Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak


I was wondering if this should have been put in as a final colouring milestone? Ah, I’m still working on it so I’ll stick with the WIP status. It’s pretty saturated, that’s for sure, but at this point I’m kind of enjoying it so I’ll let it stay for now.

So this is where the sheer usefulness of having worked out my values first really shows. It’s taken me about half an hour to throw some colour round and I’m liking it already! Basically my approach was to use a number of layers (only temporarily, mind) to stack up a number of gradients set to ‘color’ mode. First off I dragged one from where the sun is brightest, top left, diagonally down to the bottom right. That gives a nice falloff of the saturation as the pic generally gets darker. Then I dragged a gradient from the bottom straight to the top, giving it a warm earthy orange, to simulate the way color intensity fades in atmospheric haze. Next, a blueish colour was dragged on in an opposite direction to the sunlight layer. This was then gently erased with a big soft brush in the areas which weren’t in shadow. I think I then put a deep red layer on top and gave it about 10% opacity, just to tie everything together a bit. Lots of slight adjustments followed on each layer, bit of this, bit of that, some green on the ship exhausts and we’re there!

I’ve not finished on the colouring stage though. I want to introduce some subtle variations to break up the orange a bit, I also need to work out where other sources of light, however faint, may be. Oh, and that horizon, which I’m guessing lies almost at the topmost point of the ship, not ideal. Maybe I’ll just repress it for now.

Anyway, the colour is pleasing me big and it’s pleasing me as a thumbnail. Like values, it’s important to get the major components right first before getting fiddly with it. I plan to get this sorted and then leave myself with long enough to work the details to my heart’s content.

Cheers for looking!


Blackarts - Cheers man. It’s kind of what I like in a pic, something easy to approach and understand what I’m looking at without it all being laid out for me. I hope I can strengthen the story in the details, but I’m not sure it’ll be too effective. For me, I think writing the story helped enormously in informing the design of the pic itself, and for that reason alone, it was well worth doing.

Tommy Lee - Man, easy on my ego here! :wink:

Sideache - What I just said! Dude, your pic is amazing, just saw it for the first time.

Ymbsnakeeye - It’s only half the calories of real SF art and tastes nearly as good.

TeemuR - Thanks for stopping by and letting me know how you feel! I know what you mean about the quick sketch. There’s always something special about the initial sketch that doesn’t make it through to the final, I’m just hoping that the final pic will have qualities of its own that are yet to be maximised.

ChrisThatGuy - There’s a whole lot of time left to amend the bits. There’s a lot of the original sketch in it still that needs to be eradicated. I’m hoping for some canny subtleties in the background, contrast, colour and everything.

Thanks you lot, it makes it a whole lot of fun taking part in this challenge. :beer:


yea! go Speaky!

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:


very cool. great mood. It lacks a little on detail in some places to be a final rendering, for example the building in the background.


if i ever get to you’re level i will be another demi-god praying to only the best wow dude


lol love it :stuck_out_tongue:


I like it VERY much


Looks amazing! my only sugestion would be to add some magenta around those large lights on the ground. Everything seems a little too monocromatic in the structure.

realy nice clean work! :thumbsup:


Looking very promising!! :slight_smile:


How long did it take you to get to this stage, permutations, permutations.:cool:


now here is a man vry much in control of his work . . . excellent. looking a bit too monochrome at mo like CodeNothing said but otherwise hats off sir.


Jesse, It’s looking very good. I’m learning from your process of creating the values first, that is phenomonal advice. I’ll definitely be attempting to use that in my process as well. Do you paint on top/below your values or use them only as referance?

I was thinking, one more thing that might help the ship look more defined is maybe placing some darker values right under it’s body so it wouldn’t look ‘attatched’ to the city. Right now it looks like it’s built right into the ground with a foundation. darker values immediately under it will give it the appearance that it’s being held there, temporarily.
The docking lights are tons better

Now that you added those extra rays flooding through the buildings, it appears your light perspective is wrong. The ray flowing through the ship is going more to the right. The ones going through the buildings are going more down-right. It might just be a matter of one side of the ray being less balanced and making it appear it’s going in a different direction, but check it with your perspective lines to make sure it’s all coming from the one light source.

Someone mentioned something about this one being too monochrome, so I went back to your previous coloring to see what I liked so much about that one. I think what gave it a little more contrast and intrigue to the eye was the buildings in the foremost ground were less saturated. Try toning it down some more and see if you like it. It might not apply to this version of the color sketch, but you can see for yourself. I think it could use some cooler colors.

Good luck with everything, hope you can find as much time as you’d like to work on this. I know the feeling! take care


wooooooooooooooooooooooow…great work so far dude…didn’t wach the thread lately but I’m amazed about what I see…love everything mate…the buildings are crazy and the colors too…try to add more details in the close area…more small ships would be cool too…but I think they are waiting to come later…dont they? work man…love it…cheers


This is gettin’ itense dude! Love your color choice. Very warm and mystirious:thumbsup:
I wish I was there!



WOW!!:eek: Do you do all your colouring in photoshop?
Do you know any painting tutorials i can check out. I am currently photoshop illiterate and i don’t even know how much time i have left in the challenge, but i know it’s not much!!:eek:


Hi everyone, it’s been far too long since the last update! I think I’ve got pretty much every evening this coming week free to concentrate on the pic so expect to see some daily updates from me. I’m looking forward to getting stuck back in to it.

I’ll write specific replies tomorrow. I just wanted to say a general thanks for the continued interest, and have noted that there are some fantastic entries developing now. Great stuff.

Laters :slight_smile:


Keeping an eye on the time left here! I’ll be leaving my PC and tablet on the 19th December to fly home to England, then returning to Italy on the 7th of January, leaving me only twelve days from now and another ten days after I get back! It’s suddenly become a deceptively short amount of time, so I thought I might as well push on and begin to render this out.

And I’ll be checking the threads while I’m away, and will try to keep track of all the wonderful pics that are starting to come to fruition.

Also at this late stage, I’ve still got the nagging feeling that the pic needs one of two things: either the main ship needs to read much more clearly as if it’s about to take off, or I need some sort of added interest in the form of another element. I had thought of putting the side of a building with a balcony and people celebrating on the right hand side, but the composition is quite heavy over there anyway, I’m not sure it could handle it. It leaves me with some nagging questions, and I don’t really want to extend the canvas anywhere else because of the limited time and I like the composition as is. Hmmm. Any thoughts you lot?

So, I’m beginning to paint out the line art, increasing contrast in some areas, I’ve added a slight colour gradient cooling off the horizon slightly, and made the shadow areas a bit cooler too. Lots of little things. The foreground is a bit unbalanced detail wise, some of the distances - i.e. the close building strut and the nearest part of the upper plateau need separating, but that’s a minor thing and will be left to the final touches stage.

So, some mixed feelings at this stage, but I’m still enjoying it and that’s the most important thing, isn’t it. Publish and be damned, that’s what I say!


jealousy cramp urgh… jealousy ache …ngrrhh… * awe stroke* AWzzchhh…


Squibbit - Ha, love it. Thanks man.

Garma - Detail, hot and being served up now.

Angelbait - Flatterer! :blush: I still have a lot to learn, but that’s the joy of it. Set your sights higher than me, you can get there. Practice, patience, the basics are the key. Thanks…

LuisNCT - I’m glad you do, thanks for posting!

Codenothing - Monochromatic, it is a bit. I’m planning to put more colour in there, but subtly. Less is more. Big golden sunset tends to dominate everything.

Adonihs - Cheers!

Impenetrable D - Way too long, being on this challenge from hour 1. More sketches than strictly necessary too…

W!L - I think my process gives a greater illusion of control than I really have! But thanks!

Steve - Hello again, always appreciate your timely advice. Values, I start off with a black and white layer that seems to read well to me, then I’ll put a number of layers set to ‘color’ on top and sweep some gradients (one colour fading to transparent) across the pic, erasing where elements overlap - say the main ship prong reaching up over the horizon etc. One thing that really tends to help is to have a topmost layer which I pour a solid (or subtle gradient) colour which will be the dominant colour overall, and set this to multiply and adjust the opacity so it doesn’t darken the pic too much. This isn’t as destructive as it sounds because the point of values is that they hold a relative value to each other within your 0 - 100% luminance range. You can push them right down towards black or bleach them right out quite severely and the pic will still ‘work’.
As to the whole ship / building / ground issue. I’m on it, hopefully it’ll become sorted, your ideas here are sound I think. The light rays… not sure that the perspective is wrong since the verticals in the pic are so crazy it’s hard to imagine what’s right! Again, thanks a lot.

Techart - Thanks man, details on their way.

Tommy - Nice, I’m glad you like it. It would be quite something to attend wouldn’t it? Cheers!

NewCenturydsn - All colouring in photoshop. It takes a while to learn and seems lacking things like blender brushes but they are sometimes overly tempting to use. A bit seductive, like the dark side. As to general advice, where do I begin? I would always recommend taking your line art (which is strong, I saw it recently) and work on a smaller version of it only in black and white. Get it to look right in monochrome - you’ll surprise yourself at the immediate improvement this will bring to your final pic, and most people are intuitive at seeing if it’s right or wrong in monochrome. This is where you think about your light sources. Complete your value study first, don’t skip over areas you haven’t got right because they’ll be the ones to cause problems and frustration later on. Colour is very tricky to get right, so I’d recommend a simple two tone scheme when you get to it, with some local and subtle variation. Subtlety is the key, texture. Research traditional art. Learn about edges (hard, soft, lost). Sorry, you asked a bit of a general question here, I tried to think about what might directly help you in this challenge! Hope this made some sense.

Bedtime! :wavey:


OH man, this composition is beautiful. I haven’t checked up on your progress lately, and boy did I miss much. Great work! I love it!


Jesus Christ!
Excellent painting, my friend!