View Full Version : ALIENWARE Challenge Entry: Cullen McKeown

10 October 2003, 10:03 AM

Sketches with crappy pen and a highlighter.
Model - Made with 3D Studio Max5
Textures - Made with Adobe Photoshop 6
Coffee - 1 teaspoon coffee, 2 teaspoons milo, 2 sugars, bit of milk.
Ohhh yeah... and some hot water.

Please note that I am not a tech person what so ever... I have no idea what the following means. But I am getting better.
AMD Athlon XP 1800+
768 MB RAM

10 October 2003, 10:17 AM
Looking forward to this with a biiig grin on my face.
I havn't actualy ever created a decent environment so I am interested to see how far I can push myself and what type of things I will learn in the process.

I'm thinking at the moment either something disturbing or something beautiful. I guess I'll start sketching away, see what I come up with and post again within a week.

10 October 2003, 09:30 PM (

Is this a city? Is this how this land has formed? I leave that up to you.

10 October 2003, 09:38 PM
The above concept is the one I will go for. I plan on making it a portrait picture though, which will making things larger and more impressive. Also I will warp the elements more, maybe twist them around. I have some more concepts to post soon.

10 October 2003, 09:37 AM (

Colour scheme changed slightly. I'm happy with the new proportions, though I may give it a dutch later

10 October 2003, 10:15 AM
Here are some other concepts I was going to work with.

10 October 2003, 10:17 AM (

This is my current thought of how the surface should be textured. More of a close up than the last images. I like the way everything is holding eachother together. Also I want the ground to be pretty chaotic.

The holes in the surface are to make you feel like anything could be dwelling in them.

10 October 2003, 10:48 AM
Just the same image rotated around to get some different looks.

10 October 2003, 12:45 PM
Looks great. Add some color- I think it's gonna be super in color!!

10 October 2003, 01:34 PM
Thanks Borro... I hope to work on it some more this weekend. Hopefully by Tuesday I will have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with it.

10 October 2003, 12:24 PM
HEy Cullen, really loooove the concept drawings. Its quite amazing that u get such diffent effects just from a rotation. (think if I just turn stuff around in my reel anyone will notice?)

Good luck with the challenge, I'm sure it will look really good.

As soon as I get my pc you'll be up against another contender (in other challenges) but for now its browsing time.

really looking foward to seeing it

10 October 2003, 03:14 PM
wow cullen, that last concept piece of yours is awesome. It looks both organic and mineral at the same time.

Very cool stuff.
Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:

10 October 2003, 06:03 AM (

I have merged two of my concepts together. I plan on having much more of the detailed organic stuff you see on the bottom right... yet I have kept the original form. I have used a bit of volumetric lighting too... but I might want to change that because it seems to make the environment look a little friendly... when in fact I want it to look very uneasy. I will work more with the colour schemes once I start textruing (I like to have a lot of freedom with this)

10 October 2003, 06:17 AM
Firstly... thang-Q all for your kind coments.
I plan on having that "organic/mineral" stuff everywhere throughout the piece... I just havn't drawn them in yet.

Yes... I know it is a bad paint job. But I just installed a tabliture and I was rushing and... OK... enough excuses.

Media Monkey. Can't wait for you to get your PC up. Maybe Santa will give you a computer for chrismas and you can jump in to this challenge a little late.

I think I am done conceptualising at the moment. I'm going to start setting up a camera and blocking out the scene.

By the way. I will be using 3D Studio Max 5.
I predict that my final piece will take 48hours to render.
(Not because of the complex nature of the piece - but my computer isn't superman)

I will hopefully post a blocked out 3D scene within a week.

10 October 2003, 06:34 AM
nice style...! i've always like this kinda horror and eerie approach when comes to designing alien stuff....... looks like i've gotta polish up my designs for my entry!

anyway keep it up!

10 October 2003, 06:42 AM
By the way Media Monkey... I like to rotate my stuff around all the time. Not so much on the computer.. mainly drawings and paintings. I'll be painting a picture. Flip it and decide that it looks cooler the other way, and keep going from there. Also sometimes it spawns off different ideas for new pieces of art.

Big thanks Mr Squigle for the idea.

10 October 2003, 09:37 AM
nice man, i really like, what you´ve done, how someone said , give the picture some color, but it´s damn great painted, keep on going this way

10 October 2003, 06:32 PM
nice work so far....:wavey:

10 October 2003, 06:38 PM
Will material colour stay this way, or you will change it???
Great picture (i'll learn something like that one day) :applause:
Goooood luck man!

10 October 2003, 08:02 PM
You realy have this Artistic Eye & Hand, wish you good luck, i think you will make this challeng more rough to me as others allready did...


10 October 2003, 09:45 PM
Thanks guys. I will give it more colour later on. I do like blue as a base colour. I will probably make the sky darker as if it is night time.
You might have noticed on the bottom left, but there is a bit of red streaks on those horn things... this is going to be blood. There will be a bit more blood everywhere. Which is kinda creepy seeing there is nobody around.... visibly.

The ground will be murky, slimy, awarkward to walk on. I might have browny oranges (not the fruit) down here.

I also want to keep the sky pretty clean. Not have stars or other planets in view.

10 October 2003, 09:11 AM (

Just some more thoughts on the texture of the planet. I am liking it more simple though. So I probably won't impliment this.

10 October 2003, 09:55 AM
i would include the last sketch in your picture, it´s really nice and also crazy ;)

10 October 2003, 07:36 AM
Those last sketches are very good. I like the style a lot.

10 October 2003, 07:45 AM
Thanx guys. You convinced me... I will add those last drawings in.... but I will push on with the modeling for now.

10 October 2003, 11:54 AM (

Just blocking out the scene now.

10 October 2003, 12:05 PM
I just want to explain the process I have used so far to set up my scene. I could submit images but I can't be bothered... so please bare with me.

Step 1 - Set up a camera and put the sketch on a plane a fare distance away from the camera.

Step 2 - Clone the sketch and put it right up next to the camera. This way all my models will be between the two sketches. I do this so that I can just slide the viewport clipping to turn on and off the sketches (background and foreground).

Step 3 - Model basic shapes of the geometry, and in the top viewport I adjusted the distance appropriately.

Step 4 - Starting with the elements closer to the camera... I am now modeling (or modifying) a bit more detail in the form of all the elements. As you can see from the above image I have only just started this step. Which brings me up to now.

FYI - I have upped the environment ambient level temporarily. I hate that max makes things so dark by default to work with.

I make all my solid objects with edit poly. Often just from starting from a single polygon.

OK - Getting tipsy so I gotta go.

10 October 2003, 12:12 PM
looks like youve got a really great start, your concept art is right on, lots of variety even though all the pieces have the same stylistic feel to them, anyways, your farther along than i am :) good luck!

10 October 2003, 03:33 PM
Looking good. For some reason the show "he-man" comes to mind, man that old cartoon had great scenery art. NIce use of the viewport clipping, I had never really thought of a practicle use for it. Nice one.

Are you planning to stick with the volume light? I know you're thinking of ditching it, but from the pic it looks like it could work. Have you ever thought about a beautiful-disturbing look? The picture has that feel to it which I think could be quite interesting. Just an idea there.

OK - Getting tipsy so I gotta go.

Try not to spill beer on the keyboard!

Lookin' good :beer:

11 November 2003, 07:23 PM (

Basic structure modeled... now to add the detail.

11 November 2003, 07:36 PM
OK... the below image is the image above, but with the mesh smooth itterations turned down. And facets are shown so you can see how I build my models.

I am using editable polys so far. I find this easiest to work with.
So far the whole thing is only about 4 meshes... but after I am happy with the modeling I will break it apart.... More objects... but cleaner stacks.

OK. so I have the basic structure layed out. I next plan on added details in the model... giving it that little something extra.

Looking good. For some reason the show "he-man" comes to mind, man that old cartoon had great scenery art.
LOL (wow first time I used the expression "lol")
Yeah it does a bit. I actually rented out the he-man movie a couple of months ago. I wish I didn't.
I don't know about the volume light though...
I'll really have to experiment with lighting when I'm up to the lighting.
A "beautiful-disturbing" look sounds good though... maybe I'll go with that.

Ohh well, 530am. Just been modeling since 4am because I couldn't sleep. Nightmares. I guess it is time to go to sleep so I can wake up and go to work.

11 November 2003, 04:45 AM
Changed my mind.... I think I will light the scene before I texture it and add more detail... For a few reasons.
1] Faster to light now... than when I have a complex scene.
2] I like making my materials to suit the mood.
3] Because I can.

11 November 2003, 12:07 PM
I'm looking foward to seeing what you will be doing with the materials.

Cullen, thanks for the Discreet , max 6 demenstration info BTW, I'll definately be there

11 November 2003, 02:47 PM
A verry impressive cluster of organic forms here, and judging form your concept sketches there is a lot more impressive details to come.
I hope you keep up the running commentary through the texturing process, it is always good to learn new techniques from those who are generous enough to share their thoughts and processes.
IMHO it is a good idea to set up decent lighting in a scene before texturing, textures can become completely different when the lighting is moved around. I learnt this the hard way by having to completely change textures after setting up decent lighting. Maybe this is just a dodgy lightwave problem tho. In LW bump maps are particularly sensitive to changes in lighting, also you have to often change the base colours to reach a satisfactory compromise between surface colour and lighting colour... if that makes any sense.
Anyway sorry im rambling s##t here... great work :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 09:40 PM
Thanks Media Munky.
Thanks Gobbledoc.

I am pretty uncertain about the materials so far... I think I will experiment with some procedural textures first... maybe use that as a base and then make custom maps for where I feel it is appropriate (which might end up being everywhere).

Gobbledoc, I will document my process for texturing. Although I might be working on my piece off and on, so there might be a week without any posts from me. That made perfect sense about changing colours after lighting. Been there done that.

I have learned a few things from this site, and I hope I can return the favour to anyone who comes my way.

Media Munky. I'll see you at the max 6 demenstration. No one else from work is coming (Maybe David... but I don't think so)

11 November 2003, 10:08 PM
looking good man
I really dig your style of concepting
the model is looking very nice as well

11 November 2003, 10:29 PM
Thanks dshelton

Even though my model currently looks like my first concept art. I still plan on adding in those detailed element sketches somewhere.
Yep... Saturday and I gotta go to work.

11 November 2003, 11:51 PM
I like the modeling so far! can't wait to see this thing textured! or lighted which ever your doing first! keep it up. Finchy

11 November 2003, 06:55 AM
Looking very slick. That terrain reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss nightmare.
I'm look forward to seeing some color tests and the atmospherics you captured in your concept.

Keep up the nice stuff.


11 November 2003, 01:01 AM (

I lit the scene with a sky light and a volume spot light. In photoshop I manipulated the colour for different looks.
C & C anyone?.... please?
my favourites are the bottom 2.

11 November 2003, 02:19 AM
I also like the two bottom ones, but more percisely I like the bottom right one, because It seema to look like it in a hazy day enviroment. The blue one to the left looks kind of nighty. :)

11 November 2003, 03:04 AM

It looks GREAT! I love the blue fog, really makes it a "creepy" scene.

11 November 2003, 04:54 AM
For mood, I'm gonna have to go with the bottom left also. I like the way the shadows are softer in this one. You've got some nice shapes going on there. The only thing that's bugging me about this layout is the one tangent that's jumping out in the bottom center, and maybe one of the spikes on the structure to the right. Other than that minute issue this is looking very nice. Looking forward to your texture work. I think it's perhaps a good idea to light first alright. Might try it that way on my efforts.
Fair play :) Keep up the good work.

11 November 2003, 05:05 AM
I kinda like the top right. Purples do more odd things once you throw other light at it and it kinda looks "gassy" (for lack of a better word). The really odd thing is all 4 have their own feel if you look at them individually. Good choises to pick from.

11 November 2003, 07:39 AM
Thank you all for your coments. I am still uncertain about which colour schemes to go with... but I will press on with more detailed modeling and it will give me some time to think it over.

Anyways The lighting as is, is at least a base for me to start texturing later on. Yeah... does look kind of Dr. Seuss. Thanks for saying that ACFred as I am a big fan of his work.

The only thing that's bugging me about this layout is the one tangent that's jumping out in the bottom center, and maybe one of the spikes on the structure to the right.

kjc, are you refering to the structure that doesn't have horns, just to the right of the 2 horns at the bottom? Cause I kinda like that.
I agree with the spike on the right coment. Thanks for pointing it out... I was going to make the big structure on the right more like an intertwined root structure. Maybe an occasional vine hanging from one structure to another. Not too much though as I think it is important to have negitave space and not clutter my piece up with details.

11 November 2003, 10:24 AM
Top left it is. The others have to much contrast (near objects in relation with it's distance). But I recomend texturing first because it can make a big diference.:thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 05:18 PM
hey, bottom right is the one! gives more atmosphere and mood! like a foggy morning. Finchy.

11 November 2003, 12:22 AM
Dude! you have coffee the same way as me,

I love the original concepts, and cant wait to see some texture laid down on that model :applause:


11 November 2003, 05:33 PM
Yeah... cant wait to get some textures on there... but first I have to model some more detail in.
camdoggz - lol. as it should be... coffee is a yummy yummy drink and should be enjoyed by all.

Has anyone checked out ALL of the contestants work? I have spent sooo much time looking at peoples work, to find there are many more peoples work. I end up just replying to threads rather than doing any work.
Much respect to what the judges have to go through.
Anyways... I havn't touched my model the last few days.... and I have a busy schedual ahead... so it might be a week or two before the next update.

11 November 2003, 10:42 AM
Nice volumetrics, i like the tonal variation of the one on the bottom right.
more please :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 06:34 PM (

rendering with only the volume light on to get those volumetrics happening

11 November 2003, 06:38 PM (

As you can see I am adding more details into the mesh... more to come.
I like how the back right one kinda looks like a root of a tree

11 November 2003, 06:45 PM (

Almost there with lighting... I just need to add some softer different colours to the piece... but I'll do that after texturing.
C & C on any category?

11 November 2003, 08:10 PM
com:Great fading in the backround and the overall effect of its look.
crit: it still looks a little plain.
:bounce: :thumbsup:

11 November 2003, 08:25 PM
Thanks grafi... it does look plain. I mean I havn't textured it yet, but I think I need to add in some sort of weather. Maybe dust that is being blown around in the wind. So its in a dust storm.

Also I need some sort of clouds happening.

The structures are probable too clean a mesh... I need brocken rocky bits too, flakey rockey bits. Fallen rubble.

I didn't touch my computer all weekend... dont you hate that? When you live out in the world? So last night I couldn't sleep and was able to work on it a bit more. Yeah.
Actually... I think about 70% of this project was made so far while I havn't been able to sleep.

Anyways... probably wont post again for another week. See you all then.

11 November 2003, 08:30 PM
That will make it look a lot better to add the textures and the rock bits around different places, also in some places the geometry looks a bit odd, may check it out.
talk to me on MSN :
or AIM:grafi4

11 November 2003, 08:34 PM
Sorry grafi.
About to disconnect so I can do my morning stuff before I go to work. I don't have MSN or dont know what AIM is. Instant Message?

Anyways... will get that stuff next time I surf.

11 November 2003, 10:36 PM
Glad to see you went with that lighting! i liked it the best! modeling is looking very good, more detail is needed but i guess that will come with tecturing and bump maps and such... as for the weather.... what i ahvnt seen yet is a rainy setting... i was thinking of making mine rainy but not sure how to go about it? i'm sure it would look nice with rain drops trickeling down the geometry and running of the edge... just a thought:rolleyes: thanks for the comment on my work!:wavey: Finchy.

11 November 2003, 10:59 PM
I hadn't thought of that.... thanx finchy I will deeply consider it.
It would look nice... but it will be bloody hard to do.

This is a challenge though isn't it?

I have never made rain. I might do some tutorials and tests and see how I go. Anyone know of any good rain tut? Maybe even a magical create rain button?

11 November 2003, 11:17 PM
Hey again... i found this tutorial on giving the effect of rain hitting terrain.
i think particles should be used for the actual rain fall? but to do this in Max, Maya or what ever you use would be difficult and a long procces of re- rendering to get the effect right so i would sudgest to do it in Post...? here is a photoshop tutorial for a rain layer
i have looked again atthe last render and i think rain would look real nice here! are you going for gloomy or a bright atmosphere? rain will work in either one. anyways i hope this helps you a lot! Finchy.

11 November 2003, 12:12 PM
thanx finchy. I cant be bothered doing 3d tonight... just surfing...
But I can't wait to get into them, should be interesting.
If I had max 6 I could just use particle flow... oh well.

11 November 2003, 12:15 PM
ohh... and I am fully (kinda) keen for the "difficult and a long procces" I am going to stubbornly try and do everything in max. I might adjust colours slightly in post... but.... welll..... we will see.

11 November 2003, 07:54 PM
Interesting look there..... soft and curvy stuff. I'm not sure about rain here though (IMO) you've got some sort of dry desertstyle atmosphere here, which I kinda like. Would like to see more intricate details.... and maybe some hard edges (though that might be totally contrary to your plan of course =)

On the other hand, making these formations wet and shiny - together with rain - could make a very dramatic look if the overall lighting is decreased. Just a lot of highlights suggesting the shapes. Seen "Pitch Black"? I somehow got that kind of vibe here... the look of the landscape/relics combo....

11 November 2003, 04:39 AM
Thanks JamesMK.... hmm, maybe I'll leave the atmospherics decision till after a bit of texturing tests.

11 November 2003, 03:15 PM
your atmosphere is turning out beautifully. My only question is... are all the object on your planet the same color and texture?... or are you planning on breaking them out into their own individual styles? I'm probably jumping the gun... but I just thought i'd throw that out there... :thumbsup: :D

11 November 2003, 07:26 AM

I like it, I like it a lot. I think that the earlier more contrasty lighting gave more depth to the image. Can't wait to see this one textured!

12 December 2003, 08:31 AM
like your work

are you doing this with max??
hope to see more progress.... soon

keep going


12 December 2003, 09:38 AM
imscifi, King Outo and splotch... thanks for the comments.
are all the object on your planet the same color and texture?...
The will all share a same mood... but they (I envission) will not all have the same texture. I want slimy bits, I want hard flaky bits, I want rough bumpy bits... we will have to wait and see, as I don't really know.

hope to see more progress.... soon

I'm afraid I won't be working on this anytime soon. Why? Well although this has been fun (and will be) my enthusiasm is elsewhere at the moment. I probably won't get to it until the end of december... cause I am just loving (And hating) flash at the moment. I definately will get back to it though.

12 December 2003, 06:16 PM
I might be writing way too much… but read it or not… its your call.
I am going to try and make this without using any textures (jpgs or whatever) why?… just want to see if I can do a good job without them. Hopefully even a better job.

It’s been a while since I last posted… but finally another night where I can’t sleep due to alcohol.
Usually with landscapes I would texture things as I go, or use a lot of texture maps. But I am glad I waited to do the texturing… because now I am getting into the awesome value of procedural maps.

Firstly I detached the thorn/horns from the main structures. I gave them all a base ivory colour with a noise bump. To make the bump go up the horn with the grain I chucked a standard cylinder uv mapping on all the horns and altered the tiling in the map editor.

I knew I wanted to use a composite map so I am not worried about getting the result I want all in the standard material properties. So… I changed this to a composite map, and there I had the base material for the horns. I then began to add a darker area at the base of the thorn. Just by adding to the Mat. 1 slot in the composite, a standard black material, with the opacity having a mixed gradient ramp and noise.

I might change this but I then wanted some blood splotches towards the tip of the thorns. That is a standard red material applied to the composite map… with the opacity having a masked stucco material with a gradient (so it is only red in splotches near tip)

OK-thorns done… now the main bit.
I hadn’t applied uv coordinates yet. I applied the same material to all the structures. Made it a composite material with the base being orange and having a noise in the bump. In the Mat.1 slot I added a standard material with a perlin marble in the opacity. I copied this material to the diffuse slot and changed the size so it would be offset. I used blue and red as the colour… rendered… and this happened.

12 December 2003, 06:25 PM (

This is what happened when I applied the material... explained in my last post.

12 December 2003, 06:31 PM
Sure the colour is ugly… like someone just splotched paint over all of it… but I was very happy with the way the colours were distributed on the mesh… so I played with the colours and changed it…. As you can see here.

12 December 2003, 06:40 PM (

I haven’t finished the textures yet… As you can tell… at the moment the perlin marble looks like crap., but I’ll get there.

12 December 2003, 06:43 PM
But I have started it and that is the second hardest part (hardest is finishing the damb thing).

C and C welcome. Still debating over the rain thing. Maybe my computer is too slow to even bother. It is hard enough waiting for these renders, let alone with particles and motion blur. I think I need to put a glow on everything to make it a little softer.

I love playing with the curves and contrasts, etc in photoshop…. Seeing the billions of combinations.

12 December 2003, 07:08 PM
Hi Cullen!

great work here in progress, I love your world, reminds me @ some beautifull hours i spent fascinated on my 386er, this could be the home of the tentacle... (the day of... remember that one?;) )

I have an idea to "master" your composition a bit:

to give your maps more deept, use a copy of your difuse map (new matslot), turn the jade parts into a meduimlight grey, and the redbrown into a bit darker grey and use it slightly as displacementmap, and the same map oppacyty map and use a transluscent shader, so you can just pull an instance the diffuse chanel on the transluscent color slot and the filtercolorslot ansd you'll have a structures, transluscent material with the same distribution, and the surface geomety will look much more complex...
you can also use submaterials and mix mats by using your b/w map then as mask, remember, white comes out, black dives, and never use a too high amount of displacement.
If this is too much for your pc to handle, just use the effect to the foreground objects.

Whatever, Keep it goin' man, I'll be back to see how ya rockin' this, keep groovin' man, :buttrock:

12 December 2003, 03:19 AM
Hey, I like your image! :) Good luck!

12 December 2003, 06:22 AM
Thanks BClaw.
Thanks the1st_angel.

The1st_angel, youve given me some good ideas there. I like the idea of making bits translucent. Hmmm... It's damb hot in brissy at the moment.... so, even though I am on holidays, I am either in a pool or in a mall with air conditioning. And doing other stuff at night.... so I think it might be after new years till I try this out.

PS- Day of the Tenticle was my favourite game.

12 December 2003, 07:57 AM
Hey I really like the mostly monochromatic image you just posted, but what I think would be really amazing is a render closer to your initial, two-tone sketches.

Can't wait to see how this one turns out. I love the anthropomorphic qualities of your alien land formations. :)

12 December 2003, 02:07 AM
Hi Cullen, envy you for your so called dam..d heat, sittin' here in a smokefilled room my freezin my ears off when i go outside with my skate to get something and not wear some silly cap...
heard some of you celebrate x-mas with a tree at the beach, must look really funny!
Keep your great work up and for now: merry x-mas and happy hollydays!:wavey:

12 December 2003, 10:11 PM
Hey Sacha. Is it snowing there too?
I havn't yet seen anyone with a tree on the beach on x-mas day. But we usually have a few family do's (imediate, other imedieate, extended, other extended) which is cool because it means lots of alcohol and lots of food.

But yeah... I'm late for christmas... so good luck to everybody for the new year.

12 December 2003, 10:19 PM
Hmm.... actually it's not. God heard my prayer to let global warming have its effect over my place. We have some snow in the mountains and I'm happy theres actually none in the city cuz this means pure traffic chaos.... Yeah X-Mas here ist kinda Food and Drinkorgy as well, and I went back to my doings this year quiet fast. I was kinda alienized and Dec 25th I already rocked the verts again. Goodluck and a happy newyear to you too!
:wavey: May 2004 be a memoriable year full of inspiration and as result a lot of stunning pieces of art!!! Keep on Rockin' mate!:buttrock:

12 December 2003, 10:33 PM
hey, I was impressed when I saw your sketch already (nice inspiration :D) and the modelling is great too, really nice alien shapes.

Maybe you can make the textures some more alien, less colors (hard to explain in english..), and maybe the background some more mystical (I'm love mystical stuff very much, maybe a little to much :p)...
The whole scene is great now, and I like to see how you worked from you beginning sketch too.
I'm looking forward to your next update!!

01 January 2004, 11:26 AM
Went back to work from hols yesterday to find my boss asks me to take another week off. Shweet. So I was working on this a bit today... and Ouch. The rendertimes were evil... I made no progress... in fact I might have gone backwards.... I think I will have more patience after some drinks.
I hope to finish this by the end of the week. As I don't want to drag it out to the last minute. I have spent way too long on this already.

01 January 2004, 01:40 AM
Hey man, really cool stuff!

01 January 2004, 08:55 AM
Thank you criterion, Wanksta, the1st_angel and swadepgh for all of your thoughts and kind words.
And for everyone else that has helped me along the way.

OK... deadline time. For all of you guys it's in a couple of weeks. Me? Tomorrow. I realised earlyer today that I will be babysitting my sisters house for a couple of weeks starting tomorrow. Well, I didn't realise that... but I realised that it conflicted with the deadline. So I will be without a copy of max for a couple of weeks.

So this morning I began. I followed the1st_angel's suguestions reguarding displacement.... and translucent. I modified it heaps... playing with sliders here and there. And OUCH. Rendered a frame - took about an hour. That was low res. I was pretty happy with it (knowing I will be modifying some in post) and began to render the high res one. I started rendering around 2pm... It's now 6:45 and I am about 2/3rds way through.
I have a lot to do on it tomorrow.... but good luck to all in getting everything in on time.

01 January 2004, 11:34 PM (

Added elements to the textures suguested by Angel... thanx. I made the displacement not a subtle though... I like it this way. Parts of it remind me of coral.

01 January 2004, 12:03 AM (

This is the last render from Max I will do... I mention why in my post but my personal deadline is today. It took 9hrs and 43minutes to render. I had to up the mesh smooth due to the displacements... but for some of the objects it wasn't enough... so I will fix those elements in post.

01 January 2004, 12:16 AM (

OK - Final render complete. Now I have to fix it up... there are ugly facets here and there and the colour could be better.

1] Looked at variations and added more blue.
2] Brightness contrast I upped the contrast about 30% and upped the brightness 10%
3] Some of the bright green coloured areas I reshaped to make gyms - see pic.
4] With the freeform selection tool and feather I selected areas... then played with their contrast, hue, lightness, saturation... etc at individual levels.
5] And finally to soften the image I duplicated the layer... blured the crap out of it.... and droped the layer down to an opacity level of 30%... Ive got to go... but I will upload the final image tonight.

01 January 2004, 12:42 AM
Beautiful, very beautiful.
Continue and good luck:bounce: :bowdown:

01 January 2004, 12:54 AM
Nice render! When i look at the second one i just think of Wizard of OZ? must be the emerald green structures... but i like it! Again on the second render my eye gets drawn to the top left corner because of the light shadow, i think it stands out to much, and because you can't see whats causing it, it seems out of place, maybe lighten it up a bit? the bluer colours i like a lot better! Keep the good work coming are you going to post the final image on here soon? Finchy:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 12:14 PM
Thanks eska and finchy... I have chaged the volume shadow... but it still does look strange.
are you going to post the final image on here soon?
Yep... I will be posting the final image very soon... tonight. I have no time left. But I have enjoyed my self and bla bla bla.... I'll write a closure later when I submit.

01 January 2004, 01:22 PM (

and here it is.... I hope you all have enjoyed this challenge as much as I have... oh well. til next time.

01 January 2004, 02:06 PM
Well there it is peoples... the final image. I am uploading my zip now (taking ages on a 56k).
I thought I would be the first one to upload... but dambit I am the 6th(was 6th... now 7th). 2 days off.
Anyways... this was the first piece I have planed this much on... Usually I just get an idea and go for it. I am extremly please with my final result, but I wouldn't have gotten there without the help of everyone here. Now that I can't work on my final piece maybe I will get a chance to start viewing all the entries. I have been following (sort of) about a dozen artists. There are soo many of you guys.

Oh well... I doubt I will win, but I had a great time on this one. This was my first challenge here, and I hope to join you guys with more challenges as the months come on.

Even though I have finished, I would like as many people C&C my work. Did I do alright? I kinda like it, although I would not usually model this type of thing.

Toodles to you all.

01 January 2004, 05:36 PM
I LIKE IT! simple as that!! glad the shadows were fixed and i like the saturation of light in the background the light rays now fit in with the scene. So you had fun... Doesn't matter if you win or lose having fun is what made this contest so good! you can try virtualy anything you want! I'm sure you learnt a lot too. well i'm going to post mine later so check it out! thank for the c&c on my work! Good Luck! Finchy.

01 January 2004, 08:07 PM
CONGRATULATIONS! I hope to finish my entry this weekend as well but I still have a lot of work to do.

Your image looks awesome. I really like the lighting. It must feel great to be finished.

Best of luck to you. :beer:

01 January 2004, 02:43 AM
Really a wonderfull and beautiful piece. I liked your concept from the beginning. Good luck.:D

01 January 2004, 10:07 PM
Thanks finchy, swadepgh and miketche for your coments. I have just gone to check your recent works and you all have done really well. Keep up the good work... good luck to all in the final hour.

01 January 2004, 11:08 PM
:thumbsup: Ahh yessss, the homeworld of the tentacle... and I loved it from the beginning. Looks amost like Jade, but also very alive, It's beatifull and I love it! Give you a biiiig WOW on it and my best wishes, my friend! :applause: :buttrock: :beer:

01 January 2004, 09:08 PM
thanks angel. I'll keep watching your thread.... everytime i go there there is a big read. Once again... thanx for all the help along the way.

01 January 2004, 09:44 PM
You've done a great job here, Cullen!

I like how you've tweaked the materials lately - they seem very crystalline, almost translucent in places, and the lighting and haze fits perfectly with the mood.

It's simply a very very alien location indeed.


01 January 2004, 10:38 PM
Very nice Cullen. It looks hostile and yet not .. I like the colors alot. I somehow get the feeling of being underwater, like down in some huge barier reef. Land Downunder perhaps :)

Moving to Australia in one or two years!

Good luck in the contest. You've done a great job!


01 January 2004, 02:39 AM
Very nice. Been silently watching from the beginning and it REALLY came together nicely! The textures came out more subtle than the wip's showed, and I love the translucent details along the cliff edge. Have we been placed in the palm of some creature? Kind of looks like fingers.

01 January 2004, 02:55 AM
Hi Cullen. What A difference since the last time I checked with you. :beer:

Rock ON!

01 January 2004, 03:02 AM
That is soooooo coool! I love the feeling of dizzyness! and the atmosphere is great! Great job!

keep rockin! :thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 03:03 PM
Wow! Really great composition, lighting, objects and textures. You've really made an inspiring image. It really makes the viewing feel as if there is a story to be told about this image. Great work.

01 January 2004, 09:57 PM
Thank you muchly....

JamesMK, freka01, markw7, crazybread, imscifi and Novacaine.... seriously... big thanks.

I just can't wait for further challenges... I could definatly be a regular doing this.
I usually aim for short film projects and I guess never really thought of creating something for a still image. But yeah... I will be making many more.

01 January 2004, 11:01 PM
Cullen.. one word - Superb! I realy love the way your scene is lit! Good luck to you!

01 January 2004, 11:51 PM
:bounce: Realy amazing !
It`s one of the best images that i have seen in this challenge.
Good luck to you:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 09:11 AM
Thanks Defonten. thanks saturen3.
It`s one of the best images that i have seen in this challenge.
Even if it is... it is one of many.
I havn't nearly checked out all the threads yet (1501 entries)... but I keep seeing great work with almost every click.

01 January 2004, 03:46 PM
When i saw the first sketchs it was very simple for me and there was simple houses but after some images it became so importatnt and noises and faces affected the image feeling very much.
Now effect of the green color is very clear and strong on the image and it has a special mood.Realy i enjoy it.

good luck and thanks for your interests.

Visit my challenge and put your thought here please (

01 January 2004, 05:12 PM
Hey... thanks saturen3. I tried to look for the "simple houses" but I just can't see them... it is 3am though.

On a completly irrelivant note, isn't it funny that they show our real names in the thread title? I guess I have made it easy for you all using my name as a nick... but when I browse other peoples work it is like.... do I call you by your name? or your nick?

Anyone else have that problem, or think it is funny? Probably not... just me cause of that whole... 3am thing I guess.

01 January 2004, 05:16 PM
Uhmmm 3 am thought. I see. haha, imagine if your name was NICK.. so they call you Nick or with nick nick:buttrock:
Just kidding. Enjoy the silence before the storm, and I relly love your great work you done here!:applause: :love: :beer:

01 January 2004, 05:17 PM
Giggle! 3 AM things are pretty hilarious. There's no end to the weirdness really. It's 6 PM here though - I guess 3 AM things are exceptionally funny to 6 PM persons... And it gives this nice global feeling. :beer:

01 January 2004, 06:06 PM
:drool: 3 am though?I don`t know that does it mean.Because of i am new here please explain me about it.:buttrock:

about nickname i believe your idea.maybe i change it.My name is such as Arabic names and i am persian,I like saturen3,If i like to change my nickname I realy change my name to an original persian name.:eek:

01 January 2004, 07:28 PM
Originally posted by saturen3
3 am though?I don`t know that does it mean.Because of i am new here please explain me about it.
Ah, time for the old teacher to step in!

AM means 'ante meridiam' which is latin for 'before mid-day' - so '3 AM' would be three in the morning (or simply in the dead of the night)

PM means 'post meridiam' which means 'after mid-day'

01 January 2004, 08:04 PM
:drool: interesting mistake.But it could be a secret mail for me.
I know its mean.I thought that its a special word for cg talks.
not at all:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 08:11 PM
Aha! *the old teacher crawls away again*

01 January 2004, 09:35 PM
:bowdown: Always i learn more and more from my friends.Thanks again dear jamesMK.:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 11:04 PM
I agree... thanks JamesMK, I didn't know that.
Sesame Street just doesn't explain time in that much detail.

Yeah saturen3... no secrete codes.
I just meant that at 3am my mind is going on strange tangets. I am not thinking clearly... and even worse, I don't double check what I type. I just type and post.

the1st_angel... now your just confusing me more with that nick nick Nik nic stuff. But confusion is always fun.

01 January 2004, 01:21 AM
:bounce: Thanks dear cullen.i was iterested.

01 January 2004, 01:26 AM
Originally posted by Cullen
I agree... thanks JamesMK, I didn't know that.
Sesame Street just doesn't explain time in that much detail.
Heh! You should watch the Muppet Show instead, it's more up to date on latin, swedish chefs and stuff like that... :cool:

01 January 2004, 10:15 PM
with holidays and the after holidays cruisyness.... things are starting to pick up like mad at work. Shame cause now I am having trouble finding internet browsing time to check out all the awesome entries.

01 January 2004, 08:40 AM
I can't believe I didn't post here. This is so beautiful, like
a most beautiful dream comes truth.
Best luck and keep fighting.:bowdown:

I would be honored if you have time to visit also my thread

01 January 2004, 03:54 PM
Thanks eska... I'm checking out your work now. I can't believe I didn't post on yours either. You've done an awsome job.

01 January 2004, 11:48 PM
Hey cullen!

Realy you have a creative mind..

/.......www.i watched your site and found it rely
It`s realy amazing such as your challenge work.

Now i must give you special thanks realy for your interests annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd;

Good luck to you and all of our friends.

01 January 2004, 03:04 AM
Hi Cullen,

Sorry I did not answer to your busy..

You did a very nice piece.
I think you have a good chance.

Good luck.

01 January 2004, 10:42 AM
Thank`s for your interest
Very beautifull,i love the color variations.
the deeper feeling of deeper is perfect.
I want go inside for explore in your world .the framing add to this feeling.
Good luck .:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 11:38 AM
Your work is great... I'm afraid what happens in Yor alien world when night came... and nobdoy can hear your scream.... :))))))
Good Luck!!

01 January 2004, 04:08 PM
Cullen, I like your final and how it seems like an iceworld, well done. BTW, thanks for your comments.

03 March 2004, 02:06 PM
Interseting concept sketches man, keep up the good work.

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