Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak


I’m not sure I would know even now that that’s a big ship if I hadn’t read all of the posts - in part because it’s so similar in color & value to the architectural elements - but man, is that shadow over the new clouds cool! Good luck with it (and sorry I can’t be more helpful!)



Why not use the same visual cues you are using on the smaller ship on the large one? Different material, green glowy propolusion system…maybe even work in some of the interesting curves you have into the design. Part of the problem is that it looks like it’s cut from the same cloth as the city around it design-wise. The smoke helps a bit I think, and I’m sure you’ll be able to render it well enough, but It might just end up looking like a smoking building. I think I would prefer this with less smoke and a clearer, more functional design.


“master of clouds” haha, hardly :p, I’ve only been seriously studying clouds for the past month, I’ve got a lot to learn. But, I’ll humbly try and help:hmm: i think you have it down pretty well. You’ve got quite the sense of atmosphere and volumetric air already… so just think of clouds as reeaally volumetric air. It’s saturated more when backlit, straight on light is less saturated. In an area of shadow on the cloud, if their are more clouds lit up behind it, there will be a nice vibrant glow of (probably in your case orange/red) especially in the creases between the ‘blossoms’ of cloud. One thing I’ve picked up is in direct light, it’s the tops of the ‘blossoms’ (sorry, can’t think of a better word at the moment!) that are lit up, naturally, and the bases behind the light get really dark. In Shadow, the tops of the blossoms are darker when backlit, and when not backlit, the creases are darker and the tops are light (because of global/radiant/atmospheric light). I probably made no sense just now, but feel free to ask.
Remember also that the clouds themselves will cause a shift in light, they’ll block the light completely or mute it down a little. Anything that’s more dense than the atmosphere will cause change in how the atmosphere is lit. The clouds will cause a shadow ray, and in the clouds farther from the viewer, maybe even shadow rays on itself. It’s been very useful for me in the past to think of atmospheric rays not just as ‘light rays,’ but a combination of dark and light rays. When one thinks of just ‘light’ rays, then the image can get sort of dull. absence is just as powerful as presence

alright, now that I just got done ranting about tips on the cloud, I want to address blackarts comment

I think that he may be right. I do think the steam/clouds really help seperate the ship from the city, but mayby some more experimentation with placement and amount of. The river and waterfal look absolutely amazing and real. (I’m not sure the reason for the waterfall falling into the launchpad however, where does it go?), but the smoke right now seems as though it might just be mist that’s caused by the watefall.

Here’s what I really think would work. Maybe tone down the clouds a little bit and see if that helps, play around with it. Add some vents of steam ON the ship, so you see it’s DEFINITELY coming from the ship, like on the tower part. Maybe 2 or 3 small vents placed to your liking following the wind. Also, like blackarts said, it looks like its a skyscraper of the city, that cathedral looking place in the lower right almost looks like its extension. I would definitely think that if you made some parts of the ship more smooth, more dome-like to relate the structure with the already flying, already recognizable smaller ships. The green glows would work too, but very modestly. Also, what always helps is some warning/notice/whatever you call those lights like on the tips of plane wings and such that blink. Maybe add one to the tip and other locations. Play around with those ideas and see what you can come up with. It’s looking great, don’[t forget to focus some on the top right as well, it will really help add some interest to the whole scene and grandness
awesome work, I’m thoroughly enjoying it!
take care

(and sorry for the long posts, I’m glad you appreciate them, but I just have so many thoughts flying around in my head and then I end up rant, so take from it what you can and ignore the rest!)


The idea of adding clouds is good, but I think you must try with less solid clouds: more transparent and diffuse except in their source.


looking at it again, I’m convinced that the clouds need to be less. The watefall could have some thick spray (look at referance pics for that), but coming out of the jets should be small, subtle outsprays of steam, as if it’s not taking off yet (if it were taking off, these ships would not be allowed in the flying zone :wink: ), just as if it were cooling the engines, venting heat buildup, something, but subtle coming distinctly out of each engine and other select parts of the ship.
For later development pics of this scene/story, would be interesting to create some launchpics

take care and look forward to an update


Speaky, I think the idea of the gas leaks or water vapours or whatever oyu decide they’re gonna be is a splendid idea, it will really bring some sort of conflict into the visual story.

I think Steve is right too, less is more. Maybe higher up the tower have the steam come out, I’d really hate to see that waterfall get pushed out of the tunnel of vision, it’s quite stunning. maybe have some lesser smaller leaks coming from some other spots in the lower right corner from the lower platform, (I hope you get what i mean) As though the vapours have released in a few different spots, have the center of attention to the tower though, i think that works.
:buttrock: :beer:


by far one of the best images i have seen. fits the topic 100%

not crits from me.

mybe you can give me some :stuck_out_tongue: on my latest update


Jesse that is fantastic detail. I love it. Looks like your almost done :thumbsup:


Long time didtn post anything here, mostly coz I havent got anything to crit or add. But I was present at ur thread all the time of ur procedure :slight_smile: A very nice one! ANd finally I found something that bothers me, at the last submission of urs. That steam/smoke really doesnt fit into the pic in my opinion. At least not in this amount. It looks desturbing at the moment, althought that is only a 10min put-in. I thing it also dont help to imagine the scale of the pic… If u want to put a steam into the pic (which will bring some nice action, true) I suggest u use less opacy brushes, and make rather lots of small smoke chains, than one big messy cloud of it. I hope I am understandable and I wish I helped a bit :slight_smile: Very good work otherwise! Its so much fun following ur thread!


More big ships.Very nice.sorry my terrible eng.


its a pleasing image but i don’t get the feeling somthing is about to happen .the clouds you have to much of a painterly stlye i think try a softer brush tuo build up the volume those that are being overcast by that building are covered by so much shadow makes them look flatened, you need to work on there tranlucancy .

my space opera


Hello everyone, I just wanted to wish you all a happy christmas. I didn’t get much of a chance to update my pic before the holiday so I’ll have to try and pick up the pieces when I get back around the 5th January. Hopefully inspiratation will strike as to the best way of resolving the ship / building issue, but thanks to all of you for your help and suggestions, and enjoy your holidays too!



hey it looks really awesome… i think you could try to increase the immenence of it by making the two ships seem as though they were waiting for something, rather than moving off… and maybe more atmos in the top left like some haze drifting off the scene? keep up the good work!


You are my favourite, just keep adding detail. Rock cracks, couds puffs, detail detail, come on, prize is yours in 2D…(and my in 3d:-)


hi, if you are still pondering the clouds/vapour question, you could consider flipping the direction of it round (in your test towards top right) so that it then is coming towards the viewer. Could help emphasise the motion of the image. Actually could be very interesting if you portrayed it very gently, like a thin mist thickening, but in nature like volcanic ash flow or nitrogen dioxide which run across the level of the ground then rises at the edges. This would fit with your composition too. Just a thought…


A Happy New Year to everyone! After a long absence I’ve finally made it back to my PC and really need to sort my entry out seeing as the deadline is a mere 9 days away.

What I’ve tried here is to edge away from the orange look and tried to concentrate the colour and light more in the upper left of the pic. I’m toying with the idea of adding a building in the lower right which is catching the sunlight full on, with a balcony and people celebrating (or someone waving a banner etc etc). Talk about entering a world of pain at this late stage!

Anyway, the main problem still stands that the ‘ship’ was blending in with the surrounding buildings. What I’ve tried here is to remove the physical bridge between the ship and the nearest building (it was supposed to be a loading gantry of some sort). I’ve also reduced the stature of the other buildings and even lopped off a whole section I didn’t like. This is all in an attempt to stop them competing with the main ship.

I’m a bit worried that the image is so fundamentally flawed that no matter how much I tart it up the actual content will remain a bit bland and unclear. And this kinda ruins the pleasure of actually working on it and that’s really the whole point for me. I’m seriously considering scrapping this and going for one of the later ship takeoff concepts I did (the simpler 2D ones).


heyheyhey crrraazzzy , don’t go back to another pic , gotta figure this one out somehow !

thinkthinkTHINK .x,mcnbvmcxnbbrzncccccchh…


Hi Speaky,

Squibbit is right. Set the focus on this one. The mood and perspective view is great.
Maybe it needs more activity but thats a matter of finetuning.



Hi there! What about twister like flying spaceships around the main building in the center? That would make th pic with lot of action and dynamics. Just a suggestion, but anyways it looks really good, so dont worry. U’ll make it up the way it should be :slight_smile: Good luck!


how about adding a sharp rim of glow below the warming engines… and a bit
more discernible fumes rising up from the engines and gliding in the around the buildings…

I’m toying with the idea of adding a building in the lower right which is catching the sunlight full on, with a balcony and people celebrating (or someone waving a banner etc etc). Talk about entering a world of pain at this late stage!

-heh , you could try it at sketch level at least , you could also try a couple of taller
buildings in the yellow area, making big shadows :slight_smile:

you could put serpentine and other paperstuff flyin in the air all about…