Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak


Jesse, thanks for the input. I’ll definitaly take it to heart, i’ve seen in my travels, that many other artists, finish their black and white’s before adding colour. ex;Alex Ross

It never seems to occur to me to do so. I guess i see the finished product in my head and go for the kill.

Thanks again, 40+ days left, you might as well throw another pic out:D , even though the one you have is definatly 1st place material.
Keep your eyes to the…screen?

Uh… yeah


Just popping in to give my support, this is looking to be an amazing image…love it :thumbsup:


Is this a teaser for all of us here before you put the final touches when you come back from your break? Oh no now we all have to wait, but at least there is something to look forward to. One suggestion to the master of this challenge… clarity on the waterfall would be good. At the moment I can vaguely see it, to anyone whom haven’t read the story would see this as only a great artwork and probably would only picture part of the story. The connection of the water and the ship is somehow not conversing this one message. Behind this image is a great story and needless to say its already a fantastic master piece whatever stroke you place on to it. Just can’t wait to see the new updates when you get back! Travel safe and Merry Christmas.


Yes . . . just a slight amount of more detail to waterfall. As for more stuff i am not sure it needs it. . . It has a great feel right now as is. People on balconys not a bad idea… culd try it… ot some sort of firwaoks, flare typr thing being set of, nothing overbearing just subtle. Maybe?

Anyway love the atmosphere and i can not believe you are worrying ab0out time… I still do not know what it is i am doing.


WOW! Impressive! I think that adding some figures of othr tiny detail is good idea. It gives good feeling of scale to the image. You shouldn’t worry abotu the time. Your image already looks great.


hi, such a massively popular thread. i see why. If it were me, I’d add a very subtle vapour trail or heat adjustment (you know that wibblywobbly effect above a car bonnet or fire) behind the ships to suggest interaction with enviornment and a bit of their direction/motion. They seem to be hanging there a bit at the moment. anyway, not much else I can say. Look forward to more :slight_smile:


Your pict is really nice and I love it ! But I agree with you that there could be maybe a couple of thing missing yet…
I have two suggestions, I hope it will be helpful :
1- You could colour with a special tint the ship in the center of the scene, to have it detached from the background, otherwise, no object appears really clearly in this totally brown ambience.
2- There is a lot of sharp shapes, but no smooth objects like smog or clouds. maybe you could add some of it, another way to create contrast between objects.
Anyway good luck and good holydays.:scream:


Lots of small details added, some structures casting shadows on the upper plateau. I’m trying to find the right level of detail for the closest ground buildings which will convince the eye that there’s more to see but won’t distract from what’s really going on. I wanted some more vertical elements here too, and I’ve got a few shadows implying largish structures just out of frame. I’m a lot happier with this area now, it’s beginning to please me and I feel the light is working nicely.

I’ve been fiddling around with the contrast and saturation a lot too, trying to push both on the main ship (still not reading well, but fingers crossed it will soon) so that they stand out. And I’ve pushed back the foreground tall strut building and, well, almost everything behind it to some extent. I found the buildings in the lower right corner where the shaft of light is striking them to compete for attention, so I lowered the contrast in this area.

Things for next time: those buildings behind and to the right of the main ship are a bit… bad. Need to sort them out. Got to think about the horizon, but I just can’t work out wether it should be straight, curved a bit or curved a lot. I reckon it might even harm the composition so I may just leave it fogged.


nice enviroment you got going on here, it’s looking great.

-I agree with Arctis, I would give a slightly different material to the central big ship. It reads to me as just another building. Maybe the engines are getting ready to fire and are generating smoke or something liek that?

  • I think you could leave the horizon fogged, it looks fine as is

  • Some more small ships flying around might help convey the importance of this event?


Airborn - Hey there, thanks man.

Lula-assassina - Cheers!

Newcenturydsn - Doing sketches in black and white is well worth a go, and really doesn’t have to take much time at all. Start with a thumbnail of your lineart, only 400 pixels long will do. Set this layer to ‘multiply’ so that the black values (your lines) are preserved, put a layer underneath this and fill it with a medium grey. Then pick a darker grey, start blocking in the elements in shade etc. Then a lighter grey for the big areas that are catching some light. Then a near black for things really close to the camera, or stuff that really is in shadow. Then white (sparingly!) for your light sources and planes that can pick up the light case from these. Time - 5-10 minutes. What you are looking for are clearly defined silhouettes, no detail whatsoever, you should be able to see really clearly how the general composition will work. Then if you want to spend some time finding inbetween values and work some subtlety into it, go for it. Finally, on a layer above your lineart, ‘overlay’ mode is quite good here, pour a colour or a gradient into it. I guess next you could have a normal layer above this and eyedropper colours and start to change them subtly.This lets you start planning your colours. This way you put luminance values first, and colour is a secondary priority, the best way to make it read successfully. What I found before I did this was I’d get luminance and saturation mixed up, the eye can be fooled into thinking a vivid colour is brighter and that leads to all sorts of problems! Ah… there I go writing an essay again, sorry if I bang on about this too much!

Element5 - as ever, thanks for your supportive comments, they spur me on!

Ecura - Cheers! Ah, rumours of my holiday have been slightly misplaced, I’m not off just yet! Your comments about the waterfall made me tackle it tonight, you were absolutely right, it needed it! So thank ye.

W!L - Waterfall thanks to you too! Come on man, get stuck in to your pic, I’ll pop over to your thread and see what you’re up to. Thanks, as always, for dropping by.

Kalen - Figures will be problematic because of the scale. You’re right, they’d help, but I showed how naff my figure drawing is in earlier sketches so probably for the best!

Bolchover - It’s certainly tempting to add some kind of trails to them, but I find them a bit cheesy. I may experiment with some very subtle heat haze on the nearest craft though, good idea.

Arctis - Both great suggestions, I’ll seriously consider them. I’m going for very subtle (bar the glowing green drives) colour variations in this one because of the time of day in the pic. Not really conducive to standout colours, but there may be a way. Nice idea about the clouds, may well explore that idea in a future revision. Thanks!


Blackarts - You slipped in after I started the reply! Damn your pic is good, and something about the hero’s skirt (sorry!) gives him that kind of Braveheart kilt type effect. Very heroic and grand. As to a different material for the main ship, that makes a lot of sense and it’s on my mind at the moment. The way it’s similar to the other buildings is proving problematic, I know. Actually, I’ve put a few extra ships in, but they are only blobs currently. I’ll very likely make the mid distance a lot busier, and think a bunch of subtle smaller lights will help too. Thanks for stopping by!


It’s great, all the details looks cool. I like the lights and shadows in the spaceships.

Gran Space Opera -


Wow. What great work you’ve done so far. Super lighting, color, perspective and comp. Nice the way the green lighting breaks up the image in a way. This image=total awesomeness.


How about posting a bigger version so people can see those juicy details? - this one’s so itty bitty.


good:thumbsup: keep


Looks fantastic! Where can I book the air ticket to see the amazing waterfall in person?


Very Tasty! I love all the details. The whole waterfall/sea idea is just awesome. Excellent!


:eek: :eek: excellent work


Another for the short list! Beautiful image!! :eek: I’ve really enjoyed watching the evoloutin from the sketches.
As for the horizon, IMHO, a very , very slight curve with a bit less fog ( maybe some larger cloud formations on the horizon ). I think too sharp a curve kills the scale.



I’ve been trying all sorts of ways to make the picture seem more imminent, as if something really momentous is just about to happen. It’s been one of the major issues with this pic and I’ve been wrestling with it for the past hour or so.

I’ve tried giving the nacelles glowing lights, and lines of gleaming around its base as if it were powering up but it began to look like a disco. I’ve tried simply changing the colour of the ship but actually I think this doesn’t work as well as it could have if I’d sorted this in an earlier stage.

The most successful option in my opinion was to have some kind of outgassing or water vapour. What seemed to look best initially were forceful steam vents dotted regularly around the perimeter of the structure the ship is sitting on, but this ruined the composition and diminished the waterfall a lot.

So I imagined this more gentle outgassing, really the preliminary stages before proper thrust is applied, which would spread out violently all over the lower plateau. This way I can have it carried off to the right by the wind, preserve the waterfall AND cover up those buildings I don’t like. Seems like a solution with promise.

So, this is a quick 10 minute scrub-over to see how it might work, and I’d appreciate some crits on this idea. I think I could do something pretty nice with the shadow cast over the clouds by the main turret, and the ‘sunbeam’ which shoots behind the closest nacelle would really light up the cloud it passed through. Steve, master of clouds, got any tips on this?