Strange Behavior (Illustration) Entry: Mark David


The comp and all the details now show in all their glory - cool bananas!

Perhaps you could try to increase the light a bit to make it more obvious he’s taking a sun bath. But what do I know, the radiation in outer space could maybe be such that it’d work anyway.

And I had to look up that word “mullet” - haha, we call it hockey-hairdo here (since hockeyplayers are the last remaining types to wear it) I’m glad to hear you’ve cut your off :smiley:


looking awesome Mark! You are almost there, just some light tweaking and “more” background, and voila, I wish I could see a huge poster of this work, you know,
like A3 format, with some funny text underneath! Sorry, daydreaming again!
Keep up mate!


Hey David, I keep forgetting to mention, and It could be mentioned already: The red of the umbrella is very bright and spotless, maybe very faint stains can fit it better into the rest of the scene? Also, the patch part of the umbrella takes my attention from the guy a little, feels like rotating it to a different spot could clear around the hippy, so we could see him better? lighting is so smooth and delicious btw… feel free to ignore :D…


You know I have to agree with Jeff about turning the umbrella I was thinking the same thing. Also I agree with Gunilla about cranking the light up, on the other hand maybe the light coloured background is making it seem not as sun drenched as normal in space scenes?. But did you say you were done with rendering the ship? Oh well, no worries, it looks fantastic. The better an image gets the easier it is to niggle about details since it doesn’t have the multitude of problems a less worthy project has.

Hey Gunilla around here we always used to call that look hockey hair too.


Per, it’s always great to see you around buddy. Thank you for your comments. The lighting you mention is definitely a big issue. Because I’ve chosen to make the surfaces faded and grubby there would be no lovely shine or specular highlights and that is contributing a lot towards the flat look you mention. But I’m tempted to do some post-work cheating to bring some highlights out. Thanks for your really kind words

I fully understand how you could already be overstretched with work too - 5 or 6 different projects is enough to overload anyone. So take care of yourself buddy - you don’t want your impressively-high standards to suffer by taking on even more pressures

Hey thanks for your ongoing support - such a shame we can’t watch your own thread develop but it’s great that we still get to see you dropping in for visits. You raise a good point about the lighting. It’s funny because when I turn off the background the spaceship suddenly seems strongly lit again. Turn the background back on and spaceship appears all dark and flat again. Grrrr… That’s made even more an issue by the lack of shine and faded, flat paintwork on the spaceship, and then made even worse with the new, bright background which I’m working on. If I crank up the lighting even further I’d start blowing out big chunks of the scene out with too much light, but like I was saying to Per, I’ve got an idea on how to bring up some highlights without killing it.

Thank you buddy. I really appreciate the encouragement you’ve given since the start of this. Yep, I’m going to see if I can tweak the lighting, not in another complete render of all the bits (which will take days) but in some post work. Photoshop allows for some handy tweaks to be done

Thank you! I’d never ignore your comments mate. I’ve been thinking about the umbrella a fair bit since you mentioned it and I will make some changes. I want the umbrella to look like it’s the most recent addition to hippynaut’s environment, and hippynaut unfolds it and takes it back indoors after each use. Which is why it might get torn (thus the patch) but not faded. But I agree it looks a little too clean to believe. So I’ll fix that

Thanks buddy. You are soooo right about the background giving an impression of the foreground not being brightly lit. And it gets worse when I make the background brighter (which I want to do). It might be tempting to say, hey it’s not my fault - that’s what happens when a scene has a bright background. Or I could get to work and make a better artwork out of it. I think the choice is pretty obvious. Yes that’s right, I’ll spit the dummy and say, it’s not my fault… Hahah no seriously, thanks for your opinion. Like I was saying to the others, I’m going to tweak some stuff in post work and also tweak that umbrella. After that I should be pretty close


Here’s the post work I referred to in the last post.

I’ve turned up the sunlight and brought a sweat to hippynaut’s complexion. I’ve also increased the intensity of the shading, to minimise the ‘flat’ look I was getting.

I’ve also rotated the umbrella a bit and added some grime to it

  • Mark


Great update Mark. I think the scene isn’t that badly lit, but it does look a little muted. The issue maybe that the background colour is very close in the spectrum to the ship colour which will result in the ship looking under lit, even though it isn’t, as they share the same colour space. If you changed the background colour to something more oposite in the spectrum things should start to pop. As an example notice how the red umbrella in your scene seems to be dominant and bright due to it being almost oposite in the colour spectrum to the blue background. My workflow, when lighting an image, is to start with a desaturated image, get the values right then do the colour tweeking like mensioned above. Just some thoughts, i know you have your own plan and finding the balance for the final is always hard. Good luck, it’s one of my favorite entries.

Steve 8)


Hey thank you Steve for such a thoughtful post. I appreciate that a lot.

You’re right about the umbrella standing out - that’s been a big part of my plan to draw the eye to that part of the scene where the ‘strange behavior’ is taking place.

With the idea of having a background in an opposing part of the spectrum, that again is an example of ‘great minds thinking alike’. I’ve even already made a reddish background sky/nebula to make the greenish hull pop out, as you say. And it did stand out too. But that’s when I was surprised by how heavy and dark the foreground suddenly looked. I also realised that an object flying through a red sky should also be cast with red light. I don’t mind breaking the laws of physics if I get a nice illustration but this time I wasn’t able to do it. I have no doubt you would have done something much different and better.

A few others mentioned that things were looking a bit flat too, so that’s why I’ve brightened things up.

By the way, I really like the workflow you use which you described. That’s an elegant method.

Anyway, the cool thing is that all my post work is adjustable - it’s all been done non-destructively and I just have to drag a bunch of sliders to see it fade in and out. All the specularity, dark areas and saturation and brightness can now be adjusted in real time to suit whatever background I choose. When I finally choose a background.

But I think it’s starting to get close now.


bro … i sincerely love your attention to detail! :eek: top notch with a generous dollop of humour! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:


Whoooo Mark, sorry for being away lately man!!!Been surfing the threads but never really had the time to start doing page by page and answering…and whooooooo, your artwork became so,sooo nice!
Love it!Love it and love it!
One and only comment would be that the right half of the ship is much more colored then the left one.
Can’t wait to see the background you’ll come up with!
Great work again and one of my fav’s definitely!

CHeers Budddy!


This is superb, lots to look at. Loving it Mark :thumbsup: Loving it!


Hey Mark, really great changes !!! (and more and more I am convinced to enlist me to the academy of hippy space cadets !!! yeaaa!!:buttrock: :smiley: ) The umbrella is really great with the new hard light. Perhaps a more hard rim light in the gas barrel behind the hyppynaut and the farest exhaust, but you can make this when your background be ready, to gain deep and separate the spaceship from the background if be necessary :slight_smile: . I dont need to say that your work is awesome, … but … is … awesome!!! my friend!!! Cheers!! :beer:


Hey Neville, thanks so much buddy. It sure is great to have you back. I hope your foot is getting better

Ah, another mate who’s returned! I’m delighted to see you’re keen to take your entry to the finish.

You’re totally right about the right part of the ship being coloured and the left part left grey. I left that part grey because I figured that was the ‘business end’ of the ship where all the heat and exhaust from rocket burns would make painting impractical. Now I can’t even believe I’m saying that, because pretty much all of what I’ve depicted here would be impractical or even impossible. But then I guess it will make a bit more sense in the end

That is very kind of you. Thank you

Thank you. Your suggestion is noted! I’m about to post a new update showing what could be the sky background at last. I’d be keen to know if you think that hard rim you mention will still be needed


(click on the image to see it at higher resolution)

To say that the background has gone through a bit of evolution would be a big understatement.

The thing is, with all that foreground detail I have to be careful not to let the background look messy as well or else the whole thing stops working.

I’ve been playing with a combination of nebulas and asteroids, but I’m sorry to say that I’ve dropped the idea of asteroids - they were competing too much with the foreground detail and generally complicating the composition too much. But I wanted a sense of structure and interest in the background. And I admit I wanted to have a bit of fun with it too.

So to make the spaceship contrast and stand out, I tried a reddish sky/nebula. But it looked really odd. I think we know instinctively that if something is surrounded by a red sky then it should be cast with red light, and because I wasn’t doing that the spaceship stood out but it also looked like it didn’t belong in the scene.

So I found myself settling on this one. It has enough weirdness and psychedelic colour for the hippynaut, but its simplicity and colour also allows the hippy scene with the red umbrella to draw the eye. Because this scene really is about the ‘strange behavior’ and it’s essential that the hippy be the centre of attention

  • Mark


Hey Mark, I love your background design, really cool my friend!!:thumbsup:

Perhaps the aqua green colour of the nebula is like the spaceship´s green tone and that lost a bit contrast between them. Please try this with your posted image: low the bright and rise the contrast (if you have PS CS3 make this without legacy option for a better test) … that be a nice guide to gain volume on the nebula and thin and transparent zones on the nebula to see the “cold black space” and bright starts :smiley: And the contrast with the space ship will be great. You can make a test with blue to purple colours on the nebula ( yes… purple haze man!! what can be more hippy? … I love Jimmy Hendrix… hahahahaha :smiley: )

About the rim ligth… forget it. I think you need a hard shadow from down the socks to to the middle motor exhaust low part, in a bit diagonal line and following the contours of the ship, that dont cross the hyppy deck (you can make a little tests with photoshop).

Again, really great work my friend! Cheers!! :beer:


Oh, I got to admit a had to try what ferx said and I think it works well… the raised contrast gives much dept to te scene and the darkened colors help to integrate with the level of sahdow the spaceship already has.
and yes, tried the purple haze too and was real sweet! at least you can use a bit of it in some areas of the space…

Anyway you go from here, I got to say I like this new groovy space background more than the previous black ones, it helps a lot to the concept and is a great eye candy!!


Delicious background! After seeing “journey begins”, I had no doubt you would find the
right formula for this one too, and you masterfully did!
Love the interaction between the Emarald and purple, just about the right hue and sat!
Perhaps some small modification and vips, another masterpeice by mdavid!
Gorgive me for being a little bit stupid, but in case you are going to drop the idea of
helmet, wouldn’t it be nice to have a seagull sitting on the front rod/antenna! I mean
those darn birds are everywhere! and the white feathers would fit great into the back-

Way to go, Mark!
keep up!



Great background Mark! I much prefer this part of space he is at now. Looks like a more enjoyable galaxy to spend time in. The ship stands out fine this way to with a brighter background. You could maybe consider making the ship a bit smaller to emphasize the vastness of the space around him.

  Looking at the ship now I notice something I didn`t  see before. There is something weird with the perspective

By the look of the engines at the back it looks like the ship is coming towards us, but looking at the front cockpit it looks like that part is facing slightly away from us again

But I guess traveling trough to many wormholes at light speed can doo that to your ship

  Never mind, It might be me having had too much coffee and too little sleep lately. :)

Looking like you are real close to the finish line now buddy!:thumbsup:


looking awesome Mark!


hey Mark,

Really like this idea of urs… and this is ciming along very good… nice job on the modeling and texturing… well about the background… I’m not a big fan of it rite now. It is distracting the focal point and its IMO very brignt… I would vote for a darker yet colorful background. I’ll be waiting to see ur next update… :thumbsup: