketch shortly. :beer:

10 October 2004, 02:02 AM (

I was looking through my folder of "space-ref-photos" and came across a photo of a space-shuttle-launch, and I thought "That's sweet. I'll make one of those!"
This is the first test i made...

10 October 2004, 02:06 AM (

...then I made another one. I think I'll tweak the perspective a bit back and forth to find a suiting one. Not 100% happy with either of these. Also, the ground here is VERY rough. I'm thinking it as some kind of metallic plating... somehow. Kind of like the surface of the Death Star! ;)

10 October 2004, 03:18 AM
One word to say "WOW !!! ".

10 October 2004, 05:04 AM
You. Are. Amazing. Like 'em all... 'cept lift off looks strange

10 October 2004, 07:27 AM
Those are some really nice color sketches. I'm familiar with your works, and I think any artist that can draw/paint characters should pull out all the stops for this challenge, because space operas without characters are just big empty galaxies and spaceships. Having characters in the images will give them the emotional element. The fact that you have the ability to do both characters and spaceships means you've got an upperhand over many others.

10 October 2004, 10:34 AM
I am loving " Concept Sketch: liftoff#2 " :thumbsup:

10 October 2004, 10:53 AM
These are all incredible!!

The early posts with the process were stunning... and a great set of images. The lighting, colours and composition are all so so right.

Can't wait to see what comes next!!

10 October 2004, 02:04 PM
your paintings are excellent! I especially like the ones that incorporate complimentary color schemes and stark perspective. keep it up! good work and good luck!

10 October 2004, 02:31 AM
Yeah! The lighting in the second liftoff piece is superb! The way the sunlight strikes the metallic hulls and reflects is very dramatic. Awesome and inspiring.

10 October 2004, 04:25 AM
Wow, you're great. I feel like im outta my league here. God Bless.

10 October 2004, 01:17 AM
Beautiful stuff man. Really prefer your first concept because of dramatic perspective and lovely colours. Should really get my own ass in gear.

10 October 2004, 01:48 AM
The majestic quiet beauty of your secound sketch goes without saying. It eminates an air of celestial tranquility. I feel very much at peace observing that image. I am curious as to what plan you have to include characters into this compsition.

10 October 2004, 02:06 AM
windowlicker, Nice work, great compositional choices, values, and the colors you're using are frickin' BUTTAH! My favorite is the first one, I just really like the composition and up angle you're using there. It feels gigantic. I'll be following your progress for sure.


10 October 2004, 02:15 AM
I liked your first series of images. It was like watching the ship resolve out of a cloud. I particulary like your third sketch. It would look wicked if you had some small alien figures sneaking around in the shadows...

10 October 2004, 06:47 PM
I knew this challenge was right up your alley! I am a fan of your art. I think I still like the first one the best, I guess the dramatic perspective is what is doing it for me, it just needs a few shots and explosions, maybe another huge ship(S) in the far off bckgd.

I also love the concept of the "swarm" of ships but it doesnt grab me like the first, though I'm sure you could make it look great!

Keep em coming!

10 October 2004, 01:45 AM (

I posted a few comments in other people's threads here, so i thought i should breathe some life into my own thread. ;)

I had been thinking a bit of making a pic with people after all, so I did this. Turned out to be some kind of father and son, together exploring the universe.
I'm not really happy with the size of the ship though - it feels to small. I will have to remake the whole thing if I am to continue wokring on it. The problem is that when trying to achieve hugeness, the characters are either painted to small so they aren't really caracters, but rather props. Painting the characters in the front of the image and the huge ship in the background si unsatisfactory to me - i feel that gives the image a too sharp edge between foreground and background. Not that it's wrong... I just don't like it.
I will have to make a bunch of sketches to see if I can get it to work.

10 October 2004, 01:56 AM
Heh. I thought I might comment your comments too! ;)

It's great to read what's being said here. I kinda feel I'm on the right track, and you've also given me a few very helpful tips. So cheers to all!

To Lunatique I'd just like to say: yeah, characters can be extremely helpful when you want to convey emotions. However, looking at the works of Berkey, he manages to convey a mood, and he almost never have characters in his images. (Sometimes they're there, painted only as tiny streaks beneath a monstrous spaceship!) His way of dealing with scale is very intersting to me, and I feel characters aren't necessary.

Btw: I'm a hard working boy now, and I can only hope I have time to keep a rate of about 2-3 sketches per week... Hopefully.

10 October 2004, 02:12 AM
The problem is that when trying to achieve hugeness, the characters are either painted to small so they aren't really caracters, but rather props. Painting the characters in the front of the image and the huge ship in the background si unsatisfactory to me - i feel that gives the image a too sharp edge between foreground and background. Not that it's wrong... I just don't like it.

Wow, this is THE VERY SAME dilemma I have. Even in my own thread, I was expressing how as an illustrator for clients, I am 90% of the time focusing on characters, and the ships/cities etc.. aren't the means to an end, jsut props, and with this challenge its just the opposite. I really dig the ships taking off, maybe you could create an air of suspense by showing a huge Psunami wave coming in jsut as they take off, just a suggestion, like someone mentioned in mine how it needs greater suspense.

10 October 2004, 12:19 PM
Hi Mats,
I like the way you block in the light into your sketches. They indicate a lot tension though in this very early stage. The architecture style is very intresting. I visited your homepage and now IŽm really looking forward to watch how youŽll transmit your architecture design skills into this challenge.

It is really difficult to integrate lifeforms into the foreground without disorting the perspektive view if you want to show monumental surroundings at the same time. Devinitley there are compositions wich do fine with both but they often look like constructed like movie-posters (Chronicles of Riddick, Starwars). At least you need characters to give a sense of scale but I think It is not useful to push lifeforms into the foregound of an image just to show that you are able to do it without considering the composition. I hope this comment doesnŽt sounds to offensive :)

10 October 2004, 01:17 PM
I think that a landscape orientation could give you enough space to work with something like your last one. It has potential, your points about it are true, just work at it! again, great stuff!

11 November 2004, 02:07 AM
I wouldn't worry about the size of the ship really.
You've got a bit of humor in the last one; the teddy and all, and a decent sized ship would just add to the charm (while a massive one would make it more comic).
I would first of all consider if this is opera enough. Or how you can make it more grand. Space it is. :)
Beautiful sketches! All of them.

11 November 2004, 03:05 AM
2nd concept is still my fav. keep at it mate. :)

11 November 2004, 12:59 PM
You have a real nack for colour, it's really nice selection, even in your quick sketches.
But I think it's not epic and grand enough. The liftoff one is a godd example, it's just one huge ship.. Liftoff two is sooo many increments better because it has a world, more ships, more can be read into the image, like an escape, or they are going to war which can't be read into the liftoff one image. And the same with the other images.
I really like the explorer image. What if you combined them into either the explorers welcoming the colonisers that will terraform a world, and have all these huge ships in the back and then this small story happening in the front. :) Other than that, the rendering on the first page garantees you on the shortlist :)

11 November 2004, 10:24 AM
Well, ur first submission is my favorite. Its really huge :D. Also the view is from the bottom, and my eyes r searching the top of that pillar so it makes it grand by default :) I would just suggest to make a higher format of ur workspace, so u could make that pillars top lost in the sky... that would be spectacular in my opinion.
Just my 2 cents :) otherwise is a great thread! Very nice technique!

11 November 2004, 03:13 AM
Nice work dude. I love your rough color work. You're going for collosal that's for sure. I get a real sense of hugeness, even in your roughs. To be fair, I'd like to see more of a story though. I like the teddy bear sketch, especially how the ship looks like a huge gun behind a touching father and son/daughter moment.

11 November 2004, 12:14 AM (

Here's the first of tonight's two sketches. I've been thinking a bit about what i want to convey with this whole space opera thing, and the one sci-fi aspect I find most exciting is space travel itself. Not warfare, not drama, no emotional story... just travelling through space is to me pretty exciting in itself.

In any case i started sketching around this theme for the last sketch i posted, the explorers who had landed on the surface of a new un-charted planet. However, besides the problem with the scale and the characters, I don't think such a pic conveys the vastness of space I find so exciting.

Here's the first sketch... depicting some kind of fleet. The vastness of space and the hugeness of the ships is the most important this time. It's a bit messy when it comes to composition... but if I continue along the lines of this image, I will start one from scratch and keep it cleaner and more well planned.

11 November 2004, 12:23 AM (

Here's the second pic. Here, I've been working a lot more with composition and I've put more thought into the design of the whole thing.

In this pic, I wanna take the viewer into a inter-stellar caravan in its journey to the super-capital of the planetary system - a planet that has expanded its borders far out into space with satellites and huge space stations. I'm not sure about the actual design of the planet/station though. I'm thinking of doing something more disc-like. Somehow.
If i continue along the lines of this one, I will develop the caravcan ships so that is more clear that they are part of a caravan. Now it almost looks like one long ship.

Anyway, I think you're getting the picture. You're seeing what I am trying to achieve here. I feel it's about time to really make up my mind on where to go with this whole thing. Ok, it's almost 70 days left, but I'm working too much atm, and before I know it it'll be only 7 days left... and by then i hope to be atleast 75% finished! ;)
So gimme whatever comments you might have! I want them, and I want them NOW!


11 November 2004, 05:10 AM
you've got some kickass stuff going on here. i'm really digging "the armada". very strong composition. what's the long diagnol strip supposed to be? keep on trucking, man! :D

11 November 2004, 02:50 PM
Thanks dude. Yeah, well, that diagonal thing is supposed to be some kind of ship or station... just floating there in the fog. Maybe a mothership?

I should comment on the previous posts too. Yesterday I didn't have time, but I wanted to get the sketches posted.

banter3: Yes. Story. That is true, and I believe having a strong idea or story will be the thing that makes me decide on one image to complete. I just have to find out what I really want to convey.

About life forms: Yes. The problem is there. It's just a matter of finding a way to deal with it. I like the way characters bring emotions and story to an image, but I dislike the way it always look like movie-posters. I wonder if I can find a way to bring this all together... hmm...

To all: Thanks for commenting. Hearing your thoughts is very important and helpful. :beer:

11 November 2004, 05:11 AM
:applause: latest concepts look cool....:)

11 November 2004, 05:16 PM
im still woting for the first one :) sorry, its just my favorite :)

11 November 2004, 10:54 PM
Some really nice drawings here...I'm thinking you should combine the "swarm of evil crows" from page 1 of this thread with this later one of "the caravan." I like the kind of ominous look to the one on pg1...but like the distance to the horizon in "caravan"

keep it up - really nice work!

01 January 2005, 02:37 AM (

So... It's been ages since i last posted something here, but as the deadline comes closer and closer i felt I had to decide on somthing.

What I've done, is that I've gone through my previous sketches and from that made a choice to emphasise on the "grand" in space opera. ;)
My idea was to visualize the construction of the most enormous space ship ever - a ship of truly epic measures!

I made a tiny sketch to get going, and then developed it from there.

01 January 2005, 02:39 AM (

I then started sketching out the big ship, and as you can see in the previous sketch, I initially intended to only show the rear of it, leaving most of the ship off the image. When I started designing the huge ship, I began feeling I wanted to get it all into the image... since it's that ship I really want to portray.

01 January 2005, 02:41 AM (

After this I wanted to find a way of getting the scale in. What can I do to make sure no one misunderstands the enormousness of the ship? After some sketching, I got the idea of using mooons and asteroids as platforms for the construction scaffolding; putting the moons and the ship in relation scale wise.

I've been doing a whole bunch of sketches of the main moon station, and I'm still not 100% sure of how it's going to be. One moon is also supposed to provide living quarters for the construction workers, and one other moon has a power plant function.

01 January 2005, 02:44 AM (

The last sketch in this session.

Things are now coming together and I've started the layout in Photoshop. I will have the first coloring/layout sketch up in a day or two.

Hopefully. ;)

01 January 2005, 02:58 AM
LOL....your avatar really matches your's great!
about your work....can't really say that much except: the first one rocks!
all the other images are good as well but still haven't got the power as the first one.
You've already proven yourself as being a great artist so I've got lots of confidence you'll make an awesome final image....
Good luck, Francis

01 January 2005, 05:00 AM
Do you do concept for 3D? nice work very easy to read and a great grasp of design.

01 January 2005, 01:11 AM (

Meh. I feel I've done my fair share of sketches for this contest, and it's time to settle for something final. Just did this half-hour coloring sketch to give you a better feeling ofr what I'm trying to create here.
Still, I'm not 100% suer how I'm gonna portray the ship. I think I will do one more pic like this, more depicting the entire colossus.

I'd really LOVE to hear your feedback now, since I'm getting so close (and the deadline is drawing near!)

Francis - Thanks! I'm trying to do something like the first pic I posted here... but I need to surpass myself, so I'm working hard to get what I want.

V_Shane - Yeah, I do concepts for 3d occasionally, both for my own models, but also for hobby- and commercial projects. Working with 3d yourself makes you really understand what a 3d artist needs from a concept sketch to make it work!

01 January 2005, 01:16 AM
Love the scale and perspective of the image. The large ship looming into shadow is great (very Aliens or 2010-ish). What is the large cream-coloured orb near the front (back?) of the large grey ship? Is a meteor hitting this craft?

You're earlier skecthes are beautiful as well... looking forward to seeing how the detail work manifests itself.

Great job so far!

01 January 2005, 01:41 AM
Man your colors are just sooo yummy!! I literally want to print your stuff one on a giant
piece of toast or better yet on the top of a giant cake and eat it with my hands tied behind me!
So you`re working on painter right ? i need painter now :]

01 January 2005, 01:51 AM
I'm really digging it so far. I know it's still a bit early, but it's really coming along. Time's a-tickin :P

01 January 2005, 02:10 AM
good painting

01 January 2005, 03:37 AM (

Sooo... I made that other angle I talked about. I stuck with the same choice of colors, since they were so well liked by some. ;)
This time the whole ship makes it into the image, and i you look really closely, you can see the antenna near the front of the ship disappearing behind the planet! ;)

So my question now is basicly: "Which one do you like the best?"

About the cream colored orb, it's the moon which serves as a base for the construction scaffolding. (Scroll up and see the sketches.)

Tomorrow, I (and you?) will decide on which one to go for. Until then: Sleep!

01 January 2005, 03:51 AM
Definitely on your way....I would say go for the last image.......the perspective and drama works well......go for it!

01 January 2005, 03:51 AM
Ah... that's not a cream coloured orb... that's a frickin' Moon! I got yah..


As far as compositions, I vote for the previous one. I think it's more dramatic and although you can't see the entire ship (as in your most recent image) I think the previous image is more dramatic.

01 January 2005, 10:59 AM
the great thing about all this are really the brush do you do it, they look so 'smooth'. could you tell us what brushes you use and with wich setting ?

thanks in advance

01 January 2005, 11:02 PM
Thanks for the input. I'm working on the pic right now, and I still can't axactly make up my mind - both layouts have flaws and qualities. If you have something to say about this, please speak up now! ;)

And Foane, it's very simple really. I use a round, hard brush (PS7) with the "Flow"-control set to "Pen preassure". Then I have adjusted the preassure sensitivity of the tablet so I have a nice feel in the pen. Sometimes, when I just need to add very faint strokes I change the opacity of the brush to somewhere around 20%. That's it really.

01 January 2005, 01:31 AM
thanks for the help, very simple indeed but quite helpful!

01 January 2005, 12:46 AM (

After quite some time now, I finally decided what to go for. I knew I wanted to make a pic about the construction of an enormous space-ship, so that had to be in focus. I also felt i had to portray the whole ship. At the same time I wanted an interesting composition with a lot of depth.

With all those parameters, it's been hard to get it right... and I'm not 100% sure this time either, but since the deadline is too close for comfort, I made a decision.

This pic is just some two hours of work, but I've rendered out a part of the ship to give you all a hint of what I'm sort of going for.
You can also see the composition, but for now you will have to image all the little ships zooming in and out of the giant hull. There's basicly just a whole lot of stuff elft to add! XD

01 January 2005, 12:53 AM
Aphex Twin all the way baby!!! Richard D. James rulz all! ;) Nice work. Keep at it!

01 January 2005, 07:56 AM
Thanks for the reply, ||) |V| |^| - I will keep at it!

But that's it? No more opinions? Is it too sketchy atm, or is it too uninteresting? I don't know if I'm too pushy, but I'd really like some early feedback on this one.

01 January 2005, 08:11 AM
Great composition. I'd like to see it look a little more saturated, and contrasty personally. Look good so far though, and I'll keep checking in to see your progress.

01 January 2005, 11:54 AM
Hi Mats,

The current stage looks good. I get your idea.

Maybe the little planet is a bit too near at the big ship. If you want to keep it in the center of interest maybe it could be an idea to show that the ship is so big that the little moon shatters at the hull of it. Just a suggestion.

IŽm not sure about this suggestion but what if you straighten up the ship a bit and enlarge it at the right side so that it goes a bit out of the picture. This could increase the impression in terms of the size. Because in the moment it looks as if the big ship framed to much into the image.


01 January 2005, 05:22 PM
I like this last composition best because of the extreme perspective on the ship. I also didn't like the antenna of the ship in the earlier shot disappearing behind the planet: It just makes the ship too large to be conceivable. Even in this shot, i think the biggest challenge will be selling the ship as huge instead of just giving the impression that the moon is really small. Right now it still feels a little like a "normal" spaceship just scaled up: A big engine vent becomes a thousands-of-miles-wide engine vent. I'm sure the detailing will help a lot, though. Other ships which are much smaller might also help sell the idea of scale.

Anyhow, good luck with it! Hurry! :-)


01 January 2005, 06:53 PM
Thanks! Many great opinions there.
I'll probably extend the ship outside of the frame at the rear, and I'll work a lot more contrast into it. I've been thinking about the design of the engines, since making them look like "ordinary" vents will not make the ship look big, but rather make the moon look small. I need to make a plausible design there. I've also been thinking about the overall design of the ship's hull, since a ship as big as this one will need a somewhat original design, so it's not confused with a smaller (more ordinary) ship.

The moon however has to stay, since it is (to me anyway) what seperates this pic from the hundreds of images-depicting-big-space-ships-in-space. This pic is about the construction of one of these huge ships. Where do they put the scaffolding, and where do the workers live? I have to make the moon look right somehow, though. Maybe, just maybe, I will change it into an asteroid, making the scale problem slightly easier to deal with.

So... I've done a few pencil sketches today, and I am just about to start painting. I will probably be back with an update later tonight.
In the meanwhile, keep those crits coming! :D

01 January 2005, 11:55 PM (

Working working. I tried changing the moon to an asteroid.. but now when I've started rendering the detailing of the big ship, I think the asteroid looks too small! (Maybe it's just me?!)
I've been Changing the construction of the ship itself a bit since yesterday, but this is definitely the one I will stick to.

I haven't implemented all the suggested changes so far, but I'm in the process of lengthening the ship so it sticks out the back. The enginges are also undergoing a cahnge. I'll try to simply add a whole bunch of circular "thrusters" (kinda like the Star destroyers from SW... you know...) and see how that looks.

01 January 2005, 11:57 PM (

Thought I might add this detail of the ship hull, so you can see a bit closer how small the features are.

Taht's all for now. More tomorrow!

01 January 2005, 12:27 AM
I really like the changes in the ship design! I think they go a long way to make it work better. Large interesting-shaped planes are working very well. And I like the idea for the new engines, too. You are right that the asteroid now looks smaller: It's the oblong shape. The mroe circular it is, the more it will look like a moon and not an asteroid. Having a ton of surface detail will help it read as larger too.

One thing to think about is light-sources. While the picture is beautiful now and everything reads well, it's unclear what the light source is. the background planet seems to be lit by a sun that's above the top of the screen, while the steroid and ship are lit from something to the left. and as that "something" isn't uniformly casting light on the whole ship, onlt a spotlit portion of it, it feels as though that left light is a spotlight, something relatively small, not a sun.

anyhow, good luck with it!


01 January 2005, 12:29 AM (

Been working just a little today, but I thought I'd post the progress anyway.

I changed it back to the moon since i thouhgt the asteroid looked to small. I wanted to make a proper try with a well detailed moon and a more detailed moon-station. I kinda like the way it turns out.
I also did a test with the engines. Not sure the pink color will stay though. Might tune it a bit towards the orange.

Well Walrus, You're right about the light. I'm out to make what you just stated - a nice pic which reads well - and not an absolutely correct, photorealistic pic. However, the front end of the ship is VERY dark atm, and as I render it, I'm sure it'll blend more with the rear end.

01 January 2005, 01:40 AM
Looking great. Glad you went back to the moon and I love your painterly approach.

The one question I have is your lighting... in particular. If this is being built in space why is there such a hotspot on one portion of this ship? I would think, anything on this plane of the ship should be recieving light equally as there is no atmosphere in space for distance fog and the only light source is a constant, the sun. To have this dramatic lighting present the ship would have to be in the shadow of another planet or other equally large spacecraft.

I know it's a dramatic choice and it sells it well, but the rest of the ship being in shadow doesn't make sense to me.

I think you could either say that this is the backside of the ship (from the sun) and have it lit up with a series of construction light statellites (but then you would lose the moon's ambience) or have this be the side of the ship that is facing the sun and have a more grandual fade to black to show the scale of the ship.

That being said, I'm sure I'm being far to practical in regards to the dramatic mood you're trying to set.

It's a beautifully composed piece either way!

01 January 2005, 03:46 AM
:bounce: very nice

01 January 2005, 05:50 AM
hey mats,

really like how your new piece is coming along! Always liked the painterly look of your work.

one thing stands out though that I'm not crazy about and that's the way the ship is holding the moon...just looks weird, like a giant hand holding a basket ball or something.

good luck man!


01 January 2005, 12:50 AM (

Just very quick - the lighting: I'm sticking to it. It's my way of working, my way of building a picture. Sorry if it pokes some of you in the eye.
The moon: Hopefully it'll come across soon enough that it is not the ship that's holding the moon, but the other way around. The moon serves as a contruction site from which the ship is built. The title "The Construction of the Catharsis" isn't just chosen randomly.

Since yesterday I've been working a bit here and there in the pic. I didn't like the way the moon station way turning out, so I changed it quite a bit. I also added a ship that is approaching the moon. That ship is just one of many, and I really hope they will help with the scale issues.

Tomorrow I hope to have the rear of the Catharsis complete. After that it's the planet's surface, the front of the ship and the rest of the scaffolding. And a plethora of different space crafts, of course.
4 days is well enough time for that. ;D

01 January 2005, 01:17 AM
Window! This is great. Love the way you're building up your series of narrow plate-like structures to make the overall form. A very dynamic sort of design in my opinion. Compositionally, you may run into problems towards the lower left, where you're starting to have alot of intersections of color and line.

01 January 2005, 02:34 AM (

Yeah, what can I say really? Not much... just painiting away, i am. The hull is almost finished. So is the moon station - just some minor touch-ups here and there.
Left is the second moon, and the clouds in the background, and all the tiny space ships. And maybe the blue planet.

01 January 2005, 02:57 AM
Wow, that big spaceship looks great! I love the design of it :thumbsup:

01 January 2005, 01:36 AM (

Not much left now - not much painting to do, and not much contest time either! Feels like i got it well under control though.

The big ship is like 99% done now, and next I will color all the small crafts I've blocked out in red atm. See how many of them that will stay, and what color they'll have.
Also, I'm thinking about bringing the blue planet to life. I feel I would maybe like some greens in the pic, so we'll see what happens.

Update... well, as soon as I'm done! :D

01 January 2005, 10:29 PM (

Before I post the full final image, I'd like to submit a shot at 100%. I do this so you get a better hang of what's going on, since I think you lose a bit of the understanding of the piece when you shrink it for web.

01 January 2005, 10:40 PM
You're right, the closeup really does show alot of the nuances of form. Again, great work. The ships do remind me of the ship design in homeworld.

01 January 2005, 10:43 PM (

Finally. For a while, I thought this thing would never come to an end. I haven't spent this much time rendering an image... ever! Also, this pic has been sort of a turning point for me in my art. I have had a leave from painitng since October - work ha totally eaten all my creativity, and getting back to painting has been really hard. I'm glas I pushed myself, since I have a few more pics to do in the near future.
(The title "Catharsis" wasn't chosen randomly, since catharsis means a kind of psychological purgatory - a cleansing and refreshing crisis - and that's what all this has been for me.)

Anyway. Since my last submission I have basicly rendered the detailing once more, adding definition to the planet and the nebula in the back.
When I was satisfied with that, I flattened the pic and applied some very gentle curves, and a yellow tinted color layer that gathered the whole palette a bit. (Thanks for the tip, Amoe!)

Hope you all like the image! Thanks to all who helped me out along the way. :beer:

01 January 2005, 11:21 PM
Beautiful work!

All the little ships really give it a feeling of life... it really feels like a ship in dry-dock! I wish there were a few more stars to give the space more depth but again, I'm all about the nitpicking!


Nice job and good luck!

01 January 2005, 07:47 AM
Heh. Tough crowd to please, I see... but thanks for your reply, cgkrusty. Maybe more stars would've been cool, but i guess it's not the stars that make or break the image. ;)

01 January 2005, 07:51 AM
Excellent work Mats, best wishes

01 January 2005, 05:58 PM
Wow! That yellow really did help unify the color on the piece. And I really like all of the smaller ships added to help give a sense of scale. Great work overall, Mats, congratulations!


01 January 2005, 07:37 PM
Hi, the ship is very originaly and the painting is very nice, good work and good luck

01 January 2005, 07:54 PM
Hi Mats,

I very much like the sense of scale and the sharp shadows. The way you use your brush is very beautiful. Great work.

Good luck


01 January 2005, 08:03 PM
Your entry has everything my entry was supposed to have!
Oh the irony. Well you made everything look lot better than my entry.

Gongratulations! :bounce: Nice soft brush stroke with accurate shadows. Slightly cartoony result.
Mothership looks really cool. Definetly GRAND. Ok now go give crits to me. Seya!

ps. I didnt even see any evolution of your pic at all.

01 January 2005, 08:54 PM
I'm so glad to hear you like it. I know some of you who have posted, have had your doubts, and so have I. I don't think I'll ever be 100% satisfied with a pic. (Is anyone?!) Now I can just cross my fingers and toes for the judging! X-D

Now I gotta go check out the other finished entries. There's been so many nice submissions - judging this will be so hard!
:beer: to all!

01 January 2005, 06:03 AM
Mats, I just gave you my vote.


01 January 2005, 10:37 AM
Great job on the finale. Alot of motion. It definantly fits the theme. Which is how I am going about voting. I am sorry to say, but with so many good choices I am only voting for those which say... Grand Space Opera!

01 January 2005, 11:26 PM
Hi there,

You did an incredible job over there. Just amazing... I got sort of dumbstruck when I first saw it. Very inspiring.

Good luck with the challenge.
P.S. Have you got a website with any nore of your work?

01 January 2005, 07:45 AM
Thanks! It's great to know some of you are voting for me! :D I am just hoping enough of you aer doing it to take me to the finals! ;)

About my website: I have a link in my signature, but yeah, it's here ( anyway. :)

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