Uplift Universe - Image Entry: Michael Dashow


Blimey! I don’t bow much but I bow now :smiley:

Serieously this is great stuff and that walkthrough up there is excellent.


Mike this is fantastic, thank you so much for posting your step by step process. I am loving this image so far :slight_smile:


Thanks for the notes, everyone! Glad that my process & progress is useful and/or enjoyable.

Mats - Yes, I agree. Breaking down things into little pieces always makes everything easier to swallow and digest (as I am reminded every time I feed my 1-year-old! :slight_smile: ) You still have to make the same decisions - for example, I had to figure out from the very beginning that I wanted the main light in from the upper right and the secondary light source in from the left. But once that’s decided, I can just spend a few days worrying about lighting without getting distracted. It’s very easy to get distracted by color so it’s nice to work on the 2 separately without one confusing you about the other. One interesting side effect is that because all the color comes in one big step at the end, it looks like you’re going slowly, slowly, slowly, and then BAM, you’ve got a nearly finished looking piece! It’s rewarding having that step sneak up on you because you get to see it with fresh eyes, not tired, biased eyes as digitaldecoy put it earlier.


More work on the characters in the front. I scanned in a little doll to get the muppet-like texture for the doll’s face.

And I’ve been painting more brocade! It’s hard to see but the patterns in the front girl’s robes are little 4-finned mushroom ships (like the ones in the sky!) flying through the aether. (Where are the mushroom ships going? Probably to crash-land on some far-off galaxy until Mario comes to rescue them.) The robe in the upper right is all just stripes and mushrooms. I haven’t touched the fabric of the male in front of them yet, obviously.

And in this pic, it’s painfully obvious that I need to add a logo for the human and doll’s shoulder patch. Something with military stripes and a nice shot of planet earth, most likely.

Anyhow, off to design more brocade. Or sleep, whichever comes first.


Wow! Superb colour, composition, detail and design! :bowdown:

This is a masterful example of someone who is intouch with not only their technical skills, but also their imagination.

Looking forward to seeing the final piece!


lovin it.
excellent drawing. cool concept. amazing attention to detail and brush handling. cool pattern on the drapery.

ummmm…you could work on…ummmmmmm…errrrr…

cant wait to see the final!

best of luck walrus


thanks for creating the progress tutorial. very interesting technique and approach you have! certainly makes for nice cohesive lighting and color.


Wow! Fantastic progress and an excellent workflow guide too. Beautiful stuff, Mike! (I love those striped bits on the fur and the brocade is just amazing)


bless ya dude for the progress tutorial! it’s certainly is a wonderful insight as to how you work! and always … exquisite work update man! :thumbsup: you rock! :buttrock:


Thanks everyone! Glad you like the brocade. I’d never tried that before, but wanted to give the aliens something otehr than just plain solid color fabric for their robes. Once you’ve got a painting with every color in the rainbow in it, might as well go for it, eh? Plus I really wanted to contast teh aliens’ cacophany of color to the Captain’s plain grey uniform (although grey with lime-green piping is actaully pretty cool all by itself, just in a more subdued way.) I have a lovely piece of Japanese brocade here on my desk, a gift from my wife, it’s got just magnificent interwoven patterns. I’ve been using it as a reference and influence for the Japanese-esque patterns on the aliens’ clothing. I didn’t go that crazy with the designs compared to this fabric, but was definitely influenced. And also by the clothing designs in some paintings by Shelly Wan and Hyung Tae Kim.

I finished the right male’s brocade this morning too - he’s the guy whose shirt is visible in the last post - but it’s too small to bother updating now. More later, then! I expect lots of updates over the next less-than-two-weeks as I have a lot of catching up to do!


Amazing work! I love the details in the clothing and fur, and the lighting is fantastic. One of my favorite imges in the challenge!


Wow - this is just amazing! Michael if it’s not a secret how did you create this brocade? I mena did you use a texture or did you just paint it?

Anyways - I really can’t wait to see the whole thing in it’s finished state.

You’re a master! :slight_smile:



if it’s not a secret how did you create this brocade?

Oh yes, of course it’s a secret, Dimitrij, you know how secretive I am about letting people know my working process… Just kidding! There’s no way I could have easily esed a premade texture for this because it all has to hang on the cloth with the folds the way I painted them. So it’s all hand-painted. The key to doing it well is to make sure the pattern matches the cloth drapery. You want it to hug the curves, like a high-end sports car or a latex dress.

First thing I did was fill up a notebook page with ideas for the patterns so that I would have a clear direction once I started painting in Photoshop. I began the texture painting by creating a new layer just to sketch drapery guidelines on: Basically, what would a grid or stripes look like if it were on the cloth? Tey would all have to distort to fit the folds I’d already painted and I wanted the brocade to match that. Then, using that as a guide, I painted in the details on a few different layers.

I haven’t actually flattened my painting yet so the shadows are still on a sperate layer. For the matte details I added them on a new layer underneath the hilights and shadows layer so that they would be affected by those layers. For the shiny brocade, I painted it with a round hard-edged brush on a layer above the shadows and hilights, and then painted the lighting details in by hand. (I can even load in the opacity of the Shadow layer and just harken that part of the brocade.) But I also made sure to go in by hand and paint in some sharp hilihgts by keeping the layer’s opacity locked so I wouldn’t paint out of the lines.




Awesome work as usual walrus, I just love your style:beer:



WOW :slight_smile: Thanks a lot for that detailed description I hope you don’t get into trouble with the Walrus-Guild? You know for telling the secret knowledge? :wink:

I’m using Painter right now and still learning a lot about how to use it each time I do something new and it is an amazing program. But I would also really like to learn to use Photoshop sometime in the future.

Again - wonderfull work, Michael! I pull my hat :slight_smile: :bowdown:

And thanks for sharing your know how with us :slight_smile:




Beautiful! I love the palette and your painting style. The expressions on all the faces are a joy. Keep it going and good luck.
Very interesting thread too!


Hi Walrus
I like a lot your idea. Very funny.
U are working really good the details. Final image is going to be amazing.
Good job.
Keep it up


You have a really nice style there. I like the way you keep the livelyness of a drawing whilst getting some solid lighting, colour and texture in there. So often, the drawing gets lost.


hi there, all in there, in “walrus’ marvellous’ treasure thrus’t”…
thanks Michael, for taking us all along into the journey of the developing of your wonderful art, during the contest lasts…while shifting pixels by ourselfs in our afterhour madness…
its really nice in here in this thread. I’ve showed the pics to my lifetime comp and the kids… we all hope when the pic is finished to find an appropriate copy to “steam it up” onto the desktops of our machines…
I’ll follow by…


great fun stuff as usual.
maybe a bit more color variation and you are gold!


Lovely and funny idea. The details are great.
This will be a fantastic piece like your other ones.
It’s great to see your progress.
I wish you good luck. :beer: