View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 3D Entry: Elben Schafers

10 October 2004, 09:39 PM
Elben Schafers has entered the Grand Space Opera 3D.

Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: final Out on a limb (

Just added some minor changes to the back planet so it doesn't stand out so much. Might experiment a little further, but should probably submit my final before the deadline.

10 October 2004, 09:46 PM (

This is just a first sketch made in Painter, to see about creating flow. It represents two fighting neighbors and the similarities they unknowenly have. :) Ok, it's just an image with two planets with vine like cords stretching into space and the inhabitants at war.

10 October 2004, 09:47 PM (

Just added color to try to get some mood.

11 November 2004, 06:33 PM
Wow, looking over all the images so far I'm really tempted to start over because I see a lot of images with nice layouts of cities on planets and nice environments with ships etc. Still this is SPACE opera, so I might stick to the original concept and include something with space in it. Hint, hint :)

There's some really nice stuff out there, though. Should shape up to some nice competitions.

11 November 2004, 06:38 PM
Nice start! Like the organic flow in the concept sketch - keep it up! :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 05:13 PM (

I just thought of having one planet instead of two, but have it broken in half. I think it will be a little more interesting and have a better focal image.
Flipped the image horiz just to see if the eye will flow better. Kinda think it does.

11 November 2004, 05:19 AM (

This is where I'm going with the cockpit for the walkers. I'm using Maya for the modeling. I find that smooth proxy seems to work well for the more fluid of pieces but didn't work so well for the more mechanical areas. Regular polys work better for those. This is a combo of both.

11 November 2004, 05:33 AM
great concepts bud, And the modeling is coming along nicely too.

Interested to see how you will portray the background.


11 November 2004, 12:26 PM
Great cockpit, it just needs a plastuc bubble and you could zip round in that.

11 November 2004, 08:40 PM
Great start on the modeling, I am looking forward to your progress. :)

11 November 2004, 02:48 AM (

Thanks for the comments guys. A plastic bubble sounds good, but I actually already added that in. :) This is the mostly final model for the craft itself, minus some slight detail and a driver. I hope to add more detail by using textures, but we'll see how that turns out.
It's a little different for me, not building for games. I tend to still make the models a little lower then needed. It does makes it easier to move around though.

11 November 2004, 03:18 AM
WOW! Man I have to say: Great Aracnic model! I liked it a lot! Keep it up! I think this is going to be another project to be tuned with! :) Oh! and good luck! :cool:

11 November 2004, 05:00 PM
Man I have to learn to put in detail to my models like you have here. Great looking vehicle, really nice detailling.

11 November 2004, 07:39 PM
This is where I'm going with the cockpit for the walkers. I'm using Maya for the modeling. I find that smooth proxy seems to work well for the more fluid of pieces but didn't work so well for the more mechanical areas. Regular polys work better for those. This is a combo of both.The models are looking very nice. Overall, the composition of your concept sketch is cool. Since the background has interesting originality factor (not seen as much) may I suggest you shy away from isometric quality to your organic antagonist (aracnid) - to keep the original flavor going. For instance, the Ant is isometric in legs, but has a large bulbous abdomen. The potatoe bug is one of the most frightening looking insects, even though it has isometric balance in terms of legs and skeleton.

Although, if you choose to stay in that direction, your modeling skill is certainly apparent, and your doing a great job. In any case - looking forward to more. :)

11 November 2004, 08:05 PM
to me your sketches look like a nano world.
and these guys shrinked themselves and now they
are fighting in some organism :)

could be you ;)

really nice so far!

11 November 2004, 11:55 PM
GaNNEl- thanks bud. There's a few really pieces that people are doing. Just hope to follow this through. Seems like I have too many things going on.

Gamoron- thanks too. I still wasn't sure if I had the right amount of detail, too much and the image becomes cluttered, too little and it becomes sorta cartoonish. I have to see what texturing does, hopefully tonight.

Daniel McMillan- I'm trying to get a good composition, but I find that this never gets ironed out till closer to the end. I agree too on the non isometric idea, but I thought maybe the legs and guns would be very similar all around, keeping to a manufactured style. The difference of sides could be more along the line of sat dishes, storage compartments etc. Good idea with the potato bug though. I always wanted to do something with microscopic time.

CybapunC- that's a unique way of looking at it. Not bad.

Well, I hope to be able to show a little more soon.

11 November 2004, 02:20 AM
Thanks for the comments guys. A plastic bubble sounds good, but I actually already added that in. :) This is the mostly final model for the craft itself, minus some slight detail and a driver. I hope to add more detail by using textures, but we'll see how that turns out.
It's a little different for me, not building for games. I tend to still make the models a little lower then needed. It does makes it easier to move around though.
Good detail level. :thumbsup:
How about to use the clamps to fly?

I will be watching your stuff!

Good luck at the challenge!

11 November 2004, 07:23 AM (

I'm learning a lot of what not to do. Since I modeled the pieces first using smooth proxy in Maya, it didn't make it easy to lay out the UV's. I should've built the base shapes, layed out UVs then cut in to create sharper edges, when smoothing. Most of the time when working on games, I model low poly then map out UV's. Higher poly takes a little more getting use to.

11 November 2004, 07:32 AM (

This is just another angle of the cockpit. I'm going for a little cleaner look, mostly on the upper section of the whole piece. Looking to create a little more of an astronaute feel, where parts are kept as white as possible. I'll try to pull the opposing vehicle in a more dirty direction.

11 November 2004, 04:35 AM (

I finally have the texturing done for the walker, minus the character inside. Also some lights that are grouped with the walker to light the way.

11 November 2004, 07:43 AM
wow that looks cool.
Reall detailed, expecially the interior!
thumbs up!

I'd probably change angle of the feet... I would'nt bend them too much.
Maybe use pictures of spiders of something for reference... nature always has the best inspi/ideas :)

keep it up!

11 November 2004, 01:39 PM

nice modelling.. another great thread!
2 thumbs up:thumbsup::thumbsup:

heck.. maybe another one... :thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 07:29 PM
Thanks guys.

lehmi ( vbmenu_register("postmenu_1751113", true); - Once I have them walking on the vine like cables the curve of the legs will make more sence. I actually want them to wrap partly around the diameter of the cable. They would be pretty useless on flat terrain. :)

Versiden - I hope the detail shows up in the final render, but thanks.

I'm in the process of working with the lighting for the scene at this stage, to get a feeling of the walker creating it's own light source, and a basic mainlight representing the sun. Added a little more detail in the glass etc. Will probably get a another render out soon.

11 November 2004, 12:08 AM
very nice models Elben, love the lighting effects on that ship. maybe you can slap a bit of dirt or rust on the arms! cheers and good luck!:thumbsup:

11 November 2004, 02:54 PM
Hey Elben!

Wow, great work with that concept! A bit retro with that fishtank cockpit... I love it :thumbsup:
Just one small crit... seems to me that the glass still refracts too much at the centre, and it could also be a little darker around the edges for a better outline imho...

Great stuff... keep it coming!

11 November 2004, 02:07 AM
Hey, looking good.

At the moment it looks like the "bubble" is a solid sphere, hollow it out and it should look alot more realistic.

Keep up the good work


12 December 2004, 05:02 AM
liquidminduk - your right about the hollowing out. About a week ago, I gave the glass thickness, and it gave a lot better look, including a hint of a ring around the bubble. I really didn't want to bore everyone with yet another slightly different image post.

Rui_Padinha - thanks for the crit, I might cut the refraction down a bit.

uwil - Would you believe the arms actually have a lot of dirt etc, they just don't show up rendered so far. I hope in the final comp, the closest crawler will show it off a bit, if not I'll have to go in and dirty up more.

As soon as I get the driver made I hope to post a couple more images. Been working on him off and on.

12 December 2004, 10:07 AM
if your dirt isnt showing up, tr6y adding a bump or displacement map to it, that way it'll show up more.

Keep it up.


12 December 2004, 11:19 AM
neat! is that chair comfortable tho ?

12 December 2004, 03:56 AM
keep going Elben, ya sometimes my monitor doesn't cooperate with me. i really see dirt in there.... nice texturing by the way... update:thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 05:04 PM (

This is my WIP on creating the pilot to my walker. I decided to use Silo to create him, then import him into Maya. I also went for a posed model rather then a rigged model. Wanted the modeled detail without the extra steps of bones etc.

Silo had a lot of cool features and was impressed with the speed, but I did an experiment with exporting and I think the demo wouldn't allow me to export too high of a model. So I exported early, as well I was missing a few Maya tools that I couldn't do without.

The overall form and folds are based off of my own, as I sat modeling him. I also learnt a few what not to do's, as I made him.

12 December 2004, 05:17 PM
hi there! I must say that you have nice stuff here:thumbsup: I like your work, the model of the pilot is great. I would only advice to tighten the area around his eyes and eyebrows more... to emphasize the feeling fo drama. He would look more emotional. You made a big step from your last update, I can't wait to see the next one
I'll be back:twisted:

12 December 2004, 05:22 PM
what a face ! great model all around !

12 December 2004, 05:28 PM
you give a very good expression to your character:thumbsup:
your concept seems good

good luck

12 December 2004, 06:00 PM
Nice work! I like that you're mixing spaceships and characters, and your character has a great expression. keep going! :thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 04:39 PM (

These vines are again modeled in Maya. I wanted to go with something that had a nice siluete, so I went a little higher poly.

I first modeled the overall shape extruding a loop the length of a curve. I then smoothed the sections closest to the camera, used the sculpt surfaces tool to pull out the bulges referenced from my image map. I smoothed a smaller section again, sculpt then repeated again to get vein like surfaces. To get the finer bumps I created a bump map based off of my texture map.

I then added the walker and sized the vines the match the walker. I wanted an infestation of walkers giving a similar feel to crabs. I have all the crabs in the scene but have to turn off six due to rendering time. I still might have to go in and optimize them based on distance from the camera to save poly count.

12 December 2004, 04:28 PM (

This is just a test to see what the lighting will look like on the vines. I still have yet to put in a stary background etc.

12 December 2004, 04:01 AM (

Due to my computer not able to render the whole scene I had to seperate it into rendered layers and join them together to get this. I've changed the layout of my scene a bit from the original sketch, but I didn't want to loose some of the detail if I pulled the camera back to fit the sketch layout. As well I hope it will add a little mystery as to what they're shootin at, and allow me to render in time.

12 December 2004, 06:24 PM
Hi neble,

greate concept you have there. I like the idea of your robot spiders :applause: Just one little note... your vine texture looks a bit funny. Not really rock and not really organic. What did you have in mind for the final look?

12 December 2004, 08:55 PM
That's a great looking character: well modelled and posed in an interesting position with a great facial expression. the vines look more fleshy to me than plant like. was that your intention? keep going!

12 December 2004, 03:29 PM
Glad you asked about the vines. I was actually trying to go for a sorta fleshy alien-like material, little different then a typical vine. I also chose the color to keep the viewer from associating it to strongly to a specific earth like material.

01 January 2005, 08:20 AM (

I've never had such a hard time rendering. At first I tried to render the whole scene, but couldn't do it due to page faults? So I bought more RAM, didn't work, cut up the scene into pieces didn't work. Finally seperated the main scene into multiple scenes based on foreground, mid and background then lasso rendered each image. Just finished comping them all together in Photoshop.
This is getting close I think, but crits would be welcome.

01 January 2005, 01:35 PM
this is coming out very nice. :)! how about a speculiar map to give it an alien and oily feel, but if u want to keep it mate i thinks then it is good this way.

those machines are great and the humanoid models too:thumbsup:!

01 January 2005, 06:54 PM
The foreground pilot and machine are very well done.

01 January 2005, 08:04 PM
great work! I only think that the stars are too big. I would see more of them and much smaller.

01 January 2005, 05:01 PM (

I've changed the stars a bit, and pulled the further globe down to not pull the eye as much.

I also worked with the closest walker's smokey section to give the idea of smoke in front of bright lights and toned down the glow on the front lights to not draw as much attention.

Not much done in Photoshop besides compositing.

01 January 2005, 05:21 PM
good job so far! but do u render vines and mech in seperate layer? it' seem there are no shadow and light from orange laser contact to the vines , maybe u can add it for more dynamic,
good luck !

01 January 2005, 05:28 PM
The forground plane is perfect(the bot and the guy)
The middle is ok(maybe too gray)
but tha background ....I don`t like it much. Try to make it more contrast against the forground.
maybe a galaxy, vortex, something....

01 January 2005, 06:51 PM
That's what I love about critiques, someone always finds something you didn't think of first.

monsitj - totally correct on the laser light thing. I have a number of lights at the laser begining, but they're not throwing enough light on the right vine. Having more lights along the laser path, will end up blowing the glow too high. I'll find a solution though.

As for the shadows, they're all there, but due to the number of lights and the position of the camera, they're not showing up too dramatically.

I didn't render the vines seperate from the mechs, instead rendered seperately foreground, mid and back included with the vines. Then took the alphas for each and used them for masking in Photoshop with some editing of the alpha.

Darkone2652 - thanks for the comments. I considered making the background more elaberate, but I'm really trying to avoid having the background draw too much attention. I even deliberately toned down the background elements, so when I squint they almost fade out. I do see your point though and will experiment with some very faint background elements, ...of course out of focus. :)

arturro - hope the stars look better. :)

igorstshirts - thanks I hope the background will be more for your liking.

yunisirees - I figured oily and specular would end up drawing too much attention to it.

01 January 2005, 01:10 PM (

I was looking at my last image and I felt it wasn't doing enough for me. I always loved the widescreen look, so I went back in and tried to frame the most important parts better. I'm a lot more pleased with this look, but would love to hear some critiques before I submit.

01 January 2005, 01:31 PM
I think that the tentacles, the brown thing, have a low detail, or low resolution texture on it.

01 January 2005, 11:09 PM
i personally like previous (no widescreen) version better. not because i do not like widescreen but there (in prev. vers) is more sense of environment. now i feel like looking throug keyhole,
see some action but dont know what it is about (or where). in my opinion more colors and brighter (maybe in homeworld way) space background may add some depth. and gentle fog can help too. anyway, cool vehicles and overal idea, i like that kind of stuff. good luck

01 January 2005, 12:00 AM
I think you have a chance to win... The contrast and composition is fine. The opposition invader is the only thing missing to give the full story as to what's goping on... I know it might be too late but... Maybe just one bad guy sneaking up on these soldiers from behind could finish off the "story" of this pic. Maybe a reflection of the bad guys in the dome of the blaster vehicles could be pulled off in time. This is one of my favs so far. Good luck.

01 January 2005, 12:51 AM
Like the widescreen trim, it seems to add a little more focus to the firing pod in the foreground. Looks like you're about there, well done.

01 January 2005, 06:28 AM (

A friend recomending rotating the closest walker so it's shooting towards the camera more. I thought I would give a go and see if will add a little more energy. Any crits?

01 January 2005, 11:46 PM
the last one have perfect vision , like it.look like movie poster.

01 January 2005, 05:21 AM (

Just added some minor changes to the back planet so it doesn't stand out so much. Might experiment a little further, but should probably submit my final before the deadline.

01 January 2005, 08:31 PM
Excellent image :buttrock: Great work here. Love the detail in your ships. This one really caught my eye. Good luck. :applause:

01 January 2005, 06:33 PM
Hey Elben,

Your image is very nice, high quality stuff and its very accessible image.
Good luck .

01 January 2005, 06:58 PM
great work! great facial expressions, and great machinery. :applause:

01 January 2005, 10:48 AM
I really like how you solved that "glass problem", with all that care on details. Excellent image.

Good Luck!



01 January 2005, 07:50 PM
just wanted to let you know that I voted for your image :bowdown: There is a great amount of energize in here...

01 January 2005, 04:58 PM
Thanks everyone. I tried a couple more experiments on position but nothing had as much impact as my final layout.
Win or not, this challenge was a great learning experience. This was almost a flip side to building worlds on Metroid, high poly to low poly.

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