View Full Version : Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Shaun Williams

04 April 2008, 10:55 PM
Shaun Williams is entered in the "Uplift Universe Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: Final? (

04 April 2008, 11:19 PM (

I would like to start this first challenge of mine with this alien character concept pen sketch. I haven't conceptualized aliens for quite some time, so this has been exciting. These are very humaniod of course, with more emphasis on wardrobe. My other character concepts will most likely venture out from this, but here is a start .

04 April 2008, 11:35 PM (

This sketch was my first design possibility with human riders on alien creatures. The idea is a landscape of massive trees that curve up and stretch out into the sky. The alien civilization takes advantage of both the shade of the tree and the trunk, building their cities right onto it for safety and resources. I liked the idea of the two sun design, only the atmosphere is a little too barren. I would add some life to that. Otherwise I want the characters are a little closer, more personal, to get a good alien/human story.

04 April 2008, 07:02 AM (

This idea is again humans that ride on some kind of alien species. I still need to find some kind of great story to have them interact in...till then various designs and concepts. But soon...soon.

04 April 2008, 06:27 PM
I like your #3 post's composition. It has a nice expansive look to it, very grandiose. I probably spelled that wrong, but you get the point.LOL Anyways your creature designs look great. Good luck and can't wait to see more.

04 April 2008, 12:09 AM (

This guy started looking like Dracula when I began his sketch, but after adding some clothing, and some feathers instead of batwings, he started to look more to my liking. I figured since he was a flyer, I would give him a kind of modified bomber jacket look. I'm not sure I like the feathers on his head, I think I would rather incorporate fur and feathers together in this character, but this is good. I also have thought of taking this design, and making a robotic version. So, maybe this is the idea of a bird/reptile uplift idea. One more thing with this guy is that I wanted to have an old grandpa-ish character, a real old and grizzled veteran type with determination and a grin to take care of the young pups. :)

04 April 2008, 06:50 PM (

So, I have been working on a setting to have characters in, and have these two that I think I want to work from. I was thinking of having the flying alien in this too, possibly 3, 1 sitting on the tree root and 2 others surveying from the air. I am fiddling with the idea of what they are searching for being the two guys from the first character sketch I did...but making the alien in the front of that one a human instead. They could possibly be hiding around the corner of the tree root if I beef up the foliage under/around/behind it. The two ideas of the backgrounds are: an old ancient ruin of a great alien wall, or a beautiful city in the backgound. The ruins are kinda flat, while the city has some perspective...I'm kinda torn. Plus I would do a lot to it to add trees and foliage here and there. Any critiques are welcome! :)

04 April 2008, 01:46 AM
The first proposal seems a bit loaded thought! I prefer the second set-up which breathes more and leaves moreplace for the characters. Keep going I'm eager to se the final result!;)

04 April 2008, 03:40 PM
Your pen sketches are truly great! It shows that you have high confidence in your lines. I have yet to master my pen sketches!

Your latest concept depicting humans riding on the aliens, I feel that the aliens look like they do not really like having humans sit on them like that. They look like intelligent beings and do not tolerate human domination. But that's just my thoughts.

Again, I want to say I like your pen sketches very much! Looking forward to your next stage!

04 April 2008, 08:12 PM (

So now I have combined parts of the last couple images together, enlarged the creature/aliens on the left, made the format a 24x36 landscape, and figured a loose idea for a story. This setting is an ancient alien ruin. One human is being chased by the others. Either the alien wall behind them is a sort of old prison which he escaped from, or it is an archaeological site- and in Indiana Jones fashion he has stolen an artifact to the dismay of the others. There is an air and ground search party for him regardless so far. Perhaps they are space pirates searching for lost treasures of millenia past. It will come together fairly soon I hope. The winged characters will be redrawn completely to better communicate their body language. The hiding human will be changed too. Any critiques and comments are welcome. And thanks to all of you who have commented and given encouragement. Thanks to sasquatch70, LorMout, and jeromoo. That is the best part of being involved with these challenges, next to creating art we all love and admire.

04 April 2008, 08:42 PM
Nice concept! I like that you have two different kinds of aliens, not just one. One area I'm finding hard to read: the himans on their alien mounts in the lower left... or is it mount? Even in the close-up, it's hard to tell whether each human is on a different creature or whether they are all on one creature with a wide back. It looks more like the latter, but if it's supposed to be more than one creature, you might want to add another head in there to make it more clear. Good luck! :thumbsup:

04 April 2008, 10:38 PM (

So I will make some adjustments as I go of course, and this is just the finalization of the drawing stage. I have placed a value layer underneath the drawing layer to balance the details a bit with the whole feel of the piece. The blue line is the part which I have not committed to yet. Time is a tickin', but I'm not giving up.

04 April 2008, 07:07 AM (

I know this is a step back, but a friend of mine looked at the previous composition and suggested focusing more on the big alien creature and the hidden human. That way it isn't about the landscape, but the interaction of the characters. This was a real quick recomposite of the previous image elements...and a few left out. Tell me what you think. :)

04 April 2008, 11:55 AM
its such a great drawing style! good to see you in the contest...can't wait to see more... keep em goin' !
Peter :applause:

04 April 2008, 11:57 AM
btw I think the closer look is improving...

04 April 2008, 02:36 PM
The new direction you are taking is really good! I like it better than the mount version. Here we can see some real threat from the alien. The background really helps to set an exciting platform for this encounter. I suggest making the human look over his shoulder in fear, as though expecting the alien to find him anytime soon.

Once again, your line art is very strong! Will you be painting soon?

04 April 2008, 06:27 PM
The sketch is nice,The idea is very interesting.Good luck

04 April 2008, 08:00 PM
Excellent. Simplifying this peice will move it along too. It's always good to get these decisions made before the paint goes down. It still takes guts though. Thanks for the encouragement! I still want another way to tie the characters into the background element, but for now I will just bring the drawing down to the big guy, redraw his arms right, and refine the foreground...then get the human gesture and emotion right. Honestly I want to paint right now, but first things first. I have been drawing more than painting in the last 6 months, so this will challenge my painting skills :) Here I go!

04 April 2008, 08:18 PM
Really nice sketch and composition, it made me think of the screenshots from KingKong. Looking forward for the updates!

04 April 2008, 09:54 PM
go ahead maze, can,t wait to see more. Its such agood idea in style

04 April 2008, 09:03 PM
Two weeks and 3 computers later, I can get things done a little faster I hope!
Besides several crashes, Photoshop will not run at all on my Tower anymore, so I am borrowing my wife's laptop to do the job. It actaully is much more capable than my tower anyway :) So, at the end of this discouraging line up, I am working on it again.

04 April 2008, 05:48 AM (

so this marks the finish of the design stage, which I have even modified with underlying value and lighter line value in places as well. I made the character in the hole two humans hiding from the big alien...for some reason. Also,I added a ship on the top left that either the humans or the alien landed in, who knows at this point. And I have no idea how they got down from it up there either. The ship may have to go. Anyway, this couple can hear the alien, and the man will protect her. I hope the image is good enough quality to see their body language. Congrats to all of you who are already done! :)

04 April 2008, 06:11 AM
Hey Shaun,

I think your definately heading in the right direction with post #13. It shows more drama, and tension in your scene. the focus is now definately on your characters. Awesome illustration by the way.

04 April 2008, 09:51 AM
I would really like to see you refine the sketch from post 3. Nice slick sketches Shaun. I am looking foward to this entry. What you have going is also good. :thumbsup:

04 April 2008, 07:02 PM
I really liked the #3 post as well, but decided on an idea that was closer to the characters to show the alien and human interaction. I do intend to refine it later, and possibly paint it, but that will have to wait. :) I really appreciate everyones comments!

04 April 2008, 04:39 AM
This looks good, Shaun! Very close into the characters so that they all read well. I like the fact that the big alien has clothes on, whcih makes him more intelligent than just a big monster. My only vague suggestion would be to extend the canvas higher at the top and maybe a bit at the bottom. not important areas, but it would make it closer to traditional book-cover dimensions. Right now it feels a little boxy, and making a clear commitment to a vertical orientation might be nice... but just a subjective opinion, I don't have any strong reasons I can put my finger on why I think that would be better, I just do. :shrug:
anyhow, get coloring, you don't have much time! Good luck!

04 April 2008, 08:42 AM (

I have added to the bottom and top of the image to make the format 16x24 instead of 16x20, which is more like a 6x9 book cover format. Thanks to Walrus for that advice! :) This of course shows color without the line at all. Very simple. I added the "glowing" flowers to act as a simple little light source to bring the humans into focus. I am still not sure about the space ship on the upper left. I am happy to be painting now, but normally would take the time to do more color comps. I chose glowing flowers because they are naturally occurring so as not to give away the humans like a lantern or glowing gadget. I think I added the spaceship because I thought my piece lacked a Sci-Fi Alien/human element. I worry that it looks to too magic and fantasy, like a magical creature and humans. I'm not sure what to do to correct this feeling, so I have gone ahead as the images show. I am desperately working on a story idea for this as it has changed drastically from the "search" it was back in its horizontal stages. Time to crank it out! Thanks for all the great critiques and comments!

05 May 2008, 05:08 AM (

This now is the refining of the basic color decision. Short on time I'm running with this as it is. I hope to solve any value/form issues as well as depth/focus ones along the way. Again the idea is really simple at this point, the big alien is looking for the two humans...who for some reason do not want to be found. If something jumps out at you feel free to share it, story wise, composition, or other. I'm so glad to be working on a machine now that can handle this project even though it is running late in the challenge. Gotta paint, till later!

05 May 2008, 03:43 AM
I like the idea of the glowing plants. But then it makes hiding there a rather poor choice for the humans. Looking at your gorgeous lineart previously, I was hoping that you'll make it more comic style than painting. Don't waste your nice lines! Its perfect for comic style and you will be able to make the final look more complete and professional within this very short deadline. But that's just me. All the best, Shaun!

05 May 2008, 05:47 AM (

This image is the progress so far. I have the background painted in though not finalized, and I have begun the big aliens face. The next image I am submitting has the original line art carefully overlayed, but again not refined.

05 May 2008, 06:04 AM (

As I noted in the previous post, this is the image with the original line work overlayed with colorization. It is by no means a refined linear overlay, but I took the suggestion from Jeromoo to see what it would look like. Jeromoo, I am not sure it is what you were looking for, since I did not paint the image thus far to be a compliment to my line work. I have done a good portion of line work, but I have usually utilized them to help me paint and not to use in the final image. The line itself wasn't very refined, although I made it quite intricate and clear. I imagine this is ridiculously odd and strange to hear, so for those who are seeing these comparisons, let me know what you think. :) So, thank you Jeromoo for the suggestion. Lets see how this works. :)

05 May 2008, 11:39 PM (

this is a first close up of developing detail for the big alien. painting away!

05 May 2008, 07:31 PM
I think the colored line-art looks very nice :) I hope you will keep it in the final. The story in this picture tells me, that these two humans soon will end up being the aliens dinner.

05 May 2008, 08:06 PM
Go with whichever one you feel comfortable painting. Also, it doesn't have to be an eitehr/or choice: Split the difference, and keep the stronger line art on the foreground figures and then erase it or make it more subtly-colored when you get to the background. I don't think it helps for the giant pillars/waterfall area or the mountian in the distance. Or just erase it as you go, depending on where you need it or not. I keep a lot of my outlines but find lots of palces on a character's interior where I want to get more subtle and end up erasing out the line art in spots.

05 May 2008, 03:09 PM
Hi Shaun, sorry for not making myself clearer earlier. When I saw your line art, I was imagining the style of Charles Vess ( He balanced between line art and painting to great effect. So I assume you will be going down this same route. But when I looked at your sky and mountains, they are really beautifully painted without the line art. So, please scratch out my previous comments and go along with what your mind has originally intended. My apologies for making you stray from your path within this very tight deadline. I hope you do finish this in time! Keep going, Shaun!

05 May 2008, 09:09 PM
No problem, Jeromoo. I looked at the work from the link. I can see what you meant and that is great work. Thanks for the link. As you mentioned I plan on doing the rest the way I did the sky and background. Time is of course pressing, so here I go. Back to painting. :)

05 May 2008, 01:28 AM
Gobsmacking! Where has this been hiding? The colours are beautiful, the composition is very effective and the alien design rocks. No crits whatsoever. :)

05 May 2008, 06:48 AM (

As it nears the end of the time frame for this challenge, I get so excited about seeing all the work done for the challenge by other entrants. How I wish I had begun sooner myself, but enough of that. I now have the foreground in the stage where I can really see what is working, and what is not. This is where form and value take some troubleshooting time for me. The big guy is close. Some lighting changes will occur, as well as the decisions on the mist and how that affects him. The mist itself is still in its simple block-in stage. I feel the "moss" or "greenery" on the root is a bit generic and less effective than it could be with more time. I think this of course will be sacrifice for now, while I will be considering what type of flower form to create and surround with greenery. The Humans will be given special care, but not so much as to completely unbalance the piece. Anyway, many problems to fix. Thanks for all the helpful hints, professional critiques, and honest interest in my work. This has been a real pleasure to be a part of regardless of shortcomings along the way and end results to come. Till next post!
As a professor of min once said:
"Just think, if you never had to sleep, what you could do with that extra 2 hours every day!"
Along with the old college days mantra of: "Whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whatever it takes!"
And also: "What? Pizza? Man, I had no idea, but I'm Starving!" :)

05 May 2008, 07:07 AM
Hey Shaun, really great image. Like a lot the scenario and enviroment on your concept, great feeling on it! The palette colors are working really well. Waiting for more updates (and hope you aren't still waiting for the pizza :D) Cheers mate :beer: <-- really good with pizza :D

05 May 2008, 06:21 AM (

I figured I would give another detail. I've lost a little bit of time from taking my wife to the doctor for kidney stones, but I will achieve some level of finish. It just won't be what I had fully intended. Thank you all again for your comments, encouragement, and your own inspiring pieces you have entered.

05 May 2008, 03:47 PM
Wow missed this little Gem! Great progress here, I'm impressed!

05 May 2008, 12:02 AM (

This is the humans so far. The original drawing had the girls head too small, so this is a bit bigger. As you can see, I have yet to do the man's hand and the ground cover. From the finished ground cover and the glowing flower's lighting effect, I can rethink and refine the lighting on all the objects. Also, I have adjusted the topmost mountain to be a touch darker at the top and have less blue so that it doesn't vibrate against the dark sky as much. Another thing, what would the big guys eyes look like with a bit of a glow...not like high-beams of a car lights, but having a feel that they "eminate" ? might try it on another layer. Oooh, 5 days, wish me luck! :)

05 May 2008, 12:07 AM
Obviously I wish I could bring this level of detail to the whole image. I will endeavor to balance the rest of the image with the level of detail on the humans. Hope the expressions are going in the right direction. I will change them after the challenge though :)
More to come. Good luck everyone, I would comment more, only I am outta time. Sorry guys. Thanks to those who comment here. Later.

05 May 2008, 12:17 AM
Looking good in general, Shaun! My main comment would be on the female character. She's looking awfully masculine in the face. It could be the slightly squared-off jawline, the large undainty nose, the heavy brow, or the eyes - or more likely a combination of those factors - that made me think it was a male and not a female in the back there. A few tweaks in those areas could help. Good luck!

05 May 2008, 05:23 AM (

A hefty thanks to Walrus for the heads up on the female head looking too much like a guy...I hope this is much better. It was the unfortunate result of getting in too big of a rush. And not spending the time to get reference makes it difficult to pull a great figure out of my head. Anyhow, now for the rest of the ground foliage. It feels like it is coming together now. Much to be done and adjusted, but I feel better.

05 May 2008, 05:37 AM
Really impressive work, Shawn! Great sketches and concepts and the (almost) final art looks very nice too :)

I like the alien and the ruins in the background.



05 May 2008, 06:15 AM (

What a challenge this has been! Surely there is much more detail I could go into, but I must hold back a bit for time...and mothers day. Some touch ups are needed after a good nights sleep to come back and look at it afresh. SO, ANY comments and critiques are more than welcome. I made the big alien's eyes have a sort of glow and mist about them. It would be easy to remove, but I thought I would try it. The flowers and leaves growing up around them are simple, but effective. I will post an second image with the reference lighting image that I utilized. Now, also, it is time to round up a good final story to place with this. Wish me luck. As always, thanks for the support and enthusiasm.

05 May 2008, 06:38 AM (

This is the only reference image I used for color and somewhat of a feel to the time of day. Thanks to some friends for helping me find it. :) I am glad to be so close to finishing. I will accredit the big alien to mulling over childhood memories of "The Dark Crystal" and the mystic characters in it. The ruins are referenced from my own work on my blog at sketches 5 and 10 respectively. Normally I would have shot photo referenced for the characters, but this time I did not, so there isn't any need to credit that. All other credit I give to the many other artists here on CGSociety for their inspirational work, and my good friends...and my very patient wife and children. Thank you all.

05 May 2008, 06:42 AM
To state clearly, I am grateful for the image of the sunset, though it is not my photo. I credit the brilliant photographer wherever and whoever you are and thank you for your inspiration.

05 May 2008, 07:02 AM (

by suggestion of a friend he wanted to see this big guy without the glowing eyes. So, here it is without. :)

05 May 2008, 10:01 AM (

I want this to be the final so far. I still need the story that makes sense with this image. Time is a tickin', and I'm a thinkin". :)
Partly the story I have been working on is like this:
The treacherous alien bodyguard of the princess, paid off to change the course of thier return home and place her in
the hands of his employer, lands the ship at the remote world to rondeveau. Arriving at the transport room they find
they were followed by the princess's most loyal human bodyguard. He escaped the slaughter the traitor laid for the
other gaurds. Knowing the best means of exiting the ship, he uses the transport rooms security contaiment field to
separate the traitor from the princess at just the right moment. Then transporting down to the planet to escape, not knowing who else on the ship can be trusted, they run to find help. Trapped for only a short time in the
containment field of the ships transport security room, the Alien traitor breaks free. Amid the ruins of the ancient
civilization, where is there to run? They can only hope the traitor was trapped long enough to give them a sure head start. Off in the distance they see lights, and taking the chance to see if there is someone there who can help them
they run for it. To thier dismay, they find only native flowers that glow in the night. Their hopes of civilization must be farther away. And worst of all, the traitor will be thinking the same thing. There isn't much time to rest. They need to find someone to help. They may only find the one who paid to have the princess kidnapped? And thier pursuer may be upon them already!

Well, that is a start. Not much at telling stories in such a short amount of time, or much at making them at all. I hope to have a better plot without holes later, but for now I hope this will do. :)

05 May 2008, 04:16 AM
A huge thanks to Jeromoo and Walrus, and also to LordMout, sasquatch70, beelow, neudecker, Lizhu, Donglu-LittleFish, MartinNeilsen, GaeasHerald, Ferx, dustbin1uk, HornlessUnicorn, and any other I may have missed. Thanks to all who viewed my work and I hope you enjoyed it! This has been a very positive experience. I hope to participate more often in these challenges. Also I will hopefully make time to return more comments to those of you whose works I saw and better support you. Till next time! Take care. Shaun Williams

05 May 2008, 06:31 AM
Hey Shaun,

I love the concept, and style, amazing work, good luck! :beer:

05 May 2008, 08:23 AM
Well done sir! A very nice image and one the Judges will certainly consider well.



05 May 2008, 03:11 PM
Thank you Jupy and dustbin1uk. There are many great images in this challenge. I am grateful to have been included with them. We will see how this turns out. Best of luck to everyone!

05 May 2008, 07:49 PM
Congrats on finishing, Shaun. Very styriking image you have here - beautiful secondary-color palette, interesting setting, and a reelly fun alien (in a scary kind of way). Nice work, and best of luck to you in the judging. :thumbsup:

05 May 2008, 08:02 PM
Congratulations on finishing - very beautifull image!:applause:

The best of luck to you, Shaun :)


05 May 2008, 07:14 AM
This is an excellent entry. Nice :)

05 May 2008, 01:51 AM
Thank you everyone! And when do we find out who won, or maybe I should ask, How do we know? I imagine it is probably after all the video judging is included in the whole. Anyway, I am excited to see who gets what and to see how this works out. If any of you know any other cool contests I could enter, just let me know K. Thanks again! :)

05 May 2008, 03:37 AM
Hey Shaun, love your final image, realy like the great mood on it. A really fantastic enviroment!! :thumbsup: The suspense on the image is beautiful achived and great design for the alien. A totally awesome artwork mate! Congratulations for this superb image!! Best of luck and time for a relax with a well deserved cold beer :D Cheers mate!! :beer:

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