Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Michael Dashow

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  04 April 2008
Concept / pre-visualization: Those Cute Little Aliens!



Here's a landscape version. Do you like one more than another?
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Michael Dashow
My web site / My art on Facebook
 
  04 April 2008
Love the new direction, Mike.

In my opinion portrait orientation drives home very well the difference in size between humans and aliens, it is a bit more 'understated' in landscape.

If I may...I love them with four arms, unless the added work drives you crazy, of course, I find two more arms give them a whole lot more body language (ok, I'm Italian, we speak with our hands)
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  04 April 2008
Hey Mike, that is also nice! Before reading your description, I initially thought that the human on the stepladder is a director and they are acting out a scene at the theatre/movie set. Something like an intergalactic audition.
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jeromoo.com
 
  04 April 2008
Thanks for the input, guys. Sorry to hear I am so completely off the mark with what I thought I was presenting. Have any suggestions how to better convey aliens finding the humans cute rather than making it look like they're in a play?

As for the 4 arms, that's just a lot of work and a lot to cram into an already tight composition. Especially with only one month left. THe last concept needed the 4 arms to work, but here I want them to be a little closer to humans so their poses and expressions read clearly (which obviously they don't yet.)
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Michael Dashow
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  04 April 2008
Hey Michael!
Just stumbled upon your thread. Glad you're in!
Very cool sketches and ideas so far. Though I also thought they'd be in a play where it seems
to be hard to work with aliens cause they can hardly concentrate on their job.
How about reducing the human character to one, surrounded by curious aliens.

Anyways another thing I miss in your sketches so far is the wow effect...I think it could be
awesome if you choose a more dynamic camera angle and composition.

After seeing your sketches I realized what I missed in your strange behavior challenge entry.
Usually you have a real focus on the main action...like on master and servant or journey begins. The master and servant challenge entry was very dynamic and you had a nice close up of the octopus boss. On journey begins you had a powerful story with a wow environment. In both entries you could understand the main action immediately.

In strange behavior you had a lot of elements to look at. Hell a lot of details lots of characters, the story was nice but it didn't make me go wooow! if you know what I mean. The focus gets lost because of the amount of characters and the details I guess...
Seeing you first sketches of uplift made me feel the same thing. You don't really know where to look first and you need some time to understand what's going on.

I'd love to see a dynamic dashowish easy to understand wow painting again!
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  04 April 2008
I too thought it was a play with the director on the ladder pointing at the script. I think you might be trying to cram too much stuff into the picture. You have a lot going on which, as Goro said, is making it hard to read the story.

I really liked where you were going with the detail of the two aliens picking up the girl. I don't think you really need all the other stuff around. Maybe you could just focus on those characters. I think that communicated the story you are trying to get across.

I also prefer the 4-arm versions too. If you did less aliens, you'd have time for more arms

Just my 2 cents.
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  04 April 2008
Concept / pre-visualization: He's so cute!



Goro - Thank you for the serious, solid, insightful crit. I don't think that all of the points you raised couldn't have been surmounted in that piece: For example, appropriate coloring and value treatments could easily push the rear characters further into the background and really hilight the foreground characters. And I could work on the main character's pose to make him look less like a director. And I strongly feel that if every single human were in a matching futuristic military outfit - like say if they were all in the dress red-and-blacks from Star Trek: The Next Generation - they would read much less as play actors. But yes, the camera angle is still vanilla. But all in all, you're right, I'm saying in triplicate something that I could possibly say more succinctly with a single human...

So let's try it again: I think I've addressed the points that you made, or at least am starting to. So what do you all think of this? It still needs a lot of work and refinement, but does it read? Does it work?

Hope no one minds that I swapped out the captain for the female cadet. Even if I'm changing poses, it was funniest with him being "the cute one." As for the 4 arms, it just crowds things, sorry! (And I'm losing time to draw the extra arms all the time.)

p.s. I have to apologize that I haven't had much time to reply to otehr peoples' threads like I normally do. Dominance War took a huge chunk of time out of this Challenge and I've got a lot of other things going on. I'm going to be burning the midnight oil all month if I want to finish this (it's 12:30 am now, and I'm an old guy who needs his beauty sleep) and that doesn't leave me as much time to troll the forums this time... sorry!
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Michael Dashow
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Last edited by walrus : 04 April 2008 at 07:29 AM.
 
  04 April 2008
hey there mike! sorry for a really late comment, i went through your thread earlier and as usual .. tops in conceptual art .. but still i wasn't able to give a reasonable comment. but, then i saw your latest update and bing! it just hit me ... i was wondering if you tried using 'Perspective foreshortening' for your latest update, camera angle view from the top focusing on the human being held by the aliens below ... looks kinda fun and dynamic .. just an idea .. hope it helps ..
cheers dude! good luck to you!
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  04 April 2008
Hey Mike, nice to see you are in after all. Great work as usual. I think it still needs some work to perform nicely, but being yourself I wouldn't be worried. I don't have a lot of time either, so I cannot spend much on the forums, but I hope to see your entry finished in time.

Good luck my friend.
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Monster in the city
 
  04 April 2008
This time, it does read more clearly! I really like the idea of a person we will not generally find as cute, but the aliens think the otherwise. I feel that you are heading in the right direction here. But I can understand that you have too much things on your plate right now. Please don't force yourself and only do it when you feel up to it. All the best and remember to just have fun here!
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jeromoo.com
 
  04 April 2008
You hit almost exactly the image I had in mind.
The story is absolutely clear to me now. The expressions on the aliens and the human
are ace.
Not sure about the camera angle though. But as you said it needs some more work
and I think it's definetly a good starting point. Doing some really quick tiny black and white
thumbnails to figure out the composition and the camera angle might help without spending too much time on the drawing.
I'm also not sure if I can finish mine...
Anyways I'll be watching your thread.
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  04 April 2008
Thanks for the responses, guys! I'm glad I'm moving in the right direction. Thanks for pushing me (especially you, Goro!)

I did try a version where the persepctive was inverted, where we were looking down at the guy instead of up. But it deemphasized the height difference between the species instead of accentuating it the way the lower camera angle does. My intent is to be looking up at everything, as thoguh from a human's-eye view. I do need to work opn a lot more fore-shortening to make that happen effectively. I do have a neat design for an alien city for the background, towers in a decidedly non-terrestrial shape. Anyhow, I'll probably post more tonight...
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Michael Dashow
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  04 April 2008
Maestro! Great to have the opportunity to see your new creation! I agree with jeromoo: it's absolutely funny how the aliens find cute a creature who is quite bold and overweighted. The expressions work well. One question: are you going to work just on the last area or you'll keep the wide look of the first sketches? Anyway, it will be a great piece! Good luck my friend!
 
  04 April 2008
Yep, I think it's now very clear that the aliens find the humans cute. I agree with your approach in that there seems no definitive way to make it clear that the aliens find humans cute, so it involves drawing several aliens with different gestures. Which is precisely what you are doing

I was wondering what else could convey that idea and had some thoughts which might range from potentially useful to downright silly, but I'll write them here anyway:
  • aliens wanting to be photographed holding a human
  • humans stuck inside some sort of alien petting zoo
  • humans being carted around in prams and/or dressed up like what that kid did to E.T in the movie
  • or just stick with what you have already done
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Mark David
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  04 April 2008
Hey Walrus, I was following your DW3 entry and it ended up as inspiring to say the least, very glad to see you tackle this challenge as well!
I'm far from an illustrator (can barely compose stick figures) but I'd love to offer my opinion to hopefully assist.

Your latest sketch is definitly reading well. As others have said, it's very easy to see the aliens' reaction and fascination. It's perhaps a double edged sword though when I suggest to maybe increase the vertical field of view, stretching perspective. It would definitly help accentuate the scale difference between human and alien (if that's still an angle you're going for) and add an extra dynamic layer, but I can also forsee the problem with it pushing their faces/expressions further from the camera.
Perhaps you could add a single human character trying hopelessly to reach up from between the alien's legs to "rescue" the captain. Again though I can see how it would create problems by completely changing the captain's expression and situation, and the mood of the piece.

Anyway I'm rambling a bit and probably didn't contribute anything :P but good luck and I look forward to seeing what you come up with!
 
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