Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Michael Dashow


Chris - Thanks, but don’t be silly! If you’re entering these contests just to win the grand prize, you’re entering for the wrong reason. The right reasons, imho, are to push yourself to do as good a piece as possible, to to hopefully learn something along the way, to get one more piece you’re proud of for your portfolio, to meet new people also taking part in the Challenge, and to give and get feedback from them to help you and them all grow as artists. At least that’s why I enter the Challenges and all I hope to get out of them. There are only 2 prizes total and my shot and snagging one of them is slim, but I don’t care because I’ve just done one of my best paintings ever and that’s more important. It’s only 5 days left, if you’ve come this far, keep pushing yourself and finish what you started! You’ll be glad you finished it at least.

Neville - Of course I work fast, the contest is all over, what choice do I have?!? :wink: Anyhow, thanks!

Alwyn - No prob, you skipped all the boring parts and got to see the big finish instead!

Mark and Daniel - Yay, if you guys think it’s done then I must really be there. Thanks for your support throughout this whole thing, your constant presence has always been appreciated. :bowdown:

Anyhow, I’ll let this sit for a day or two and if no other crits come up (other than a shadow or two that I see that I want to fix that no one but me will notice!) then I’ll ship it. After I decide on a title. :rolleyes:


LOL, I never had any illusions about winning, believe me :slight_smile: I only entered as I thought it might get me past the painting block I was experiencing (it worked)
And I have learned something, I don’t like painting sci-fi :smiley:
I think I’ll stick to fantasy from now on and leave the sci-fi to the experts (like yourself).


Hey Mike! the image is just amazing man. Even though I’m not in a position of giving you notes or crits but I’ll try my best :slight_smile: :
The background is very very good, but somehow my eyes want to see some more color ( think eye-candy ), you know, like your “Journy Begins” painting.

I have nothing else to crit :slight_smile:


I know I sound a bit like a parrot here - but it’s an amazing work, Michael!!! You can be proud!

I’m really amazed at this contest and website so many talended people there are so many great entries in this contest - it’s like a feast for the eyes :slight_smile: it’s awesome!

Thank you for this inspiring work!

Good luck and all the best!



Awesome work Mike! I think the new lower city and cruiser work great. It looks like you can get some sleep now. I still have a ways to go.


Now that my work is done, I had the chance to take a look around at what everyone else has been doing.

Your work is sensational! I can see that your are a master illustrator!

Thanks again for all of the support.

Good luck to you as well. (I agree with you - it’s the support, and chances to meet new people, that’s important - not the prizes!)


Nice! The ship makes everything make sense now (although I wish it was a little nearer, but just a minor nitpick).

How about darkening the background at the ground level that gradually brightens up at the top (depth pass). The architecture looks a little clean, perhaps some alien moss/rust/stains at suitable spots?

You are definitely almost there. If you have the time, Mike, would you like to try adding some more flying vehicles? One more closer, hovering nearer the mushroom heads (could be harvester or something, this might add to the authenticity of alien life)


great detail!

and I agree with your reason for entering the challenge. I’m definitely out of the league here, but what better way to improve than working and learning together with the greatest talents in the industry? ^^


Thanks for the notes, everyone! Glad to see no one has anything major to fix! :wink:

Chris - Good, glad you did in the end get something you wanted out of the challenge, and that it wasn’t me (just science fiction in general) that scared you off. :slight_smile:

Jassar - Thanks for the suggestion but I respectfully disagree. If everything in the piece is of an equally high saturation level, there’s no guidance for the eye. As it it, the eye is drawn to the more saturated areas (the characters I want you to look at) and away from the background, whcih is less saturated. Adding brighter colors to the environemt would just make it fight for attention with the primary focus of the piece.

Dimitrij - Thanks, yeah, this Challenge is always inspiring!

Mikey - Thanks, and good luck with the rest of your entry.

Blas - Thanks. And glad my notes were useful in your piece - it really came out great!

Jerome - Thank you agains for the suggestions. I feel that spaceships any closer than the ones I have now would be distracting, grabbing attention away from the characters without adding anything. I do have some depth lighting in the background already, as objects furhter into the distance are getting greener, but I don’t want to go overboard with it either. I also have dirt and grime on the buildings, but maybe I can add some more - it’s obviously not as bisible when the peice is this zoomed out!

Pegahoul - Glad you’re getting soemthing out of the Challenge too! :slight_smile: And thanks!

So I think I’ll just fix a few little nitpicks here and there, think up a name, add a noise layer on top of everything and call it done soon. And just in time, too! Thank you, everyone, for all of the notes and posts!


Your WIP post that shows the stages of work is great…It would never occurs to me without the post…next image I’ll try that approach… you are right that it’s similar to the 3D way…i can say it’s fascianating…great…ooo…and you have lovely image and good idea. You don’t need luck in the chalenge…i’m sure there will be prize for you.


Of course it was the meaning , if he don’t take is Bath is gonna be a bad boy and he won’t be able to play with the ball .
Beautiful work Michael :applause:


Really nice, Walrus! You did very well so far. I’m very jealous of your professional workflow.
But i would like to see a bit more difference in the materials. I dont know why you dont variate them, but i guess thats only point where you can (improve) your work.
Anyway good luck to you!


Thanks for the notes, folks!

Yakonusuke, I thought that I had rendered a lot of different materials, flesh and fur, fabric and shiny brocade, hard metal and soft clouds. Was there something in there that you particularly thought didn’t work, or did you have any specific advice on what I could do to improve my materials? I still have time, but it would be helpful to have something more to go on. Thanks!


In fact you really did, but on the other hand the mats are all very similar… they have
all a gradient from light to shadow and a small highlight on the the lightside. But there is no
material that is definitly glossy or definitly matt. The scale you use is somewhere inbetween.
But i would say, thats no reason to make everything new in this image, but maybe you keep
that in mind for the next time. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the feedback, Yakonusuke. I do my best, but I will, as always, endeavor to improve my abilities. Hopefully I’ll do better next time.

In the meantime, here’s where the piece is right now. Lots of small little adjustments - more building grime, some lights, a few more birds to keep them from looking like they were all in a straight line, little stuff like that. And then some overall image levels and colors adjustment to punch up the colors all over, especially the foreground. What do you all think?

Unless there’s anything major or obvious to change, I’ll likely just be submitting this as final tonight or tomorrow. It’s getting harder and harder to find things to change that make a big difference overall! :slight_smile:


Come on Michael The last details and it’s ok , cause it’s already OK you gonna burn your eyes .Another Walrus Masterpiece . WM . :bounce:


Captain Emmett Washington had never enjoyed assignments requiring interaction with the Pilosa clan. His superiors back on Earth couldn’t understand why: They weren’t overtly hostile like the Soro or the Tandu, nor incomprehensible like the Sumubulum or the T’4Lek. In fact, the Pilosa were one of the rare races who were quite friendly towards the wolfling Earthclan. That, groused Washington, was precisely the problem.

My apologies to Mr. Brin for not painting something more directly tied to the Uplift universe. I suppose I missed my golden chance to depict a Gubru, but I just had to go where inspiration took me.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my thread with comments and feedback during the creation of this piece. Special thanks to those especially helpful, incisive, and/or frequent contributors Daniel, Jerome, and Mark, and especially to Goro who, while not around much lately, really pushed me hard in the beginning to focus my idea from something that was okay to something much tighter and honestly better. And extra-special thanks to my wife Talia, who insisted that I put in as much time as possible into this Challenge because she knew it was my “dream category.” Thanks, sweetie, you can have me back now!

Cheers, all, and thanks for another fun Challenge!



Oh good, you’re done. Save ^^
Their expression is definitely the most attractive point of this pic, and I also like the small details like the alien-bird thing on the background. Great city design too.
Awesome work! This is one of my favorite piece in this challenge!


Done ! :beer: Congratulations for a very strong entry, Michael ! Top-notch as always ! :thumbsup:


congratulations mike! :applause: as always … a fine entry! :stuck_out_tongue: :eek:
good luck mate! :thumbsup: