The Journey Begins Challenge (2D) Entry: Kevin Soderlund

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  04 April 2006
nice job jevinart' uh that soldier need some medical,

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  04 April 2006
nice style. next time you post please do it without the photoshop gui it ruins the scene.
  04 April 2006
thanks for the suggs and the comments!

anizibon: still debating on some smoke rising from the jungle in the backdrop -- but would be subtle. the environment around the characters will be very muddy and dreary, giving a sense of bleakness. haven't really started tweaking the sky yet; will definitely be darkening the clouds a bit for dramatic effect, but not so much as to turn the whole scene dark and gray...

nards: thanks, pal! medic!

warpy: appreciate the compliment! i've been showing the gui because the scene is not yet completed, and i felt that part of the purpose of this whole excercise is to open up to the viewers how we work; the painter gui is just kinda like my uncompleted canvas on the easle with my paints spread around, like you'd see in an artist's open studio for a work in progress. the artist wouldn't hide all the paints when someone comes in -- hell, that area would be a mess, as that's just part of the process. also shows the tools i'm using and my set-up. as the piece hits the final coloring phase, will drop the gui and focus solely on the image itself....
  04 April 2006
The facial expression is excellent, and captures the emotion well. I am assuming he is getting off at firebase. My question is if he is new, why would he have that look on his face? Is he viewing the carnage around him? IMO the picture with the 2 soldiers helping the man out conveyed that carnage more effectively rather then just the soldier running away. Maybe a guy in the foreground carrying a wounded soldier bumping into him? Also being that close to a chopper would create backwash on the ground and would affect him at least blow his chin strap if not make him squint and huddle from the dust and flying debris.
  04 April 2006
hey, johnvencer -- many thanks for the deep insight and excellent comments into my WIP....


my vision on what's goin' on in this dude's melon:

he's just stepped off the chopper into vietnam, and is getting his first glimpse of the reality of where he's at, and what's in store for him. he doesn't see any combat on the landing field, but sees some soldiers awaiting evac, bandaged -- and some dead covered with blankets. in an instant, the harsh realization hits him -- he's far away from everything he's known all his life, and heading into a situation that most likely will leave him dead or god knows what. his youth is gone and replaced with manhood; he's both disgusted and where he's at, yet stoic in his will to survive this journey. terror twists his gut into a knot, as he hesitates, pulling at the bravery that's been ingrained into him through months of boot camp. my goal is to capture a split-second in time in this young man's face, when he's torn from all sides mentally -- in just a few moments, bravery and determined courage will win the struggle, and he will fight with honor and dignity to the end -- wherever the end of this journey takes him.


i also wanted to address the chopper blade issue as well -- they're not going to be painted in full spin (with a motion blur effect); instead, the blades are very near the end of their rotation, as the chopper sits idle and awaits the loading of its passengers before re-starting and making the dangeroud journey back to safety.....

again, pal -- great comments. really appreciate your pickin' my brain...
  04 April 2006
this may be a question for Elrond56, but do they stop the rotors on the helicopter in those situations? i'm just thinking from watching mash and war movies and stuff. but it might be worth looking into. remember, your helping to document history by creating this. something that's been on my mind with my piece as well.

besides, then you can get really cool dust swirls.

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  04 April 2006
very good question, anzibon. the ground i'm creating in this scene -- based on the reference material i've collected for this project -- is muddy and cruddy tho, not the fodder for dustswirls even in the best of circumstances. but for accuracy's sake, am willing to adjust my chopper rotar strategy for realism....

Here are a couple of my reference shots:

The first is my environment and chopper reference (note the muddly, sloppy jungle clearing)

The second is one of my reference shots for loading evacuees

Last edited by jevinart : 04 April 2006 at 02:57 AM.
  04 April 2006
This looks cool so far, but I don't really like the sky, I think you can do a lot more with dramatic clouds... too much blue in the sky, IMO that color doesn't go well with the green etc... the clouds also seem very unrealistic, especially compared to how real looking you managed to get the face and body on the first pass. Check some references for skies and jungle backgrounds.

About the face, I kind of feel he's too much the lean mean action hero there, I'd make him younger looking and fresh faced, innocent, you know? A lot of those guys were only 18, if his journey is just beginning he should probably be around the same age. Also, it would probably bring your point across better if his gear wasn't worn at all, even if it would be less historically accurate.

Also, instead of a lightly wounded guy in the background (cause he's still conscious and able to sit up right?), maybe our poor greenhorn could find himself surrounded by full body bags, waiting to be shipped back home.
  04 April 2006
thanks for the comment, stahlberg!

not in full agreement here, tho. haven't had a chance to fully develop the sky yet -- the clouds will be a bit darker, like the clearing sky after a brief tropical rainshower, but blue sky will prevail. i've actually spent lots of time in the coastal jungles of mexico, and am tapping into some of that experience in creating my mood (mexico's a far cry from asia, but there are some similarities in jungle habitats).

i don't want to get too into heavy shock value, with body bags and lots of death. i want the expression of my character to realy a feeling that encompasses this possibility. the wounded soldier being carried to the chopper is my representation of the physical trauma of war, as well as the anguish on the faces of his rescuers.

i am, as we speak, adding dark grey smoke rising from a burned village in the far-off jungle, however. this effect is helping to darken the mood even further, by creating a sense of heaviness and destruction emanating from the distance...
  04 April 2006
I think that Stahlberg brings up a point with making the character a lot more younger, body bags could highten the feelings well. Never hurts to try though, its up to u though, I think it is pretty nice though, I will have to see the next step to judge the sky though, because that will help with the overall mood of this as well! Keep at it mate!
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  04 April 2006
thanks, beelow!

actually, part of the message i'm trying to convey with this particular piece is the sudden transition from youth (i'd say the guy was about 18 or 19) to instantaneuous maturity; at this very moment, my character's youth is gone entirely, replaced by the horrific reality of war and his predicament in the middle of it. he's just grown up big-time, and has become somewhat hardened with his first glimpse of the casualties of war.....

do not like the idea of body bags -- as i mentioned, not going for literal death representations here. dead bodies are not needed in a piece to make an impact on the horror of war; my character's expression and that on those around him are designed to relay this effect. i'm hoping to make two impact points here: to leave it up to the viewer to see through this young soldier's eyes via his emotion and to interpret what he sees (enhanced by the men in the background and their situation); to also create a sense of hope that maybe, as this young man being carried away by his buddies, my character might actually make it out alive... i must admit that the second point came to light after the suggestion to add in wounded -- that changed my goals a bit.

appreciate the suggestion, tho....

Last edited by jevinart : 04 April 2006 at 12:29 PM.
  04 April 2006
Coloring WIP: Journey Into War: WIP (non-screenshot)

here is the latest evolution of my piece "journey into war". i've made a couple of significant changes, thanks to the comments i've received. i've brought in a tropical storm moving across the sky, and dropped the idea of smoke coming from the jungle (would've been too much in combination with the textural cloudscape...).

the next step is to add puddles of water in the mud around my characters, furthering to reinforce the damp, muddy and miserable conditions of tropical vietnam.

really appreciate the suggs i've received about the clouds -- this did truly enhance the drama of the piece, and adds a sense of foreboding that wasn't there before....

Last edited by jevinart : 04 April 2006 at 12:16 PM.
  04 April 2006
Coloring WIP: Journey Into War: WIP 2

establishing more of the environment in this update: cloud / background rain tweaking, addition of base color for ground puddles, jungle definition with ground mist, and foliage....

still a long way to go, but the image is beginning to take shape.
  04 April 2006
Fantastic expression. I love the contrasting whether patterns in the background as well.

I particularly like the in-the-process screenshot; mind if I use that?

Excellent work man. Can't wait.

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  04 April 2006
hey, olivebeard --

thanks for the cool comment -- really appreciate it! i personally would love to see your screenshots; for me, that's one of the coolest ways to see how artists work, what tools they use, and to learn from their style and tricks....
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