View Full Version : Grand Space Opera 3D Entry: George Baltatzis

11 November 2004, 02:42 AM
George Baltatzis has entered the Grand Space Opera 3D.

Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Rendering: Building04 (

I think I have finally came up with a certain style for the colours and the design of the buildings.

I am trying to keep the designs varied, but faithful to this style now.

11 November 2004, 04:14 AM
Hi everybody!

This is my first attempt on a CG challenge and I'm hoping that we all share our knowledge, so that by the time the challenge is over, we will all be a little wiser.

The concept behind the image I plan to produce, comes from a story I've been contemplating in my mind for quite a while. I won't tire you with every single detail (I'm changing them all the time in my head anyway), but rather focus on the general scope and the event described in the to-be produced image.

P.S. I'm fairly fluent in English, but it's not my native language, so please excuse any grammatical error, or use of "strange vocabulary" here and there.


When the ecosystem of our planet was destroyed, the humans had to devise ways to dissociate themselves from mother nature, and become self-sufficient in order to survive. They managed to find ways to create artificial raw materials and soon, they built massive cities, protected inside domes of strong glass. These cities alienated themeselves so much from their surroundings, that in the and all comunications among them were disrupted, and each of them remained in complete solitude with the outside world.

We are in one of these cities. The fear of the outside has been more and more exaggerated in the minds of its civillians in every passing generation. Everything beyond the glass dome is considered a threat. Nature itself, is a dreaded legend of a powerful enemy of humanity. These great fears could only be redeemed by a sense of control. Starting by relatively simple measures centuries ago, such as observing citizens at all times and controlling the wweather conditions inside the dome, the insatiable need for control finally led to such extreme measures such as manipulating the human mind, and in the end, trying to take the next step in human evolution by DNA manipulation.

These new, evolved humans are super-strong, super-smart, and they don't suffer by the emotional and ethical illusions that the human race has been plagued by since its creation. But then, something completely irrational happened, something totally uncontrolled that nobody could except. The prototypes of the evolved humans, a male and a female, gained consciousness prematurely, apparently by stange dreams of freedom (though nobody knows or can guess that).

After escaping the labs were they were being held - as well as many other adventures in the city (there's too much stuff going on in there and I wouln't want to bore you to tears), they managed to reach the citie's limits, only to realize that it is surrounded by a dome of unbreakable glass, and all their efforts were in vain (no, that's not how the story ends).


I would like to try and capture this last scene in the image I plan to create. I chose this particular scene, because I believe that, while remaining faithful to the grand opera theme with the glass dome and the post-apocalyptic futuristic city, it can also have a heart if properly executed, showing the emotion and desperation of the human prototypes, as they struggle to break free from the control of the city and run back to nature where they feel they belong.


Well, that sums it all up. Feel free to drop me a line on your thoughts about the concept, or just come by and say hi. I am starting today with some rough concept drawings and compositions, so I'll be sure to keep you posted when I have something ready.

Good luck to everyone!

11 November 2004, 04:28 AM (

The male prototype's power lies mainly in his raw strength, while the female's lies mostly in speed and flexibility. The one completes the other, and so, together they were supposed to form the evolution "the perfect human".

These is roughly how the prototypes are gonna look. I was considering making some of their body parts mechanical, but I think that would distract from the humane elements I want to be attributed to them.

Maybe something less meaningful, such as blue hair, could serve a similar purpose without spoiling the prototype's concept.

11 November 2004, 05:11 AM
"...showing the emotion and desperation of the human prototypes, as they struggle to break free from the control of the city and run back to nature where they feel they belong."
Your story is an interesting blend of "Logan's Run" meets "THX-1138" meets "Grafos." Good luck to you as well.


11 November 2004, 05:33 AM
Interesting story, for sure. But I think you need to aim for "bigger" imagery here. This is not really a character challenge. Think vast cities, vast solar systems, vast whatever. It has to be really, really big.

Good luck!


11 November 2004, 01:30 PM
Daniel McMillan: Thanks for your comments. I haven't seen either of the movies you mention (though I have read about THX being George Lucas' first movie), but the trends in modern societies has been inspiring many stories of bleak futures in literature and cinema, so I am not really surprised by any resemblance.

vrf: Thanks for the advice. There will be a massive futuristic city behind the characters, so I hope I will remain faithfull to the Grand Space Opera theme.

11 November 2004, 01:34 PM
Another Greek 3d nut here...have fun and good luck my friend... :bounce:

I would also suggest to think more the concept...think massive and more than just a city behind ...think something dramatic like the Battle of the Clones (starwars) ....

i will be following your thread friend ...good luck. :wip: :bounce:

11 November 2004, 01:37 PM (

This is how the scene will more or less look. The orange thing in the background is the city, but I didn't sketch it in detail, as I am still making styllistic decisions about it.

11 November 2004, 02:09 PM
Thanks for your kind words Dimitris, really nice to see another Greek in the Challenge.

I see the point you raise with my concept. Moments after this scene, there is a big explosion in the city in the background, and after that a crack in the glass wall by a strong punch! The reason I didn't go for these scenes instead, is that I fell they are more about pyrotechnics than emotion, something I usually try to avoid.

It's always risky to debate on Star Wars, but here goes. I find the "I am your father" scene in The Empire Strikes Back a lot more dramatic than the Battle Arena in Clone Wars, which I thought was reminiscent of a Christmas tree with all those colourful light sabers sparsed everyhere (don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad film at all). Even as a still image, Darth Vader trying to lure his son into the dark side as he is standing above this huge void, is I believe a lot stronger concept than a couple of monsters, robots, droids, Jedi Knights an ex-queen and a bounty hunter, kicking each others butt in a huge arena.

But maybe you are right, maybe Grand Space Opera means more pyrotechnics than emotion, so if I find the scene inadequate as I progress, I will move it some moments later with all the required explosions and punches:D.

11 November 2004, 02:28 PM
Hey there Grafos! I've read your storyline some days now but wasn't sure on where you were heading.

Seeing your concepts (especially the last one) I can clearly see your direction. Agree with Dimitris (Geia xara Lord Bubble!:wavey:) at some point, massive civilization spread all over the image, but I would head for pyrotechnics. This massiveness can be expressed with various more emotional and iconic ways: expressing the differences of out vs. in world, tidy, in perfect order, MASSIVE, unatural civilization to natural, flowing, alive, randow nature (that's what I foreshow in your last concept by the way!). Those are just some personal thoughts on your concept, hope I helped a little.

In any way welcome aboard mate!! Wishing you the best, fellow greek!:bounce::bounce:

11 November 2004, 03:04 PM
Geia stin omorfi Patra!

I am glad the last concept image cleared things up about what I have in my mind, you mostly got it right!

Comments and suggestions by everyone are being taken into considerations. Meditate on these... I will.

Meanwhile, I have started doing the fun stuff:bounce:, modelling the male prototype. I'll keep you posted as soon as I have something ready (or maybe half ready:D).

11 November 2004, 01:19 AM
I totally agree about the Empire Strikes Back being a far better movie, better scripted, etc than the Clone War Thingy. But that tense, emotional moment in Empire succeeded because of all of the story in front of it. This challenge basically limits you to one still image--with no 60 min story in front of it to back it up. So, in that regard, Dimitris's advice is sound. The image needs to be HUGE.


11 November 2004, 12:30 AM
I understand what you mean, both you, Dimitris and everyone else are making a valid point here. I would just like to try and see if I can make the image effective enough as it is, with the vasness of the city and the contradiction to the nature outside, without the need for explosions and images of conflict.

If I see I cannot do it, I will try and change my direction. We'll see as the work evolves.

11 November 2004, 01:04 PM
Wellcome aboard George. Have fun. Xairomai pou vlepw ki allon Ellhna sto diagwnismo:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

12 December 2004, 02:42 AM (

Low Polygon Head Wireframe

12 December 2004, 02:48 AM (

Head In High Poly Shaded Mode

12 December 2004, 02:53 AM (

Low Poly Head from the side view

12 December 2004, 02:55 AM (

Smoothed out, Shaded side view of the head

12 December 2004, 03:00 AM (

Head and Body from the front in Low Poly

12 December 2004, 03:07 AM (

From the back

12 December 2004, 03:12 AM (

...shaded from the front...

12 December 2004, 03:15 AM (

...and from the back.

12 December 2004, 03:49 AM
I'm back!

Sorry for not posting for quite awhile. I have moved to Melbourne for a month now (quite a trip from Crete, especially with a full Lian Li ATX in my suitcase) and it was difficult to arrange an internet connection in the place I'm staying. I finally managed to do so today, hence the update.

As you have probably noticed, I'm using edge loops on my model. I know this subject has been debated extensively in the past, and that some proffessionals are now moving away from this techniques, but most of them still do use it. Any thoughts on advantages/disantvantages?

Another thing I'm considering is the head. It's the first time I haven't attached it to the body, since it's gonna make the file size substantially smaller when creating blendshapes, but the seam between the head and the body is pretty noticable. Any ideas on effective ways to smooth it out/hide it?

One more issue I would like to raise is the smoothing techniques. I used to go with SubD's, as the whole industry seems to have shifted to those, but I found Maya's Poly Proxy Smoothing to be far mor elegant. Polygons are a lot less buggy and support all sorts of stuff, be it paint FX on Poly, 3d painting (I think you can do that now with SubD's as well?), multiple UV sets, dynamics, external plug-ins etc. I have raised this question in a Maya thread here on CGTalk a couple of months ago, and many people seemed to agree that Poly Proxy is their method of choice. The industry trend seems to indicate differently though. Any thought on that?

Feel free to write your thoughts on these issues, as well as on the model so far (except for that stretching on the neck, noticable in the side view - I'm on to it). I shall be offline again (yes, I know), for about two weeks, since I'm going to Tazzie for Christmas, but I' ll get back to you on any comments, as soon as I return to Melbourne (where I'll be staying untill the end of the Challenge). I know I should have been presenting a vast cityscape by now, but with all the moving around the world lately, it's been hard to keep a faster pace.


01 January 2005, 07:06 AM (

This is a render of a building I've been working on lately. I'm using G.I. Joe instead of actual FG/Radiosity lighting for speed reasons, but it' s significantly slower to render to what I had anticipated.

I will probably put as detailed buildings in the foreground, and create some really simple for the background. Hopefully this will work when compositing.

01 January 2005, 09:30 AM
Very nicely done on the lighting effects on that building. It looks nice. Having just spent hours on a human head and buildings myself... I feel ya on the GI/R!

01 January 2005, 04:24 PM
Thank you very much ||) |V| |^| (??????):shrug:, nice to see a soul mate spending hours in the very same stuff I do.

01 January 2005, 04:25 PM (

Another render of a building for the foreground

01 January 2005, 04:28 PM (

and another one...

01 January 2005, 04:35 PM (

I think I have finally came up with a certain style for the colours and the design of the buildings.

I am trying to keep the designs varied, but faithful to this style now.

01 January 2005, 05:20 PM
I am gonna make a few more tommorow and then probably move to try and compose them all together. Hope they won't look like a Christmas tree.

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