Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak


Here’s the lineart. Looks like a complete soup of lines at the moment, very hard to differentiate what’s going on. It’ll all become clear in the later stages (I hope!). I’ll use the lines for a while but will definitely work ‘over’ them soon enough, and I’ll make sure the focus is clearly on the key elements, the ambassador ship, the closest craft and the waterfall while having a lot of extra stuff to add interest on further examination.

I might well have some kind of cliff face or mountain in the upper right half of the bg, this may go some way to help the horizon issue, not sure yet.

Next stage, I’ll scale this down to say 500 pixels wide and start rebuilding the values and atmospherics. I’m going to make sure I get the value, colour and composition working on the small simple scale first. Very important, I wouldn’t like to backtrack and have to rework anything too major.

See ya!


I agree with you that there could be some shapes to fill the horizon. Great line art by the way!


can’t comment anything ! do you have any suggestion how to coloring without do lineart just like you?? :>


awesome line art! the only thing i really have to say is that the 3d base and the lineart is far less dramatic than the original sketch. but either way, the latest image is still very “grand-esque” and i’m sure you’ll make a great piece out of this :slight_smile:


Wow! Great choice! From all of your previous sketches it is the best, for me. The city is really amazing, all rounded around the center of the composition from where the ships are coming. I like it a lot. I hope the misted ambience of the sketch will remain in the last picture. Congratulations!


With right colors to show a depth of this image and right quantity of details to show the grandness of the envieronment, this will be a masterpiece hard to compete! And with ur previously sketches and work, I dont doubt that u’ll succeeded :thumbsup:


This can be called a colouring WIP I reckon. As always, the first step is to get the values right. This is simply the most crucial aspect and comes before colour, saturation and texture. If you get the values wrong, it’s going to read badly, simple as that. That’s not to say that the values have to be accurate necessarily, here I’ve ignored a lot of what the 3D render was ‘telling’ me about the way the light was falling on the scene, and I think it works better for it.
A general rule of thumb for pics set in an atmosphere is that the further away an object is, the lighter it’s darkest dark is. This is one way the brain interprets distance and the hierarchy of objects it is looking at. In other words, if you have an object with one side in light (effectively white, say) and the other side in shade, if it’s close to the ‘camera’ then the shade can be black, but the further away the object is, the more ambient light is mixed in with the atmosphere, raising the shade’s value. If it’s very far away the lit side would be white, and the shade side might only be fractionally darker than the sky / atmosphere / surroundings. This is called atmospheric perspective and affects colour too. A green tree is green close by, but a wooded hillside a couple of miles away has a lot of sky blue mixed in, making the green appear more like a purple. Again, this makes the pic more believable to the human eye.

Again, realism isn’t always the idea. It’s only recently clicked with me, but I reckon I can get away with the fact that the tower-like strut on the ambassador ship is darker than it ‘should’ be because it is surrounded by very light areas. I increase the contrast here (making the strut darker) because I imagine the retina shrinking or camera iris stopping down to cope with the brightness of the surrounding area. This lowers the exposure, bringing the value of the area in question down. And letting me fudge what’s going on and make the pic read better!

The topic of exposure is also something I’m only really beginning to ‘get’. When I was first struggling with digital art a couple of years back I was dismayed at how flat and unrealistic my efforts turned out. I started to consider why. A long time later I began to understand the relationship between dynamic range, exposure and the image.

In a nutshell, consider this. You’re standing in dimly lit church, looking at a doorway, and outside is a beautiful summer’s day. You have a camera and want to take a pic of the church wall, and the door. How to expose the pic? If you set the exposure on the wall so you can see the detail of the stonework, a picture hanging there etc you’ll end up with the doorway being nearly flat white. If you set the exposure to the brightness outside, you’ll see a rectangle of a sunlit cemetary and the rest of the pic will be black. You cannot get both ‘ranges’ of value information in one pic.

The eye, the camera and the film camera can select a particular range of light values (the exposure, making up 0 - 100% of pixel luminosity) from a far greater range (the dynamic range). Anything outside of this chosen range gets ‘clipped’ or moved towards the dark or light end of the exposed range respectively. This is why the buildings above the waterfall are defined in the lightest values possible, there’s very little difference between their lightest lights and their darkest darks.

In my pic, then, I have chosen to ‘expose’ in favour of the shaded areas in the central ‘dip’ and the shaded areas of the buildings. This lets me bring out detail there and makes me bleach out much lighter areas. The end result (and I did say I’m still learning!), should be an image that looks more photographic, or something that you could expect to see in the cinema.

EDIT: Thinking about it, maybe the dynamic range IS the exposed range. Anyone care to clear this up for me?


bravo… bravo…+ the usuall applause…


I spent an hour and a bit trying out different colours. Started by putting a color layer over the value sketch. I didn’t have any real plan, just tweaked a bit here, used the airbrush there, tried adding a bit of colour detail, dodged the buildings in the centre and the side of the ambassador ship and generally messed around with it. I’m thinking that a bit of variation in the upper plateau area might add interest.

This is a quarter scale image of the final hi-res version. This makes it easy to re-scale it up again and use it as a colour basis for the final pic.


I 'm curious of the colors you will choose for your pict, because it’s one of my favourite composition - my favorite maybe…- in the challenge.
Good luck

My space opera


Oooops ! You just posted your color sketch before I post my reaction…
Beautiful color embiance, very promising, so now, I’m curious about how you will detail it.
Keep on …:thumbsup:


great colors! wonderful atmosphere!:thumbsup:


Wow there are a lot of exciting concepts in your entry so far… it’s hard to choose which one I like best :slight_smile:
Now choose one yourself and get some headway on this!!


great developement, I have no crits. I just watch and learn :thumbsup:


Really impressive… Your work method is very good and effective. :thumbsup:


Beautiful coloring so far! I wouldn’t have thought of green for a ship’s engines, but it complements the yellows in the background wonderfully. nice work!



well your final image is amazing … The colors are beautifull. good choice ! :thumbsup:


nice colors and ligthing. very realistic:bounce:


Looking really good. I appreciate all the explanation you give for your process.[left]


Hey there… I’ve been following your thread lately and there’s a heap load of great work here. You’ve got great composition and lighting skills… something I cant get the hang of.

The latest entry looks fantastic, although for a bit more urgency with the escaping ship I would have sugested to have the closest ship banking at about 45 degrees. The reason I say this is because the ships look like they are cruising… or is this the intention? I havnt read all the posts ; ) Really nice lighting though