Grand Space Opera 2D Entry: Jesse Speak


Hey there! I could do with some opinions on this if you’ve got a minute!

I’ve been really putting off work on the main ship and thought I’d try something a little more drastic. I removed the second of the close ships because it really didn’t add anything to the pic and was a little lost.

So that got me thinking about making the main ship look about to launch, then after my girlfriend said the image was technically good but lacking the drama that so many of the other entries had, I thought about doing something drastic. Like the ship launching from underground and shooting out of the launch tube like a bullet! A very very massive bullet!

So this is a rough idea of how it might look. I lowered the overall value of the image so that the brightest spot, and hence the focus, will be the thick beams of pure light. I’m in two minds as to take this path, but I like the idea of bringing some of the power and drama of the earlier sketches.

I’d really appreciate some feedback on this!


wow impressive


Denman - thanks! Do you reckon I should go with the hole in the ground or the earlier version though?


personally I feel this one is best so far (at least for me)

not to sure about the whole in the ground, with another composition it would perhaps be a bit more effective, but I can’t say it really adds any more drama like it is at the moment, just my opinion though :shrug:

Edit: just went back a bit further, quite liked the one with the steam too


Incredible stuff all the way along…I would go with your instincts and try the Launch look…maybe instead of pure white add another colour say blue or whatever with shafts of light thrusting up to the sky…then you can add some cool bounced light on the main ship and emphasis it more…hope that helps…

(My Grand Space Opera Challenge page)


I think I preffered it without the launch. What about the older composition but have the ship venting and building to launch?

I have always thought that your image had a wonderful sense of awe and discovery to it, and yes, a sense of drama. You may want to play up those attributes rather than trying to retrofit a more dramatic event (like the ship launching like a massive bullet) into the image.

When I see this piece I think of the opening to Blade Runner… a massive future spectacle unfolding before my eyes… I’d say it’s succesful on it’s own, existing merits.

Great stuff!


FlyingP - I appreciate your thoughts there. I’m kind of with you in that my personal preference is for the enigmatic, the contemplative etc etc. I did think the earlier pics were more ‘me’, but then I’m trying to consider that this is a GSO: drama, lights, action all mixed in there so I’m taking that route against my instincts! Cheers…

6800AD - Thanks for that! I’m kind of going against my insticts here but I think I’ll keep it. I reckon with a bit more work to integrate this blinding light into the scene - reflecting around, lighting the buildings up it’ll sit better with me. This is just a rough and ready start. I like the idea of using blue, though it’ll be very subtle. Good idea though, it’ll really stop the light sources merging together. :thumbsup:


i think with the hole and the straight beams of light shooting down, it strangely looks
like the craft would already be flying at high speeds , even though the speed isn’t evident
by anywhere else than the beams… I still would go for the rims of light, smoke and steam…
or some support construct in the hole


CGKrusty - Ah, got in there while I was replying! Yes, yes, yes, I totally know what you are saying here, I am torn between the two. I’ve been messing around with venting gasses and stuff but never once found something that did it for me unfortunately. At least with this new approach it’s got some kapow factor.

Ah, Bladerunner, you pay me a great compliment there! My favourite SF film by far.

I do think that in this case it would be better to try and ‘fit the bill’ more rather than use my own preferences to guide me. I really appreciate what you’ve said though, thanks.


I like the first one(With Clouds!) more… The new one looks to forced…:shrug:

Hope that helps

Cheerz dude



to be honest and reading one or two of your last posts I really get the feeling your letting yourself be too influenced by other works. You are I believe trying to make this image fit into a new mould far too late. That aside I believe it can well be a GSO without huge explosions and intense drama, you earlier attempts had a great mood to them, an ‘anticipation’ if you will that I rather liked…actually cgkrusty described it better :smiley:


Squibbit - Yes, the aim would be for the ship to have begun takeoff underground, and to be moving at a fair pace at this point. I’m imagining vapour streams forming on the leading edges of fins etc etc. But ok, it does seem like the general consensus is a ‘no’ on this one. Thanks Squibbit, your comments are always a great help.

Tommy - That does help, I’m not sure if it looks forced because I haven’t worked it ‘into’ the pic yet, or if it really would benefit from reverting back to the previous version. Maybe I’m overreacting to the fact that early on the ‘ship’ blended seamlessly into the other structures and, well, the pic was of a crater, some buildings and a small craft was in the foreground. Not exactly GSO material.

Thanks everyone, this is exactly what I needed. I’m gonna think it over while I eat dinner. Talk about leaving it until the last minute! :eek:


i think you should fill the middle of the hole… so you have a “ring” in the ground…
do you feel me ? or should i make a sketch for you ?

anyways its an excelent peice of art


FlyingP - You make very valid points there. The new idea is at a very basic stage currently, I know I can work it in and make it look less like it was added at the last minute - I think I’ve got enough time to do that. Do you see what I mean though, even though it’s a nice technical pic, it’s like … a crater, some buildings, and a small ship. Just not operatic enough. I’m not one to follow others’ leads unless there is a good reason to do so, but in this case I’m simply thinking it needs more drama.

Ok, I’ll be back in a half hour, I’ll see how I feel. Much appreciated you lot… cheers!


A plate of spaghetti later and all is well again. Going to ditch the new idea after thinking it through a bit more. No more desperate moves from me I promise. Good advice you lot, many thanks!

Denman - No need to draw it, I can see where you are coming from. Good idea, but redundant now I’ve decided to stick with the way it was progressing before. Cheers all the same!


Continuing as before, minus the recent crisis of faith! No more gaping holes in the ground here.

Ok, I’ve removed the second of the closest ships because it added nothing and only made the scene more difficult to read. I’ve detailed out the lower half of the main ship a lot more, and revisited the idea of outgassing water vapour which goes a long way to covering up that so-so far crater wall where nothing of interest lay anyway.

The water vapour particles can really catch beams of light and bounce the light toward the viewer so I’ve made the most of the original ray of light that passes in between the main ship body and the nearest nacelle. Also, there is a subtle shadow in the water vapour to the rear caused by the left hand crater wall.

Well I’m a lot happier about the pic than I was a few hours ago, and feel that this outgassing pic is a lot more refined than the original rough version posted a while back!


Hi speaky,

very well said :slight_smile: - eating in between is a good formula. I should do this also.

I didn´t follow everything till my last post cause you can be proud of having many traffic and response here.

I would say that the strongest part of your image is devinetley the atmosphere you´ve build up with your light and colors. The output image you´ve posted again really invites me to explore and immerse the scene. I would try to keep that - no matter which things you will add furthermore.

For me without a doubt this is a strong image. Great work - but you know that :slight_smile:



I think you have done the right thing and continue on without that hole. The image works well as it is. It submerse the viewer into a WOW factor by not using action at all, and that is something that is very difficult to achieve. I’m not sure if it is too late now in the process to have a thought but just in case, that sun on the left is really blinding me. Its drawing my focus away from the center piece of attraction. Maybe that actually meant to work that way to give the sense its a sun and brings the whole environment alive. Great work and best of luck.


it looks perfect… ! nothing more to say… besides i wish i could make something like that :wink:


I think I’m about done with it, and I’m very happy with how it has turned out! I’m gonna hold off from posting it as the final image milestone for a couple of hours just to have a rest from it and then give it a final once-over before submitting.

The last stages have seen some quite substantial changes in terms of value. I overlaid a red layer at 10% set to ‘lighten’ which affects only those colours darker than it. This is to add a bit of atmospheric perspective to the image as a whole, and I masked off the ship closest to the camera. It’s true black ‘darkest darks’ help it pop out from the bg. Generally, I was getting a little heavy-handed with the darks in the main body of the pic, so I’ve taken steps to soften it, raise the value and move away from delineating shapes too strongly.

The main ship, likewise, has seen a lot of ‘lighten’ mode brush action in order to raise its darkest darks substantially. Firstly, it is a long way off, and secondly there is a lot of water vapour around it which tends to reflect light sources all over the place, meaning that the base of the ship is only really defined by strokes of lighter value. I dodged the vapour / light ray interactions to give them more of an effect, a nice glow. I’m happy with the way it’s turned out.

There are loads of areas I could noodle the details of until I was blue in the face, but I don’t reckon it would add anything so I’ll restrain myself!