View Full Version : Bearer of the Fruit

10 October 2009, 05:44 PM
Updated image.

Hello, I am very new to digital art, and photoshop as well.
I have some background in oil painting, but mostly just sketching with ball point pens.
As this was a learning exercise with photoshop cs2 and a fujitsu tablet with wacom drivers, I just used an old famous photograph for reference and inspiration. I was unable to find the original photographer to give him credit, as the photo has been circulating emails since before 2003 with attached on myths as to what the image is actually of. My apologies regarding that.
I am considering this piece half way done at this point.

I need to refine the clouds.
refine the ocean.
I'm debating as to whether or not I should extend the grass to cover the entire deck.
add small man made structures, possibly yurts on the grass
training soldiers
fallen leaves,
details to the outside of boat

the list goes on, but I'm just wondering if i cant get a few opinions/directions on it thus far.

10 October 2009, 02:30 PM
by the time this got approved it was almost off the front page :(

anywho, here it is :P

10 October 2009, 11:54 PM
Hi and welcome !

I like this so far; so just a few comments:
You have a scale problem with that tree, with the level of detail you have it looks like an ordinary sized tree on a veeerryyy small oil tanker. you'd never be able to see leaves on a tree from this distance. So either really ramp up the detail (e.g how much the branches subdivide), or go for a small forest that you can scale effectively with the other nature elements.

The grass is living, so it should spread logically based on the water supply - most dense close to the river, sparse towards the edges of the boat (salt water spray will of course inhibit growth near the bow and edges of the ship).

Soldiers are a boring cliche; more to the point they don't really fit the emotion of an image that communicates the quiet relentlessness of nature taking over technology.

Hope that helps


10 October 2009, 04:03 PM
Thanks for the very thoughtful tips.

I am reworking the grass now.
I agree on the leaves and tree detail and will try to flatten/atmospherically distort the tree some more.
I'll erase all of the leaves and try to rework the branches to divide more and more until it appears very distant, and take some of the detail from the bark out. Maybe even distort the top to be narrower to really push it up and away from us.

The reason that i was contemplating soldiers training in formation on the deck as tiny dots, was because of the background story of the image. The theme wasn't of nature taking over technology, it was of these individuals trying to keep this awesome force of nature "the tree of life" (bible influenced) away from both man and god. God to be represented by the storm, and man to be a spanish fleet on the right in the distance. If i remove soldiers from the deck, I'll need to add at least canons or some sort of defence, otherwise that theme is lost.
I guess my question now is two part:
1. is that theme worth keeping or should i toss it?
2. if i toss that theme, what is the new theme, nature taking over technology?

it would seem both obvious themes (the one I shared and the nature taking over) are both pretty cliche in their own right.

I'm at a crossroads! :P

10 October 2009, 09:48 PM
started to pull the grass back,
and am reworking the tree, i decided i should treat the limbs more like mountains due to the scale, and that the ones behind would have noticeable atmosphere presence between them and the closer sets.

i may have gotten out of hand on the overall reach of the branches, and of course, still have to get in there and really subdivide the branches finely. I first toyed with a really thick trunk and small limbs... but didn't like it at all. this here is the tree of life!

10 October 2009, 09:49 PM
just realized i need to mute that brown something fierce.
it doesn't show up so strong on my tablet pc, but here on my desktop monitor i can see the colors much more clearly. so i'll need to push that back.

10 October 2009, 02:50 AM

re the themes; yes, both have some cliche to them. The issue with the soldier theme as described is that you have to know the story in advance in order for the image to make sense. I always remember my grade 9 art teacher telling us that if we had to explain an image we hadn't done our job as artists.

The reason I refered to the other theme is that is what I got out of what you painted.

Now with a smaller forest, a community of villages and some change in the background, you could shift the message to a more narrative form (vs the big concept), the idea of the boat as a sanctuary of life in a world that has no room for it anymore. Perhaps because it is polluted, perhaps because new technology and synthetics have made nature irrelevant to people on the land (I was thinking of the movie Silent Running, which shows you just how old I actually am !):scream:



10 October 2009, 05:48 PM
I dont' know anything about creating brushes in photoshop... at all. is there a decent source regardin this info on this forum, i tried to search for photoshop brushes, but came up with a long long list of info. just wondering if anyone had a specific source or tutorial off the top of their head.

10 October 2009, 02:44 AM
Yes, go here, Ms Bergkvist did this back in 2005:

I've made dozens by following this advice, you can make a brush from the simplest scribble. You can learn a lot just by playing with the settings (brush dynamics, other dynamics, dual brush etc) of some of the default brushes. But you know, a lot of pros have 2 or 3 pretty simple brushes they do wonderful work with, it's more about how you use them than anything else.

This might also help - for using textures in photoshop:



10 October 2009, 04:23 PM
Yeah, i agree about the 2 or 3 brushes. I just want to make a few that resemble the strokes that I pull with my oil paints.
Thanks so much for the links. I've done a little work on the painting since last posted, but not enough that I feel posting an update is necessary. After I read these links, i'll get a few brushes made up and dive back in.

10 October 2009, 01:50 AM
I can email you my default set if you like, I use Photoshop CS2. It's pretty basic but I've got some nice brush-y presets.


10 October 2009, 02:04 AM
that'd be much appreciated.

10 October 2009, 05:29 PM
updated the first post with the new image.
I think i need to make the deck a little more painterly. its just blurred to oblivion right now.

10 October 2009, 09:37 PM
Wow I love this concept. I'd like to see some more detail. Perhaps little trees on the bow of the ship!

11 November 2009, 05:00 PM
Alright, back from vacation, i put 3 hours in last night trying to incorporate some massive waterfalls. I looked at photos of iguazu falls for the foreground, and will be referencing angelfalls for the background.

I need to change the shape of the sink hole in the front, extend it further left, shouldn't be a problem at all.

11 November 2009, 05:02 PM
and thanks darcy for the new brushes, as you can see, really helping out with the forest and stuff. kinda broke me out of the 'everything smooth' funk i was getting in.

11 November 2009, 03:29 AM
Glad to see you're still working on it; those waterfalls look really nice ! I still can't help thinking a less bulky tree would fit better, so I mangled your image a tad - feel free to ignore it though !


p.s. don't make your image more than about 700-800 pixels high; otherwise we have to scroll down to see the whole thing :-). This is about 600 pixels:

11 November 2009, 04:51 AM
i see what you're saying, but i feel like the depth of the tree (where it comes towards the viewer up top) will add a lot once i render that out. I can always just shrink it down after i'm done rendering it, but i think right now i'd like to see what kind of feeling i wind up with, with the larger tree.
the old composition just felt like there was too much empty involved.

11 November 2009, 04:53 AM
oh and sorry abuot the image size. my monitor resolution is pretty big so everything fits on the page, I suppose i should keep 1280x1064 in mind.

edit: er 1024. whatever.

11 November 2009, 05:03 AM
i really dig this concept. I actually like the look of the massive tree. has a greater impact to me atleast. hope to see more done soon.

11 November 2009, 05:14 AM

If it goes for me, I can't realize how it's possible that tanker can keep it from sinking into depths with such big tree on back of it. Thats just unbelievable.

Rest is great. I love the sky and storm that's chasing the boat. Waterfalls are also beautiful and the idea that water is coming from tree is fine also.

11 November 2009, 06:24 AM
I don't see how you can be okay with a waterfall coming from a tree, and a ship made of earth and steel, but have a problem with weight issues...
i mean, one could argue displacement to explain why any oil tanker can stay up regardless of weight... but I can't fathom a logical explanation for water coming from a tree.
maybe it's roots take in salt water and purify it and the falls are fresh water?
it's a surreal image through and through, i'm not worried about the physics.

thanks for taking the time to comment though. I dont want to come of as sounding rude. I know there is no intonation button when typing in text. I really do appreciate the time you took.

11 November 2009, 02:25 PM
I didn't get offended at all ;]
It was late night in here when i was typing last reply. Probably I should be more precise in writing my thoughts.
The bigest issue for me is the scale of that tree. For my standards it's way too big. DArcy1 paintover shows best what I meant.

But thats just my opinion, you can use it or leave it ;]

Take care

11 November 2009, 02:52 PM
It's good to hear that multiple people are leaning the same direction.
since the tree is on a separate layer than the sky, I can play around with it's final render size once i'm done painting it. I'll certainly toss in a smaller version for C&C in this thread.

11 November 2009, 08:31 PM
That's a pretty interesting piece, and defenitely worth finalizing! However, it could use some spicing up, especially in the mid area of the boat, which is rather empty. I myself would add stuff like rocks and mountains, and especially have the tree be part of the boat more (veins curling alongside, waterfalls and roots on the sides, etc. Also, you might want to bring in some visual lines toward the focal point, and put in some foregroudn elements, e.g. a flock of birds, some clouds, anything that can add more depth to it.

Best of luck,

11 November 2009, 09:08 PM
thanks rhemrev,
I was thinking of putting some fields and rice paddies out int he middle. I'm reworking the building to be more of a palace/water refinery set up, so i could see putting some lower income housing or yurts outside of that.
maybe some stone carved structures as well.

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