This picture started as a project for a movie. They had some scenes on Mars and approached me if I would be interested in trying myself on it. I did some concept work and was playing around with a Marsbase kind of idea. I sent them my ideas and they promised to come back to me on how to go on with it. Well, that was 1 1/2 years ago. Nothing happened. Not a single word. So I decided to not write off the extensive work time I already spent on the project and finished it myself as a personal project. The guys I wrote with obviously had no interest anymore. I finished it up right in time for the Mars hype that’s going on right now! =D Flowing water on Mars. That’s amazing news and opens up great opportunities.
Technically I started this one with Worldmachine and trying to create a landscape that sorta kinda could serve as a Mars landscape. I’m sure it’s not 100% realistic (if at all…) but I managed to get some nice variation into the terrain that works well enough for the eye. I combined various terrains with Photoshop and imported them into Vue. Adding the base was a difficult task. I had to work the terrain quite a bit to make it fit the parts where I wanted to place the structures. I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out… but it’s good enough for me to work. Sometimes you have to make a cut and stop working on something. To make it even more unrealistic I played with the idea of some local terraforming around the base.
Overall it’s one of my more realistic ‘looking’ pieces. At least when it comes to the visual feel and photographic presentation. Hope you enjoy the view and who knows… maybe the pic is at least a tiny glimpse at how our future on Mars could look like.
Here we have a video where I try to explain the creative process behind one of my pictures. This is also my first try in creating a video like this. So it’s a little rough around the edges. If you make it through the entire thing and don’t get bored by my rather boring voice… bravo! I sincerly salute you. :D But seriously, I hope you will find the material interesting and manage to pick up something that will eventually help you with your own projects.
Much like all the other pictures in my Com-cept series, this one was an experiment, with using some rather unusual techniques for my work. I wanted to try myself on something more rough looking while at the same time trying to bring a solid composition and a certain amount of detail. Most of my other work is detailed to the pixel due to heavy use of 3d rendered plates. Even though I used a 3d plate for the landscape here too, I wanted to focus more on efficiency instead of diving into too much detail. More painting than pixel perfect 3d. I wanted to try my luck with the Sowig.net contest I discovered rather late and had to rush a couple of things. So obviously there could have been done a little more refining. =) I never expected to win that contest… which shows me that I did at least some things right with this picture.
3000×1370 – Vue – Photoshop
Lars Sowig is a very talented digital artist with some really neat work. Feel invited to check his work here:
It’s hard to talk about this docu without talking about your own personal stance on what it’s all about. So let me get this straight from the get go. Edward Snowden is a modern time hero. Just because some politicians and age old laws say otherwise… – my heart and (most importantly) my brain tell me that it’s true, this man is a hero. I felt this way before I saw this doc and now feel that way even more. I still find it hard to believe that this documentary got an Oscar. I watched live when they received it and damn… the mood in that room, full of Hollywood’s greatest, suddenly dropped dead. Some faces said “yes, well done!”. But a lot more looked confused and dead serious tried not to show any kind of emotion whatsoever. As if they were afraid of something. To me it was a slightly shocking sight to be honest. That’s my main memory of the 2015 Oscar ceremony.
I admit, I haven’t seen the other nominated docus. But now after seeing Citizenfour, there was only one of them that, at this moment in history, deserved that Oscar. I’m amazed how well the makers planned this. We see a lot of material right from the start and Glenn Greenwald’s first meetings with Edward Snowden. Laura Poitras, who directed this film, was there to capture the material on film. All of the people involved really made an extremely intelligent impression and very carefully thought about how to proceed with the reveals, that Snowdens material included. At first Snowden is trying to explain what’s actually going on in the world. At that point it’s fascinating trying to read the faces of the journalists. It’s one thing to suspect that all Snowden eventually reveals is going on. But hearing a credible source talking about how deep it actually goes… that’s world-view changing material.
That first part of Citizenfour is also the most interesting one. At least for me. It shows stuff we haven’t seen before. We know what happened when the media released the articles, revealing all the different spying operations, that are going on all around the (for the most part) western world. How countries and companies are linked to intelligence agencies. The first half focussed on Edward Snowden. He didn’t come forward without a plan. A very careful plan. He knew what would happen. He knew what to do, how to protect relatives and friends and how to hide. And the most important part for me is that he did not plan to stay undercover. His plan was to show himself. To attract all attention to him and away from people who had nothing to do with it. His family or girlfriend for example. There are a couple of quiet scenes where there is a glimmer of doubt in his eyes. If this really was the right way to go. If it’s all worth it. If you ask me, I couldn’t answer that question. What’s sure though is the fact that if he wouldn’t have come forward… someone else would have.
The second part of the movie goes into the details of the aftermath of the reveals. That’s the stuff we already know. At least when you’re a little bit interested in world politics. It’s slightly less interesting but it gives a good perspective from the people who were actually involved. What it doesn’t show is that over the time 2013 to 2015 nothing has changed. Here in germany it seems like no one wants to investigate anything NSA related. The chancelor’s cellphone got tapped, they found a double-agent working for the BND/NSA and drone strikes executed from german soil. Nothing happened after Snowden released the documents. That is what’s worrying me the most. And Snowden says it himself… the fact that everyone nowadays takes it for granted that ‘someone is always listening’. That’s how the world works, right? I guess so. That doesn’t make it right though. He also briefly talks about the early days of the Internet. How there was a different atmosphere. How it felt like a door to the whole wide world. It was new. There were no bounds. I’m old enough to remember that time and while it may be nostalgia… he’s absolutely right. I’m sorta proud to have experienced that short time-frame, when the Internet was still relatively young in the mid to late 90s.
So yeah. Everyone should see this documentary. It’s not just about the person Edward Snowden. It’s about our time and how the world works. It’s a lesson that needs to be taught. I fear we’re all still students, trying to understand and comprehend how big that machine, that constantly works in the background of our lives, really is.
Praised as one of the best thrillers done in the past couple of years, I was of course very interested to see it. I didn’t manage to see it in theaters and had to go Bluray for this one. Even though I must admit that seeing it on the big screen would have been a treat. Especially for the beginning of the film.
The film starts with a nice moody buildup, for the overall atmosphere we are operating in, with this film. Really gorgeous night shots of Los Angeles. It builds a mood much like ‘Drive’ did in its opening minutes. The impression of a very fascinating city that still leaves no doubt that it will eat you alive when you’re not up to its speed. We meet Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who immediately gives a very shady and weirdo impression. The praise Gyllenhaal gets for his performance really is deserved. He’s borderlining ‘over the top’ with his play… but manages to stay in believable territory. A very fine balance act he pulls off there. Louis tries to make a living with collecting scrap metal and sell it. He doesn’t shy away from illegal action and that’s made clear very early on in the movie. On his way home from, what seems like another night of trying to get some cash, he drives by a car accident. Creepily fascinated he stops and watches how two cops try to free a lady from a burning car wreck. Suddenly a van stops next to him and Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) rushes out. With a camera in his hand, he storms the scene and captures video material. Louis is immediately fascinated and tries to understand and find out what Joe is actually doing. Louis is hooked and knows what he wants to do. Crime journalism. He starts setting up his business and gets some low grade equipment to find a starting point. The driven intensity Gyllanhaal puts into his character is frightening. Louis is someone who has no conscience whatsoever. Now for him all that counts is to get the perfect material. He finds a local news station that buys his material and meets Nina Romina (Rene Russo) who is in charge. These two develop a really weird relationship throughout this film. Louis also hires a partner (Rick Garcia) to help him getting to find and get to locations faster. Together they ‘Nightcrawl’ Los Angeles, listening to police radio and try to collect crime material. Things start to spiral out of control when they manage to arrive at a crime scene before the police.
This movie is roughly 2hrs long and there is not a single second that did not glue me to the screen. The fact that parts of the movie seem to not be too far away from the truth of that business is really a scary thing. Gyllenhaals performance of a ruthless sociopath is mesmerizing. I honestly can’t believe he did not get an Oscar nomination for that. He’s the driving force in that movie. And while performances of Rick Gacia and Rene Russo are very good too… it is Gyllanhaal who really adds the depth and creep factor here.
From a technical standpoint I can only say that it’s solid work. I’m not sure if I would categorize it as a ‘Los Angeles movie’ like Drive or Collateral. But it certainly has the same nightish mood going on, that paints a great picture of the world that surrounds that city. The way the camera is using light, shadows and colours is a feast for the eye. The writing surely wasn’t easy for this film since it constantly balances the over the topness of Louis Bloom and the more grounded world that surrounds him. And except for a couple of times it completely works.
All characters in this film, even the far out Louis Bloom, have a realistic foundation to them. The rare action sequences are no big explosion fest and completely rely on buildup. Later in the film we have a car chase that leads to the finale of the movie. That car chase is photographed in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there with Louis and Rick. you feel the movement and kinetic energy. The moments when Louis is on a locations and shooting material… that glare in his eyes, his morbid fascination and drive to get the best material possible… is just fascinating to watch.
Overall I would highly recommend this film. It’s one of these rare movies that show things happening all around us in this world… yet it feels like it’s a completely different universe.
This pic was an experiment. I started it August 2014 and saw it as a prequel to my, earlier in 2014 released, ‘The Eternals’ artwork (hence the rather cryptic title for this one). In said picture you can see rather prominently a ship zipping by. I really liked the look of the ship, so I thought “wouldn’t it be funny to see where it came from?”. And that matched with the experiment I had in mind. I wanted to try and work in 16bit colour depth. It was also a test to see how my machine would be able to handle the load. It did well… but saving a larger Photoshop file in 16bit… literally takes ages. Naturally I wanted to have a quite striking image in terms of colours. So the colour depth would make sense. And I hope I got something neat for the eye with that.
If you ask me what this place is then I honestly don’t have an answer. I was fiddling with C4D when I stumbled upon this spikey shape. It instantly made me want to play with it in Vue. After some trying this and trying that I had a scene. Everything fell into place. In the end it was something like a docking or landing area for ships. The spikey things… well, let’s say it’s some ‘modern’ architecture thing. It adds a nice abstract component to the scene. =D
Usually my work is loaded with detail. That doesn’t always work. So ultimately I wanted to do a very clean cut pic for once. Something that’s simple and yet eyecatching.
Here we have another collaboration piece. My second in a short period of time. After not doing collabs for a very very long time. Now I do enjoy the outcome of these projects and may do more in the future.
This time I had the pleasure to work with GTGraphics’s very own Tobias Roetsch. He’s also a pretty well known Scifi and Fantasy artist that enjoys some vast and grandiose environment vistas. He explained me his idea and I started to do work in Vue to created a serviceable plate. That includes the landscape and the design of the domes. While working in Vue we both talked about how to bring in a good composition. Then I rendered the material in several passes and combined it in Photoshop. After adding some detail, fx and textures I sent the Photoshop file over to Tobias.
Tobias did his magic with adding the city, additional landscape details and a very neat sunset atmosphere. Then it was my turn again with adding some more little details like the ships and some fine tuning. After that… we pretty much had it. I tried to play a little more with the overall colours but always ended up throwing my adjustments away. The atmosphere Tobias created works pretty much perfect.
Here we go with a lengthy article I wrote about how I approached creating the seven artworks I did for Galactic Civiziations 3. It’s includes concepts, render plates, render passes and insight into the techniques I used. Hope it inspires and may even teach you some things! Feel free to check it out here on Behance.
Here we have the second batch of additional three pictures I created for Galactic Civilizations 3. These were made for some sort of a Tech-tree screen where you can choose special skills for your civilization. Said screen is divided into three key aspects (benevolent, malevolent, pragmatic) that represent a certain set of skills to choose from.
Skillscreen – ‘Benevolent’
This first image is used for the ‘Benevolent’ screen. It’s a light and bright setup to represent a more friendly approach with good intentions.
Here we needed something that felt different from the other two looks. So we took the approach of the ‘golden middle way’ and tried to incorporate a slight golden color scheme into it. It ultimately turned out better than I expected.
The best description for this one would be just two words: happy accident. I had a nice conversation with a fellow artist about 3d stuff, modeling and sculpting. We came to our current projects and I saw a screenshot of a model she worked on for an exercise. She had no further use for it and I asked if she could send me the model so I could play a little with it. I immediately had some fun with that model playing in Vue, which made clear that we got something nice there. So then we decided to do a collaboration piece.
I’m not a big collab artist since I have a very specific set of tools I work with. And combining that with the workflow of a fellow artist can get messy fast. Nonetheless we agreed to try it. I was able to find a good composition and a working scene very fast. It even surprised me how fast I had something that really worked. We decided to keep that and I started render out my usual load of plate material for Photoshop.
I started and combined the different plates, began with adding effects and details. Then I sent it over to my friend and she added her creative magic. She sent it back to me and I did finalizing touches. The result works really well and we’re both pretty happy how it turned out. What does it show? Well, not sure. But it could be some giant ancient mysterious alien ruins of sorts.