Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Michael Dashow


The bg and the sky is really shaping up very nicely. As for the middle structure, may I recommend something more in tune with the natural environment. A huge majestic structure at the top that is inspired by the mushroom head design. The same could be applied to the rest of the architecture as well, if you wish.

Love the sky, it looks great! As for the aliens, now I feel that they blend with each other and the human too much. How about having a different tone of fur colour for them? The oldest could be paler in colour, whereas the youngest has a stronger colour tone. Just my thoughts.

All the best!


damn mike :open_mouth: … this is a tough one … especially when it comes to blending with the environment and keep in tune with form and design at the same time. not to mention making it look ‘more alien’ … how about combining the two structure designs and see what comes of it … that way, you have best of both worlds and a great new third one as well …
i really like jeromoo’s comment :
As for the middle structure, may I recommend something more in tune with the natural environment. A huge majestic structure at the top that is inspired by the mushroom head design.
that can be your best bet … hope you reach your final destination! (you’re very much closer!) :wink:
good luck dude! :thumbsup:


Neville - That is, in fact, ezactly what I ended up doing: combining the orderly form of the second central city design with some of the more interesting features of the original city. I think you’ll be pleased with how it comes out.

Jerome - Thanks for the suggestions. I don’t really want something natural, I’m shooting for something that says “impressive futuristic city,” and otherwise fades into the backdrop to not distract from the characters too much. I think what I have noew is working well to that extent. At elast, I’m happy with it. As for the characters, I already have the oldest alien a much paler color than the youngest alien. So I think I’ve got your point covered, unless you think I should push that further. (Which I am not very inclined to do at this point, as I don’t think it needs it. :slight_smile: )

Silvermyst & GaeasHerald - Thanks for the suggestions, I’ve followed all of them when building the city, I think you’ll like it when I next get to post it.


dood your work always stuns me!
looking fantastic:twisted:


Wow, you progress so fast! And the painting is evolving beautifully i must say. I’m curious what you are going to do with the negative space between the characters. But I’ve got no doubts that it will turn out a masterpiece again!


hmm I had to contemplate this a bit Mike when I looked at the update on the building you are thinking about. I like the original version better, it has a nice curved spiral that makes me think more futuristic. The sketch over reminds me more of an adobe building. I love the characters, the colors on them and lighting being much the same though does not really seperate them from each other when I look at it. I think this is one of the best entries for this challenge and I hope you get time to finish it.


walrus your image is mindblowing


That’s just brilliant!
Both character design and especially cityscapes!
Great architecture!


Michael you did a wonderful work as usual , with your humour your wonderful colors and your great characters .


The aliens are so cute and adorable. And the guy doesn’t seem to mind the attention!

The details in the background is great, but maybe a little more contrast in the foreground figures to really ensure the eyes don’t get too distracted? Just my opinion, but you are such a great artist I’m sure you’ll make the better decision.

Overall, the image is awesome! Thanks!


Sorry, Tiziano, but I’m just not feeling like it hands together as a whole.

Nothing to be sorry about, Mike! It was just my opinion of course, the author is and must be the final judge (otherwise I’ll never dare to write another comment again…).

Only one thing, though, I definitely want to see it finished. :slight_smile:


There is something about the perspective which seems to have now been fixed in the new version. (The verticals in the old version seemed somehow very slightly wrong). So I think you’ve done a good thing in redrawing it.

For me, the main issue to watch now is how the colours will affect the composition. At the moment it is a very uniform palette of browns and yellows - autumn colors - in the lower two thirds and the colours of the upper-third portion (sky and buildings) seems very different and therefore a bit disconnected. That certainly helps lift the foreground action, but the rich golden light that appears to illuminate the foreground does not seem consistent with the blue haze of the distance.

Perhaps some more yellow light hitting the mushrooms and foreground structures can bring it all together a bit more


Well, here we go, the finished Central City. Hope you like it! I’ve kept a lot of the curves and wall- and loop-type structures of the earlier design, but added an outer wall which I think helps contain and define the mega-structure really well. (At least, I like it!) And I know the perspective is correct because I built it in 3D using the same carea as I did for the walls.

Not that this is a 3D render. i mean, it started as such - so did the wall-scrapers on the sides - but I’ve done all the coloring and detailing in Photoshop. So here’s the trick: I rendered it with 2 textures, one covered with horizontal stripes and the other with vertical. I bring them both into Photoshop as seperate layers, and superimpose them on the city whenever I need horizontal or vertical guidelines to sketch details. What’s more, I can load the selection of one, and then load the other’s selection as a subtraction (or intersection) and get an interesting pattern of dots which I just fill in to make lots of windows. Keep loading these selections, scribble over then, and I get lots of orderly dot- and stripe patterns very easily. Other parts are just completely painted by hand, like the tower-tops and docking bays.

Daniel - Ah yes, the negative space at the bottom. I have some ideas, but nothing really solid yet. But if anyone has any good ideas, shout them out!

Linda and Lisa - Yes the characters are all running together a bit. My last pass will be yo accentuate various lights and shadows to help them read a bit better. But I just have a few more important things to hit first.

Mark - Interesting point, I’ll see if I can address it like you say. If not, well, I guarantee you your money back 100%. :slight_smile:

Everyone else - Thank you for all the notes, sorry I don’t have time to respond to each one separately. So one big Thank You to you all!

Back to work now: Still need to work on the ships and the negative space at the bottom. (Hmmmm…)


hey mike! really love this version now! sets it apart from the previous ones…
but, damn…have to hand it to you for your patience and creativity!
as mark pointed regarding the colors, i quickly thought about www.colorblender.com
and did a little color picking from your latest update, i picked the color of the human, noted down it’s RGB values and entered it in their respective slots at the site and got a different color palette scheme which will/might go with the ‘warm’ look …

hope this helps :stuck_out_tongue: … cheers dude!
good luck with the finished piece! :thumbsup:


Thanks, Neville, but with only a handful of days left, it’s pretty late in the game to make drastic alterations to my color palette. As you saw in my process breakdown, I mostly finalize the palette ealier in the process and then paint from there. It would of course be worth making adjustments if I thought the piece really needed it, but honestly, I’m quite happy with my color scheme and don’t see any need for change. Shouldn’t it be you who needs to worry about what colors to use more at this point? :wink:

Anyhow, thanks for the link, though, it could come in handy on future paintings!


i like the colors that you always use…lol

looking good man…only a little more to go!!


I just realize I forgot to tell you how much I love the Big big Mushroom .


Well, I think I may be done. Or just one the verge of finishing. You tell me! I’ve added in all of the things I was saving for last, like the front wall and the step-ladder, the birds in the sky and the final spaceship adjustments. I acted on Mark’s advice about adding more yellow light between the foreground and the background. And I went in and made a whole bunch of subtle character tweaks, lightening a hilight here, darkening a shadow there, nothing major but enough to help the characters stand out from each other more.

So maybe I need to sleep on it, but I’ve exhausted my list of notes. If anyone sees anything to fix (that does not involve recolorizing characters or choosing a new palette,) now would be a good time to say something.

Also, while you’re there, I still don’t have a title for this piece yet. Any ideas? I could go for the obvious pun on the challenge theme, i.e. “Human being Uplifted” or something like that. Or it could be something like “adorable alien”, playing on who the alien is on this particular world. Or just plain “adorable.” Think about it and get back to me. :slight_smile:


What a fun approach, i love it!


woweee mike! :eek: loving it already! ( in fact … always did :smiley: ) … very cool details in the background! its got that high depth :stuck_out_tongue: … as for the title … hmm … how about
‘the upliftment!’ :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: ( serious pun intended! hyuk hyuk hyuk :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue: )