Grand Space Opera 3D Entry: Stuart C Macdonald


Stuart C Macdonald has entered the Grand Space Opera 3D.

Challenge Page

Latest Update: Final Image: Storm Flight

Final image - ‘Storm Flight’

Just had some minor touching up to the sky background to do, otherwise it would’ve bugged me :slight_smile:

Good Luck all.


first stab at a concept…


looks very nice…the layout is great…but umm care to explain what is going on?..i see it but i don’t know the history, whats the story?


Hey folks, just like to say hello since I’m new around here, hopefully this’ll be a good learing experience for me… …was just writing this up when you beat me to the post FunkyMonkey…

First idea, a triple ring-world colony’s artificial sun ruptures, dooming the colony and forcing the people to flee in small lifepods as the colony tears itself apart in the jet from the broken sun’s shell.
I liked the idea of giving the pods a firefly swarm sort of feel with a view into a large holding area inside the colony hub containing clusters of the pods.
Like I said, just a first idea and an attempt at a wee colour thumb, something I’m not too experienced at, although I think the middle drawing has a but more energy about it…
The ring’s will need more detail work, that’ll come later, and perhaps i’ll look into getting a pod in the foreground witnessing the colony’s end.


I like what is going on in your scene, but I agree with mistermac, what kind of story you have in mind?

Great start!


This is a wee thumb I’ve coloured in just to try out a different layout as I felt the last one is a little two dimensional in orientation. Still not too sure about it though, I feel there needs to be much more dynamism in the composition, maybe some buckling and shearing of the rings would help…

The story of the image is a civilization fleeing it’s technological crowning glory - a ring world with it’s own artificial sun.
The globe of this ‘sun’ has ruptured and is tearing the structure apart as the forces and energies contained within it are violently expelled.
The people desperately take to small individual lifepods which are cast out into space away from the destruction…


this is looking SAWEET!! nice sketches! can’t wait to see the 3d of this…
good luck bro!



Thanks, I’m looking forward to the move to 3d. I’ll be more comfortable then as my digital painting/colouring isn’t too good and a bit too slow going, but if I can improve a wee bit i’ll be happy.
I’ve just been working with little 1 by 2 inch thumbs mostly to try and capture the composition.
I really need to work on a definite strong form for the pods as they’ll be approaching the foreground. I like the idea of little glowing bubbles containing the outline of a human survivor, but the rest will need some trying out.
I’ll try and get some more work posted tomorrow, I’ve got the day off work so I can spend some time other than burning the midnight oil :slight_smile:


Creating an emotional bond with the individuals inside the capsules is rather hard to do. I should feel bad for the poor souls, I should be moved by their fragile existance and afaird of the uncertainty they are about to face. Yet I dont feel that way. In fact I dont feel anything at all about any of these people,… which is where I think your comp. is falling short. Just from the visual composition, it would appear that these small yellow orbs arnt very significant at all, they occupy such a small space and are over dominated by the larger structures in the background.

Assuming that your main goal is the plight of the fleeing people, I think you should make there existance more up close and personal. Dont allow the viewer to not care about their fate. Dont be afraid to show the fear and deard these people feel, even if you have shove it down my throat. This mass exoduous shouldnt be a thing that happens every few generations,… it should have the wind of emergency, and the desgin of the composition should show evidance of this.

Either way it is a good start for the challenge.

Best of luck.


I sort of agree with Wazar. Perhaps in the foreground lower right you could see into a pod passing just by the camera and see the occupants looking back at what they are leaving…

Regardless, excellent concept.

Good luck.



Just want to say that I love the idea of the swarm of ship. I’ve seen these mounting of butterflies in swarms and it’s looked cool…anyway, good luck with that and the more ships the better!!


Wow, great sketches. I really like the idea and layout of your ringworld concept. Larry Niven would be proud.

I look forward to your progress!


Some nice feedback, thanks all.
I was thinking the same about needing to depict the humans’ plight a little clearer. On further thought I figured it would be more compelling to show a couple of survivors in the pod rather than an individual. I like th idea of the pods glowing as if they contain fluid, kind of embryonic containers. It woul dgive a nice murky lighting to the figures as well…
The rings I decided to fracture a little more, as this allows some sections to sit between the ‘sun’ lightsource and the viewer and adds to the destruction of the structure.
Think it’s starting to get there.


I like the new direction but I would still say that this scene needs more humans. The idea of using a couple is very good, as it makes their fate seem all the more fragile. As an addtion also consider making the humans disoriented and unaccustommed to their “new” enviorment, as this will make it clearer that these people are in trouble.


wow this is great! it has potential for 2d and 3d art, and your concepts really show that. the camera angle you have chosest latest works really well, and the colours too. keep it coming!



Thanks again for the responses folks. Just another quick update. I was thinking of getting it a little more dynamic in composition. 'Fraid my painting skills are far too rusty so I might start pushing the design further with some basic modelling so I can show the ring’s scale with some details on teh surfaces.



I like the new composition a lot, the whole liner/vertical thing is working well…as for the pod with the humans, maybe it can be closer and higher up, so you can see the people better.



[rant] okay … you can’t say " i got poor 2d skills " anymore in this thread … cause i like em and i’m not the only one … i was caught by their color/composition and they truely project well what you are trying to convey, meaning that they are fairly precise as well

you may not like em or you may be not that fast but hey, drawing is drawing and re-drawing … the most used tool in photoshop is the eraser [/rant]

love the idea … AND THE DRAWINGS … welcome to the boards and will be following :thumbsup:


Thanks for the interest guys.

HieSpike… yeah, I agree, I think I do need to pull a pod in a lot closer, and maybe 2 or 3 behind that you can still see human forms in. The pod designs I’m working on should help the whole ‘stream of ships’ look as well hopefully.

Pigwater… hehe, okay I apologise. Thanks for the interest and the welcome :slight_smile:

Been working on some pod/ship designs, i’ll get 'em posted tomorrow hopefully…


Right, this is the first pod ship design idea.
I figured a stream of insect/aquatic style ships from the colony would look more dynamic rather than simple spherical pods. There’s 2 more to come but I feel this is the best and simplest so far. I think using a warm colour scheme on the pod will maintain the colour balance in the composition.