View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Joshua Ray Been

10 October 2004, 06:07 PM
Joshua Been has entered the Grand Space Opera 2D.

10 October 2004, 02:13 AM
Hey all, I joined this challenge yesterday, but realized I didn't have my concepts together in any way. My plan is to create a few well developed images and, toward the end of the contest, compose them together in a sort of movie poster collage thing. Well, without further ado, here's a little something I've been working on. It's called Crater Cities. An alien race mines the iron from the bottom of iron-rich meteor impact craters, and hence builds their temporary civilizations around the mine.

I'm not sure if it's going to go in but... started as this, a fairly simple value sketch so I could dial in the composition. This original is about 2 inches wide, and 1 inch tall.

After scanning in the drawing I created another layer and drew up a high res value study in Photoshop.

From this stage, I was ready to tackle some color. With the sun or a nearby star setting (or perhaps rising) from the right, the structures will cast long shadows and therefore I can adjust my light and dark composition with greater ease. Since the city or factory or whatever is inside the force field is my focal point, all of the other "stuff" will remain more loosely rendered. And since there is no discernable atmosphere on this moon-like planetoid, I will need to apply little (if any) atmospheric perspective to the surrounding geology.

I was almost not going to post this stage of the WIP because of the many issues that popped up in developing this loose color comp. Then I decided, what the heck, that's what this whole contest is about. When you compare this early stage with the next one you will notice that it pretty much got a complete re-work.

1.The city is boring. You've seen this type of thing a million times.
2.The elipse that makes up the surrounding "wall" is way off.
3.There should be atmospheric perspective within the force field. This will be addressed later using a method that I got from one of the masters of sci-fi digital concepting, Ryan Church. His technique is to add a layer, pick an airbrush with a large diameter, lower the flow, pick white (or almost white-blue in this case) as the color, paint lightly over the place that needs haze (or pollution or atmosphere) to create the desired effect, pick eraser and erase areas that you don't want to be effected, drop layer).
4. Still needs stars, highlights, etc. etc.

At this point, I've addressed most of the issues that I had talked about in the color comp. I'm pretty happy with the structure of the force field generating things that go around the walls, though some are ever so slightly off. It's finally time for some fun fluffy stuff!!!

Here are a few details:

Hope you enjoy. As always C and C are very welcome.

10 October 2004, 02:35 AM
sorry, not good with words , i just say 'wow' and 'cool'
alot , kind of a habit in these competitions :)

10 October 2004, 02:40 AM
Thanks Squibbit, I remember your entry in the Machine Flesh challenge, I was very impressed. I like your cerebral style, very original. I think your material rendering is exceptional too.

10 October 2004, 02:55 AM
Wow, nice concept :thumbsup:

Not wasting any time - I'm still thinking about what I'm going to illustrate :p I'm eager to see how this looks when you're further along.

10 October 2004, 10:44 AM
yeah this caught my eye, I like the idea you have developed and it has a solid painterly style to it. we are seeing a mining colony in progress and growing still and developing further cities.. is this the stage of the opera or do you have a sneaky asteroid about to hit the most develeped settlement or some other form of space born impending doom?

10 October 2004, 12:49 AM
hey funkbuttah, that is sweet stuff. While the domed crater city has been done before (what hasn't?) i think your approach is quite fresh, with a lot of interesting detail that draws you in. I love the electrostatic field over the dome, and the neighbouring dome city under construction. I think the comp is crying out for a more evocative starfield and possibly some more foreground. otherwise great work...


10 October 2004, 02:22 AM
I really appreciate all the feedback you all have given me.

Tekano, I haven't decided where this is going yet as far as the greater grander epic, only where it fits in to the story rolling around in my head, it does need a little somn' somn', though, thanks.

Unitstudio, I totally agree, the starfield and the forground could use a little "buttah," thanks again.

Evil Gerbil, This is the challenge I've been waitin for! Now is the time to bust out. Looking forward to seeing your progress too.


10 October 2004, 05:30 AM
I like the fact that you notice your own flaws and self correct yourself along the way, always good to see someone really going through all the stages instead of just showing huge jumps. As for the comp I love the way you have the structures layed out on the curve of the surface, makes for interesting perspectives. Not much to be critical about just posting my appreciation...

10 October 2004, 05:50 AM
good stuff so far buttah, i just have something to add.
at the moment, the main colony looks soo goood! (think strongbad when using those words =])

unfortunately, when looking at the whole image, it seems to lose some of its impact. try playing around with alternate camera angles to see if it makes it any better. or it may just be me. also i think really heavy or sharp shadow use may work in this piece. keep the progress going, it rocks so far!

10 October 2004, 05:44 PM
Oooh, you come already with details!! I like the shield very much, also the light setting is great!
Where's the conflict?

10 October 2004, 06:52 PM
I agree, it needs conflict or impending doom... otherwise it is looking good.

10 October 2004, 07:18 PM
Everyone, thanks for your feedback, in general, a lot of comments about needing more conflict. I totally agree. I think I may play with extending the composition vertically to include some space and ships and what not, and to balance it by adding a little forground of the planetoid or whatever. The idea is evolving a lot in my head and I do want to eventually put a couple of pieces together in a movie poster collage type of thing, so this pic my just be some eye candy to support the bigger conflict and focal point of the poster. Not sure yet, but I really appreciate the feedback.

j breitzman
10 October 2004, 07:58 PM
Very nice! What about people? Maybe (especially if you do a movie poster collage) bringing the characters into the image will add the depth of story to this piece. I love the environment, but I want to hear about the story, who built this place and why. For me the conflict comes after.

Fantastic and inspiring though.


btw, I'm having trouble getting my images on the thread. Would anyone be able to tell me what I'm doing wrong? Thanks.

11 November 2004, 10:40 PM
What's up everyone, it's been a bit since I've posted anything...busy. Well here's another thought that I'm rendering out. Started as this thumbnail:

It's evolved a bit from the thumb, but the interplay of light and shadow remain strong I think.

The characters are creatures called Oocharahn, a primitive hunter gatherer sort of being. They see a spaceship crash land on their world and follow the smoke to the fusilage. For a scene that has very specific characters in it, I will usually design them pretty thouroughly. Something like this:

Here's another painting of this specific character, not for the opera.

Here's a detail of this one:

Enjoy. C&C of course.

11 November 2004, 12:26 AM
Absolutely wonderful characterization! Those sketches/character design sheet are awesome, epecially the yawning pose. Nice light as well in the painting. The compostion of them at the fuselage/wreckage seems to be a bit too far back from the action for my taste, and I wonder if you'll have trouble establishing characterization from that far back. However, I realize the actual image is most likely much bigger than the compressed version, so I'll just shut my big mouth. Keep up the good work!


11 November 2004, 09:42 PM
How's it going, all you guys that have posted on my thread, I thank you.
This space opera challenge is insane, the caliber of artistry going on is pretty damn rediculous.

Merlin, Thanks on the commments dude, I hear ya on that composition being a little far from the ship, I may do another that is a little closer for giggles. My thinking on this one was that from the thumbnail, I thought it might be a lot of fun to render the crash skid and debris from the fuselage smashing through the forest...and it is. I'm still trying to invent a painting technique that really captures this. It's coming along, but it still needs a lot of work. Oh and I checked out your website, hilarious. I was having issues with stupid real player, but I checked out that ten commandments vid, genius!! Good stuff in the opera too, I especially like the idea in the city with the closeup of the people. I like your small ship designs too (not the solar wind ones so much, I like the treasure planet movie; hate those stupid sail ships). Well anyway, Thanks again.

J breitzman, Thanks for your comments. I'll get to the characters and story later (believe me it's pretty in depth), right now I'm having too much fun with the environment rendering.

Without further ado, here's this WIP:

11 November 2004, 10:57 PM
i take a look at page 2 and see you sketch , i see next to nothing there
and I'm like "huh?" only then I see two creatures with spears and the dog man and
I think like " he prolly didn't mean it that way but it's cool that I didn't notice them until
I started lookin for more than just a shipwreck". heh , that's just unusual and therefore
then i start to write an answer , see page 1 and see that u completely changed concepts (didn't
remember this one , did like the space city much, too) and there's some very cool
stuff there , including a dog creature that looks like alive , so well done. Yea nice
change , though i would think it would need something more to be ,how was it ,
epic ,iconic grand space opera.
something..a spark..little more ... i dunno

this make any sense ?

j breitzman
11 November 2004, 07:22 PM
Funkbuttah - thanks for all your help. I like the crashed ship idea. Your hunter-tribe is a great cross-over. Tech vs. Nature.

12 December 2004, 05:36 AM
your work is really progressing - good mood, good drawings

12 December 2004, 09:19 PM
coming along, very nice concept, much different idea than all the battles being posted lol
and I like that the creatures are not all fuzzy and cute like ewoks, this has real potential but I kind of agree that it could use a little more "epicness", but that's what I'm struggling with so I offer no solution lol

anyway nice job keep it up

12 December 2004, 09:20 PM
on second thought it has some real depth going on and is getting more epic the more I look at it...

12 December 2004, 04:32 PM
Just stopping by... saying hello and congrats on ur entry.. I really like the start, looks very promissing, but its a bit too early for any crits here. Love the sketches of characters also! good luck!

12 December 2004, 04:47 PM
hey this is a little confusing to look at now but i like teh color, tighten it up a little i guess

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