What we have here is a picture that I would consider a quickie. A mashup of my earlier Scifi cityscape pictures. It still took a while to get it done but the general composition was set very early on and kept throughout the making. Normally I tend to sometimes drastically change elements of a picture even within the making. Always depending on how good things work out. Sometimes you have to work out things and look at them, to fully understand if something in a picture works or not. Had not to do this hassle for this one. Instead I did a lot of finetuning, especially in the front parts. The city I kept rather basic without investing too much time and detail on it. Just wanted to keep the background more rough. Slammed some textures and lights on it. Does the job and creates enough depth for what I wanted. Something that works really nice is the sense of business that a city like this would generate I think.
Technically it’s, as usual, Vue to create me a base picture to work on. In Photoshop I added quite a load of textures and made them fit somewhat nicely within the scene. I added masses of lights to suggest even more detail. The lights required some time to place them good in the scene. Then I tried to add a little more depth with some atmospheric glow and haze. Overall it works good enough for what I had in mind for the picture.
The docked ship in front was originally a concept drawing I did a while ago. My french Luminarium colleague Sebastien Hue managed to create a nice 3d model from my rough drawing. So a big thanks to him! Pay him a visit here. You’ll see some variations of that ship in future works soon, that’s for sure.
This one could be seen as a sister project to my ‘From Here I Can Almost See The Stars‘. I basically used the same city scene, along with a few changes. Originally the picture was created to work out some material, I could use for chapters on a German workshop DVD (more info), I got invited to do. The energy spheres and ship engine trails for example. I previously used energy spheres, as a detail in my work, and really liked how it turned out. On the other hand I wanted to experiment with a darker toned atmosphere. Work with harder contrasts. Which turned out rather good in this picture.
You could say it’s another generic scifi cityscape scene. Nonetheless I hope the lighting and perspective is at least something that stands out in this one. As usual I used Vue to create a base of operation. Several separated renders helped me to get in all the elements I wanted. A lot of Photoshop then helped to get in the details, that make this picture look alive.
It does look like a place you can easily get lost in. And our guy there is probably thinking the same. But I’m sure he knows his ways around this place.
For a long time now I have a certain image in my head that I still/yet have to make. The picture we have here brought me a little closer to the image I have in my head. The pic I have in mind is something with a giant huge space port/dock structure. And yes, other artists already have made very awesome attempts on that. But hey, I want my own super cool space port! =D
What we have here is indeed a cool space port kind of thing and I really honestly like the result of my attempt here. I really had some fun playing with the colours. I wanted to go for colours I rarely used so far. So this pic will make a nice addition to my portfolio. I’m still undecided if we have a morning or evening scene in this pic. That’s what I leave to the viewers. Yes the scene is artistically nothing entirely new but I think it just looks sort of soothing.
Technically it’s heavy Vue work again. It started, like so often, playing around with objects and atmospheres. Originally I was thinking about creating a space scene. Then I had this great atmosphere that reacted so nicely with my objects that I couldn’t resist to make it another Scifi cityscape. The rendering happened in various steps again. First the city. Then the clouds. And last but not least the flying little ships. Throughout the Photoshop phase I continued rendering out smaller parts to replace some others I wasn’t to happy with. I still love the Multipass options in Vue. This makes it rather easy to exchange elements.
In Photoshop then happened the compositing of all the different elements Vue gave me with it’s renders. A lot of fixing, texturing and overpainting happened in the next stage. The atmosphere got some pushes too. The final result then really became a moody Scifi scene that allows the viewer to dive into.
This picture is also part of The Luminarium’s 17th artpack release ‘Illuminate IV’. Some pretty amazing and inspiring work there. Info can be found here.
I really had some fun with this one and hope you people dig the view as much as I do!
My god I cannot even tell how old this picture already is. Now I guess it’s finally time to release it into the wild. The creation of it started late 2010 and even today I did a few smaller fixes on it.
Originally I just wanted to create another futuristic cityscape picture but soon thought that I already had done quite a bit in that field. The original intention was it to create yet another different perspective on my ‘Hadley’s Hope‘ cityscape series. When I finished the city part I left it alone for quite a while. Then I dug it out for an EvE Online Spaceship contest on Deviantart for this: ship. I needed a background for the presentation of that design and the city was perfect. Naturally I did not win anything on Deviantart. Later though I submitted the same entry to pretty much the same contest, with the difference that the contest was held by the EvE Online people themselves. There it was one of the winning designs. That was a surprise. And the presentation of the design surely did its part.
Now I did not want to waste that city and do something with it. So I sat down again and tried different ideas. The one that stuck then was something I wanted to do for a while. Adding some skywalk where people could look down to the city. Something that would really create a nice feel of scale. I couldn’t exactly tell if the pic now shows a viewing plattform from a building or a ship that is approaching the city. I leave that to your imagination. However, I like the idea of a ship.
Technically I recycled the city I used in Hadley’s Hope. Nonetheless I did quite some modifications on it since we’re looking at it from a totally different point of view. Creating the atmosphere wasn’t an easy task. Especially getting the clouds right. A lot of trial and error to get things right. The clouds in the render didn’t look very good in some parts to there was some Photoshop required to make it look right. Otherwise Vue did a nice job with the lighting and atmosphere and delivered a nice plate to work from.
Last but not least I must admit that it’s again one of the scenes I would love to see for real. Slowly gliding above that massive thing of a city. Watching the smaller transporters and gliders zipping through the clouds and canyons of buildings. Very StarWarsy but I find it cool.
As a part of the Luminarium Artgroup I had the chance to try myself on an idea that was floating through my mind for a while now. To tell a story with pictures. Now the idea itself is old and absolutely nothing new of course. But I hadn’t done something like this before. The Luminarium topic was ‘Sequential‘. Now that could be interpreted any way you want. I chose a somewhat comic like approach. What I wanted to do right from the beginning was to show how spaceships depart from a planet surface into space. I did not know how to visualize that exactly. Soon I found that, of course, some sort of cityscape thing would be the best way to depart from. Soon enough I also had a nice little story in mind. About a guy who worked in that city. Never saw the sunlight and any joy living there and just wants to get away from there. He decides to begin a new life in the off world colonies. (You get the Blade Runner ref there? Very good! ;))
Technically it’s all done using Vue and Photoshop. In Photoshop I used several filters to achieve a certain comic like flavour. Not sure if that succeeded though. The end result was very satisfying and again I learned a few things while working on the different images.
By the end of the making process I realized that the tour from the surface into space could only be the first part of the adventure. The story needs a better finish and that’s why I decided to add a ‘Part One’ to the title. Now I cannot say when I will create the second half of the series. We’ll see when it’s done I guess. For now I’m happy with the results of part one. And maybe it’s a good thing to leave the actual destination of our two ships to the imagination of the viewers. At least for a while! =)
“Do you get that feeling too? That feeling of excitement when you know the next day will be great because you’ll be off into the holidays with the family or something? Now this here is different. The last 10yrs I’m saving up for this special moment. To leave this place and start over somewhere else. This is the first step of my endeavour and I’m so excited!”
‘Here We Go Again’
“There is surely one thing I will definitely not miss. Working in this heavy industrial environment was a pain. All day long in the shadows of these superstructure towers. Knowing there’s a warm sun… but never seeing it. I hope the colonies will offer a more peaceful working environment. It’ll be hard there too. No doubt. But it will be better!”
“That’s the dream. At least when you’re looking for it here. Living in the higher levels of these skytowers. I never was so high up but I saw pictures of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine. My dreams lie beyond these towers and the planet. Can’t wait to get there. Can’t wait to see my own sunsets.”
‘Leaving The Fields Of Steel’
“Looking down into this mess of a city it looks almost peaceful. A symbol of how far mankind came the last 500 years. All the magic we are able to do now and take for granted. All these amazing achievements. But we’re sill looking for the things we’ve always been looking for. Peace, hope, new goals and a better life.”
‘All These Worlds Are Yours’
“I travelled into space maybe three or four times and the sight is still the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It must be the saddest thing to work up here. Seeing this grand view but not being able to appreciate it anymore. That’ll never happen to me!”
‘Begin A New Life’
“Oh, I almost forgot that funny prickling feeling when a ship enters the space dock and shifts gravity fields. That must be how true excitement really feels! Can’t wait to get through transition and board the ship to the colonies. I hope so much this endeavour will lead me somewhere good. I’m sure it will. That’s the dream!”
DeviantPrints has a limited time free worldwide economy shipping action until the 15th of december. Head over to my store and find some real hq prints of my work. May it be for yourself or a present for christmas! Digital Art, Photography, Abstract and Fractals… i’m sure there’s something for everyone’s taste. The free shipping is valid as soon as you spend $10 or more on a product. Quite a cool offer i wouldn’t miss! From my experience the shipping and print quality is pretty exceptional. Worth a look.
Yeah you could say i fell in love with the city i created in ‘Phoenix Rising‘. Since i have built me quite a nice plate in Vue i had to take another visit. And it could become more in the future. I’m sure you don’t mind as long as some stunning vistas like this one are the results of the excursions. Again i’m wondering why i’m into such megacities. I’m very interested in technology, where it took us in the past and where it may take us in the future. Maybe that’s a reason.
When i started this one i didn’t have a real plan. I was just playing with atmospheres and clouds in Vue and found a nice point of view on the city part we see farther in the back of my ‘Phoenix Rising‘ picture. I started to add more details to that area and moved objects around to find a good composition. Lots of smaller testrenders happening in that stage. When i had arranged everything to a point of satisfaction i started play with the lighting. I really wanted to make it look somewhat photoreal without to lose the usual tension and contrast that i usually get into my pics. I eventually became undecided between a more natural lighted sunset with the light source behind the camera and a real devilish/hellish red backlit situation with the sun shining directly into the cam.
I stuck to the backlit setup because of the tension it created in the scene. Nonetheless i had a problem with visible detail. Since it all was pretty much in shadow. But i wanted lots of details visible! What i did was rendering both lighting situations i had in mind. The one with the sun behind the camera captured all the little details i wanted visible. I took that render pass and layered it above the backlit version and started work both together. That’s a technique i use whenever i want more detail in certain shadowy areas. Of course you can also use the multipass possibilities of Vue to fix those. It all depends on what you want to achieve.
In the end i managed to get a pretty decent result together that can walk hand in hand with my ‘Phoenix Rising’ project. It shows another side of that megacity. A bit darker and dense… almost like you could swim through the atmosphere. Another view i would die for to see for real.
I finished this quite a while ago and finally i got it onto my page. All the time i was thinking about what else i could add to make it even more interesting. Stuff like that can be a trap. Instead of realizing that the pic is pretty much done you keep thinking and thinking. In the end this is a rare pic to find in my gallery. I can’t remember many night scenes i did so far. It’s not that it’s difficult to do them. Somehow i’m more the evening or morning type with my paintings. This picture here has quite some nice details and atmosphere. Could be a scene straight out of Total Recall or Blade Runner.
Here we have a picture i created last year for an experimental shortfilm by Chris Bouchard. He’s the guy who made that fairly successful ‘Hunt for Gollum’ LotR fanfilm that created quite a buzz and generated millions of hits. However… what he needed were a few backgrounds and i tried myself on some. We also used my ‘Epica‘ painting, with quite some extensions, as the general background. This picture here was not used like intended but still found it’s way into the film. I really like this one a lot and it’s my favourite of the ones i created. Maybe because it reminds me of that famous Blade Runner scene at the end of the movie.
Phoenix Rising is without doubt the largest personal project i ever did so far. The project involved in depth work with Vue 8, Photoshop, After Effects and minor sound editing. The techniques i used were basically digital matte painting oriented and involved camera mapping, editing, motion tracking and of course 2d and 3d work.
In the beginning i was thinking about how i could top the success and personal achievements i got out of ‘Gates To Elysium’. That was late May 2009. That picture was able to gain itself a CGChoice Award on CGTalk and that means a lot to me especially motivation wise. But the question still was how i could top that. And by that i don’t mean prizes or awards. Would i be able to create a similar good or even better piece of work? Something that would satisfy me on all levels…?
November 2009 i started to play with an idea without actually thinking about making this my benchmark for 2010. I fiddled around with Vue since i knew it would play a significant part in the upcoming project. I tossed around some objects and soon packed the scene full to the brim with stuff. Since i still am not the brightest light in 3d modeling i worked much like in the last years project and used parts of the DAZ 3D Cityblocks to arrange me the scene. Again i took lots of the models apart and reorganized them to make the buildings look the way i wanted. Knowing that quite some Photoshop work would be laid on top of it all. Vue already started to act up because of the load. So i decided to leave that behind and concentrated on the atmosphere aspect of the scene. I already had a really beautiful cloud setup and lighting. I knew i had to do something with it. Soon after that i felt a deep pain in my brain when i saw the needed render times for that atmosphere. I started a test render for those clouds and the atmosphere and it took ages. I did the render just to see how it would look in the end. I were like 60-70hrs when it was done. And the clouds still looked nice on 5000px wide.
February 2010 i picked up the project and really started to work on it. Building up the city elements and experimenting with the tons of ideas i got when i worked on it. Finding the right position for the camera wasn’t an easy task here. I already was playing with the idea of making a camera mapping animation out of the project. Friends are calling me ‘sick’ and ‘lunatic’ now. But that’s the price you pay. If i would have known how much work i had to invest… i guess i would have stopped right away. But i didn’t know and when i was already working on it… i wanted it to be done right.
Early March was the time i started to render the final parts for the Photoshop work. Starting with the atmosphere and the background city. The atmosphere and background elements were rendered on a slightly higher quality than the foreground elements since the lighting and clouds needed to look good. Without too much noise and everything. It was a painstakingly 90hrs render. It took me 5 days to render it. Thank god for the resume ability of Vue. But it was worth the wait! When it was done i had really good multipass material to work with. All the other foreground elements were rendered in roughly 30hrs. Light and atmosphere did not require super high settings so i turned those down a but. All of these renders were done with multipass options. The ultimate freedom for the Photoshop work.
With the main renders done i started to stitch everything together in Photoshop. That was the easiest part. I already had several hours into the Photoshop work when i accidentally overwrote the Photoshop file with all the layers. §”4%&=? awesome! In the end i would say that it was good. I had the chance to redo some of the work steps and saw that i also had an alternative way to do certain operations. That lead to a better picture quality in certain areas of the sky. Nonetheless i wasn’t happy when i found out that my PSD was ruined. That was the first time something like that ever happened to me. Normally I’m very careful with my PSD files.
With the Photoshop work going on i discovered possibilities in the picture that i had to take. So i dug out Vue again to add even more details. Again multipass was helpful to easily place the new elements in the picture. The ultimate freedom! The Photoshop work was a lot of fun and seeing worlds building up in front of your eyes is always very satisfying. I was thinking about the fact that i really would love to see this in moving pictures.
I also thought that i must be crazy. All the ideas i had in mind for an animation. All the time i would need to realize these ideas! Yes, crazy! However! Late march i started to play with Vue and made first experiments with a possible camera mapping animation for the picture. The picture was pretty much done, except for some stylistic things and very small details.
Now camera mapping is not a thing i would say I’m an expert in. I’m not exactly firm in 3d modeling and kept the ingredients from the original Vue scene pretty much untouched in Photoshop. That means i did not add extra elements to the buildings etc – i only added things within the actual building shapes. Always keeping in mind that i ‘could’ be doing an animation of this. To have worked that way really helped me with the camera mapping. Nonetheless i had to take the painting apart again. Foreground, background, middle pieces etc etc etc – so that you would be able to see what actually is behind the big towers. All these textures demanded extra attention and a lot of extra work. That done i could concentrate on the ships!
In April then i was in the middle of the animation work. Man how much time went into the rendering of all the different passes. Not to mention the test renders! Not to mention the disk space needed! I rendered everything in uncompressed AVI format. 5.6gb for 40 seconds of film in 1920×1038. And i had to split the renders in the middle because when i rendered it in on task it produced a weird error and played the movie not like it was supposed to. So a lot of stitching of movie files going on. Not to mention that After Effects can be a true pain to work with. Tons of crashes! But somehow i got through.
Early May i was pretty much done with the animation itself and saw how i could get it polished perfectly in After Effects. I wanted to add a bit of dirt to the lens and found some helpful tutorials on YouTube. The internet generally is amazing for tutorials… even for video stuff.
With the animation done i got back to the painting and refined a few more things on it. That makes it look a tiny bit different than the animation. Nonetheless i’m very happy with both results and never thought i would be able to pull all that off.
While ‘Phoenix Rising’ is the actual project name i found it interesting to give the city a name too. ‘Hadley’s Hope’ is of course the name of the camp on planet LV426 in James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’. I liked the idea of taking that camp and its story out of the ‘Aliens’ context and wondered how that colony would/could look after 1000 years.
Oh a lot of text and it could be so much more! Hope you enjoy the picture, the animation and the whole world you can discover! It was quite a journey to explore and create it! Ultimately it does satisfy m on all level. It’s again a personal achievement i never thought i would be able to pull off. That’s a good thing.
Special Thanks: http://www.greendjohn.net for his awesome music! His piece ‘Windcatcher’ was perfect for my project and conveys exactly the atmosphere i wanted.
Hope you guys enjoy this shorty. For me this is a special animation since so much time went into it. It was the most complex endeavour i ever did and it was worth it!
5000px wide – Photoshop – Vue – After Effects – Infinite Number of Hours