Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Daniel Lieske


This is looking terrific, Daniel! The poses, the ZBrush work, teh whole layout, it’s really terrific. I really enjoy seeing someone know really knows their 2D composition tackling the job in 3D, the whole piece just ends up soming out so much more coherent and eye-pleasing than just throwing models at teh scene and hoping something sticks. :slight_smile:

One small suggestion before you abandon tweaking the model: With the current composition, the female alien’s outstretched hand lands right in front of the crease between the Hawkbeast’s thigh and torso, and almost looks like she’s resting a hand on the thigh. In your ealier posts of that area, her arm was raised a bit more so the hand was in front of the torso and less in front of the thigh. I think that conveyed the proper depth relationship and was slightly better, compositionally.

Looking forward to seeing your textures on this, good luck!


of course i love your work and detail yada yada.
but i can’t help myself longing for the beast having it’s right (or left) foot twisted backwards.
i think it’d add some energy… i don’t like that toilet-pose.
you know, as in “i’m grabbing that tree and am about to jump up to the next level” rather than “that tree feels really good… oh hey, there’s a guy trying to kill me”.


That was a fast one! Only 4 hours and all coloring on my main objects was done (including a crash which made me coloring the Captain twice). The most time, obviously, went into the Hawkbeast. But although it’s coloring looks quite detailed, it wasn’t too much work. The Cavity Mask feature of ZBrush enabled me to paint into the crevices and to “drybrush” the scaly skin structures just like in the real world of model painting. This software is just so cool and fun to work with.

This, by the way, is by no means the final compositing of color and light. I just threw in some light passes so that the scene doesn’t look too ugly. There are two weeks to go and I will spend a lot of that time to tweak llight and colors.

But before it’s time for tweaking, I will drop the whole stuff onto the 2.5D canvas now and add all the little detail I need to let the tree look alive and there’s also a lot of stuff left to create for the background.


And for some replies!

@ HornlessUnicorn:

Thank you! I also think that the composition is turning out quite nicely. It’s a very interesting task to take a scene like that and turn and rotate it and to encounter how the smallest turn can totally alter the composition. It’s abit like searching for a “snap point” where everything fits the best. It’s also a task of finding compromised because it’s nearly impossible to find a viewpoint, from which every detail looks best. This whole project for me is a big eye opener on how composition works, including angles, weights and positive and negative shapes.

@ walrus:

Thanks for your input! I see what you mean concerning the hand. I will look after that when I’m rotating the scene into the final layout. Like I wrote to Hornless Unicorn, it’s a lot like balancing. A slight turn which lets the Captain look good, might cause an issue in the girl or vice versa.

@ Anapäst:

Thanks also for your input! I was so concentrated on the Captain’s pose all the time that I did not even consider that there might be better alternatives for the Hawkbeast’s pose. I will definetely experiment with the far leg.


Those colours already look impressive - I know it’s not complete yet so it’s only a base colouring, but nevertheless.

After reading your posts I think that I would really like to try out ZBrush some time soon - it sounds like a very versatile tool - and you can even paint your sculptures in ZBrush? That’s awesome…

Gutes Gelingen :slight_smile:




Nice progress :thumbsup: When you come to the lighting, remember to add some rimlight :wink:


The modelling is amazing! I also like the frazetta style composition. It just amazes me how this just gets better and better each time I visit your thread!


Man, I went through hell at the weekend! Originally I planned to bake the scene down to the 2.5D canvas and by now I allready wanted to have the major environmental detail in place, but nooo.

By the reaction of my wife and several friends of mine I came to the conclusion, that the pose of the hero, while working nicely in the composition (triangle and all that stuff…) does not really make the point storywhise. And if there’s one point in this artwork I really did’t want to be hasted it was the pose of the hero, of course. So I came to the totally insane conclusion, that tilting some limbs here and there and working out some angles would do the pose merit. I sat the whole sunday and tweaked the pose into different renditions. Now, while posing the figure is a fast thing in ZBrush when you work on a SINGLE mesh, it’s hell of a job when you have to pose several Subtools at once (and the ‘Transpose Master’ plugin did not work. No idea why…) So, most of my time I spend on putting the body into a new pose variation and then placing the other parts (jacket, Hood, metal rings, blaster) into their places. I posted some of my variations with this WIP submission just to show you, how blind I got in the end. Just look at the two goofy poses on the bottom! Sunday evening I really thought, they work! I even tilted the arm back on the last one because I thought, this would make the pose ‘perfect’. Well, I got to bed on sunday quite frustrated because I intuitively knew that all I did this day was pure crap. Luckily, I took the step to some radical pose changes on monday. You see the outcome in the next submission.


As you see, I took the pose of the Captain through a radical change. I’m quite happy with the result. It’s now a much simpler and also cooler pose, I think. It has more of a daredevil character because you get the feeling, that the Captain knows what he’s doing. Of course, you’re still wondering what the heck he’s going to do to save the alien girl but now, at least, you get the impression that he’s got to have some serious skills to face the beast in that fashion.

Concerning the composition, I think the new pose does an even better job then the previous. The previous pose had this strong triangle, connecting the Captain through his outstretched arm to the Beast’s head, through the beast’s arm down to the girl and through her outstretched arm back to the Captain. This, without any doubt, was a nice and strong composition but also it felt a bit too formal, I think.

What I have now is a much stronger feeling of conflict between the Captain and the beast. The tree draws a diagonal line between the contrahents which is only bridged by their stares (and not the reaching arm anymore). The triangle is still there but it’s much more subtle now and the composition focuses more on the hero and does not circle around in endless repetition.

Well, that’ at least, what I’m thinking about it. Don’t hesitate to tell me your opinions. But that’s the final pose for sure. No chance for me to come up with something even better in the time I have left. :slight_smile:

Oh, and please notice some subtle changes in the other characters. I tried the variation on the Hawkbeast’s far leg and I love it. Thanks again to Anapäst for the suggestion! And I made the reaching hand of the girl much more expressive but this detail you’ll only get to see in a higher resolution and with the colors and constrasts tweaked, I guess.

So, now it’s really time for the background and environment!


Hello Daniel,

The captains pose is definately more heroic, and fits naturally with your other characters. Very classic look and feel.Best of luck to you. Brad


I love the expression on the girl! I also like the way the peice has a definite style throughout. Something about it reminds me of the hildebrandt stuff. Maybe the string, medium size rythmic detail?

Maybe you could play with the angle of the beasts head? I think he should either be concentrating more on the man (pointing down a bit more) or looking up at the tree. Just my opinion.


K I’m giving you my dead honest crit hope you like.
I like the drawings, the character design, the character modeling.

I also like composition B for sure not A or C.
And I don’t like the monster pose, and the way he’s holding the girl.
But that’s just my opinion. Hope it’s of any use to you.

Any case enjoying this one, nice work :buttrock:


Hey Daniel,

nice amount of work. :slight_smile:

I like all the thoughts about the characters (background stories etc), the sketches and final designs. The theme is not new, but as you know, i like those things too.
The colors are great too.

What i don’t like is the composition and the pose of the monster.
The triangle thing just don’t seem to work in this case, because (just my opinion) it calms the action down (male and female figure are nearly on one horizontal line). It would be more dynamic, if the monster would hold her way up, so that the main line of action would be diagonal.
Also the pose of the monster does not fit the presented action. It looks very unstable / irresolute, so as if it fears falling down and just grasps the tree before doing so.

Just my 2 cents… :slight_smile:


'morning dude.

The result looks good, but there is a small point that I have to remember you and everyone who is working with 3D graphics in every form:

It ist the answer to this question:
“Where is the advatage and the disadvantage in 3D graphics?”
The advantage: “You can change everything fast.”
The disadvantage: “You can change everything fast.”
What I mean: The possibility to have neverending options can be a big brake for creativity and motivation. You have so many possibilities, to many to select the right one…

It was very important, that you are telling a little story, to constrain the possibilities, but it is not that easy like to create a briefed project.

Be creative


Thanks for all your replies!

@ sasquatch70:

For me it’s a very subtle choice which pose does fit best. I even would say that it depends on the mood I’m in every given moment. That arises a very interesting question: if the result of posing a character depends on the mood of the artist at a given moment, how could he come to a ‘final’ result when he’s able to change the pose anytime? Is there an ideal pose or is there only a pose that fits a certain mood? I’m thinking about that very hard at the moment but what I now is, that I have to commit to a pose in order to finish this artwork in time.

@ John Keates:

Good call! I will definetly check the tilt of the beast’s head.

@ Spin 99:

Every input is welcome as it puts the things into different lights. The biggest danger in creating images is to get too biased towards your own creations. Critique also is an opportunity to defend your own ideas against those of others. Personally I think that the beast works quite well although the current layout of the scene causes some problems, I guess.

@ Erich Schreiner:

I’m not going to do radical changes to the composition but I see your point with the calming down of the situation. In my daf showroom I received some valuable input concerning the difference between my first overpainted scene PreViz and the current state of the scene. The current scene is tilted to the right (originally done to enhance the old hero pose) and by that the ‘floor’ on which the characters are standing now is nearly horizontal. I think, that weekens the composition and I will change that. Thanks for your input!

@ Drikus:

You know, I started this project in order to find out, which merits the 3D process holds for my art. I definetely found lots of them but at the same time I experience exactly the problems you are hinting at. It’s a very valuable experience and it will help me to judge the merits of 3D for my future projects. Being constrained in 2D makes many things much more easy, that’s for sure. But the fight’s not over. I will draw my final conclusion after finishing this piece. :slight_smile:


Yeah, you just can’t get enough of those final versions. :slight_smile:

But I think I could further enhance the whole thing in this final rendition (yes, it’s final!). The composition now comes closer to the scene PreViz I posted a few pages back. The tilt to the left balances the masses a bit better and all the characters are a bit larger in this version which also is a good thing. Of course, there are downsides. Especially the area were the girl, the beast and the tree overlap is more busy now. But for that I might find a solution by tuning the colors and contrasts.

edit: Just to prevent any confusion. It’s the final scene layout, not the final image. :slight_smile:


This is the result after having added the last details (leafs, moss) to the foreground and having rendered several lighting passes. I played around with it quite a lot but there’s still room for some more experiments.

The background is still dummy and in the next step I will produce the details for it. When I have everything assembled I’m going to find out how far I can get with compositing only before I get to 2D retouch.

I’ve got the feeling that the image could use some structures which would connect foreground and background…


I like this image, beautiful color and composition! good!!!


Very nice colorization :slight_smile:


I’ve worked on a concept what exactly is going to be seen in the background of the image. The blurry, undefined structures of the color sketches so far worked quite good - in the sketches. For the final artwork I need something more ‘real’ because I don’t want the contrast of detail between the foreground and background become too big.

The sketches so far lacked a bit in scope I think. The part of the universe were Captain Orion is stranded with his ship is an atmosphere cloud in which countless small and big planets are drifting. The space between those planets is all filled with breathable atmosphere so that even the less technically advanced alien races can travel between the different worlds (with balloon ships e.g.). To give a better impression of this fantastic place I introduced a second planet which also serves the composition in my opinion. It forms a circular halo around the hero and supports his position in the picture which otherwise might look a bit too peripherical.

In the midground I’m going to show the pointed mountains of Planet Aloya and just behind the foreground I plan to put more jungle trees so that the main tree with the characters does not stand alone too much.

The other trees I plan to create with ZBrush’s Deco Brush. That should enable me to put a lot of detail into them without having to paint every leaf by hand. It’s important for me, that those trees get enough detail so that they hopefully connect the foreground detail with the background detail. The planets I’m going to sculpt in 3D.

I could not resist to try to enhance the pose of the Captain a bit in this Caoncept with the Liquify Brush of Photoshop. It should be possible to enhance his shape quite a bit in the end. I’m not completely satisfied with the way how he turned out. But I have to live with it now and see to make the best out of it.

Closing in, stay tuned! :slight_smile: