I started this one without having a specific plan. Except that I wanted to try myself on something similar to my Room With A View piece. And I wanted to do a night scene. Well, it looks like I had a plan… sorta.
I used this one to dig a little deeper into using Vue and vector shapes to create some architecture. The lady was implemented with help of DAZ3d tools. A lot of planning went into the look of the room and the balkony. Of course I wanted it futuristic and a little shiny. I had some fun playing with lights and creating the mood. Again the creation and rendering of the scene basically happened in two parts. On step for the city background and one step for the front. In Photoshop I brought it all together and did some major refinements to the room and city. Beside general fixes, refining and overpainting I also tried to add more detail to the dress our lady here is wearing. I also played with an idea I always wanted to try. A hologram display implemented into the windows. In this scene it’s basically turned off and only shows the name of the building complex. I enjoyed playing with that part.
Is there a larger story behind this one? Not this time to be honest. What’s the character doing? No idea. It looks as if she just came home from shopping and is calling a friend to tell about the newest stuff she was able to hunt down. Maybe her boyfriend is calling to take her out for dinner. I have no idea. =) Let your imagination decide.
The first new one for 2014 and right at first I want to apologize for this novel of a description. This one has just a too special history to leave it to rott in the back of my brain waiting to be forgotten. So where do I start…? Let’s start with some numbers.
298 hours – 33 minutes – 22 seconds. Originally planned as a ‘less is more’ side project, just to play around with a couple of ideas, it turned out to be the longest render I’ve ever had. Not having a renderfarm, that would help getting it done much faster, I had to rely on my 4 year old machine to get the job done. I must also admit that it was not planned at all, to create a scene that would take ages to render. But yeah, in the end it turned out to be an almost 300 hours render. Let’s just say that again I learned a lot!
My initial intention was to play around with a couple of fractal 3d objects I created with Xenodream. I wanted to try myself in some abstract 3d stuff and did a couple of render tests. I wasn’t really happy. What I saw instead was a possible Scifi scene that would be perfect to incorporate both elements… the Scifi component I always love to do… and the fractal component I was initially going for. I started to look at the project differently and treated it more like a scene instead of a 3d fractal experiment. Soon I found a nice lighting setup. After extending the fractals and optimizing the composition, I still needed a striking atmosphere. Now here is where it became tricky. Crazy like I am, I was aiming for a larger size image (as usual), to get a nice print quality from it. Larger picture equals longer render times. Of course! Now while looking for an atmosphere I started thinking about adding clouds to the whole setup. The scene itself rendered pretty fast up to that point. I thought there would be some room for volumetric clouds to spice it up a bit.
Dear Lord I did not expect what came next. After adding some clouds and doing some testrenders (which took forever and should have been a warning sign!) I found the clouds bring the whole thing together and create a tighter feel. I prepared the render and started it with my usual quality settings. I killed it after 8 hours when for 30 minutes nothing happened anymore and the render stopped to make progress. Damn! Eight hours wasted. I hate it when that happens. Again… the testrenders should have been the perfect warning indicator. I reduced my quality settings and concentrated purely on rendering out the clouds in an acceptable quality, along with a mask for easy editing later in Photoshop. After restarting the render it all did move a little faster than previously. But nothing prepared me for the odyssey I had to go through for the next two weeks! I must laugh just thinking about it.
I admit I’m not the most experienced guy when it comes to clouds and Vue. What I know is that it’s not uncommon that rendering of volumetric materials (like clouds) can take a lot lot lot of time. In Vue you can turn down the quality quite a bit with the clouds still looking perfectly fine. But the rest of the scene will suffer. So it’s best to render the clouds in a separate pass and combine scene and clouds later in Photoshop. The thing that drove me crazy was that you could not predict how long the render would probably take. Some areas of the picture are not influenced by the clouds and render much faster. Then later the render is working through cloud influenced areas again and massively slows down. Really painful to watch.
Up to a certain point I was able to pause the render process and save the scene to render again later. It must have been after 60% of the render was done when I wasn’t able to use the so called ‘resume’ option anymore and had to keep my machine running until the render finished. Reminding you that I don’t have a second machine to outsource my rendering to. So I sat there and tried not to do things that would cause the render to crash. Luckily four years ago I really invested some time into getting the right parts for this pc. So it never disappointed me when it came to rendering. It may take time but it gets the job done. So I moved over to my even older laptop – leaving the big machine alone to get the render through.
Eventually it got done… after almost 300 hours. Holy crap. Seriously. I was so happy when the picture was saved properly and was something I could work with. Then I became a little crazed out, because now I really had the pressure to do something cool with it! I mean, just imagine having a picture that took 300hrs to render and you wouldn’t be able to make use of it! A nightmare! And honestly, after a couple of days looking at the render, it started to look boring. MORE PRESSURE! =D
Yes, the infamous cloud render does look bland and boring but it was just one component of a bigger idea. After having that monster out of the way I was able to create and render the actual scene. The big cruiser hanging in the middle of these weird rock structures along with the smaller ships zipping about. Luckily the Photoshop work was a blast and I managed to get something done with help of the cloud render. Of course there was a lot of overpainting and refining. Especially when it came to the couds. The render gave me a good starting point to move on from.
If you ask me what we’re seeing in the scene I couldn’t give you a direct answer. From my point of view it’s a deep space exploration (hence the ship name DSE Scynthia) endeavour having fun exploring this weird planet. But is it a planet? Maybe it’s a giant asteroid field hanging in some sort of very dense nebula cloud thing? It could also be a secret pirate operation and the big ship is a sort of mobile base/hiding place. A friend of mine even said the rock formations could be molecules or DNA string like stuff. I leave it to your imagination and really hope you enjoy the view. Seriously! I really hope you enjoy it!
Thanks out to some friends and Nick, Michael Magin, David Luong for some finishing advice.
With this one we have another more experimental piece. After doing my Arcady’s Epiphany piece I still wanted to do something with the fractal 3d object I made with Xenodream. The Scifi nut that I am, it went into that realm again. The initial idea to the pic came when I had a sleepless night. You know these nights, when too many things go around in your head. The first pic I had in my head was just a hole in the ground with some structure in the middle of it. Later then came the idea making the structure some sort of scientific expedition, looking for something or investigating weird rock formations. I even started to write a short story but decided to post it later on my site. That story really needs polishing and who knows if I can find the time for it.
From a technical viewpoint this one was a monster. Sometimes I wonder how my computer manages to handle the stuff I throw at it. The pic was created through several separate Vue scene files. Basically separate files for the building and landscape. And one big file that contained all objects and was used for the render. The big one had 3gb size in the end. That’s huge even for my standards. A separate cloud pass (took almost 44hrs to render) was rendered to enhance the atmosphere on the surface. This pic was also the first one where I heavily used 3d lights directly in the scene. Normally I tend to add this stuff via Photoshop. First testrenders indicated that it wouldn’t work for this one and the look I was going for. The terrain was created with Worldmachine and did a nice job with the overall detail. Speaking of detail… there is a crazy load of it in there. I don’t know what was going on with me. Especially considering how painful it can be to implement certain details. I even tracked down the font that was used on the USS Sulaco in the movie Aliens. I wanted that for the names of my stations as well. Check out the print detail preview on the bottom of the post to see what I mean. Crazy, right? Last but not least of course Photoshop was used to basically pimp up the render with some postwork, effects and slight overpainting here and there.
This one was a commission a couple of weeks ago for New Worlds Project (rpgnewworlds.net). A site about Scifi writing and roleplaying. The site gathered some very creative folks to give life to all the ideas of the world they are trying to create and visualize. May it be environments, places, cities, races and spaceships. My mission was it to show parts of Arnou. The capital city of the Rosebourg Monarchy (Info).
I’m glad the pic works, since I tried some new approaches in regards of city creation. Especially when you have to create a picture that demands to show the size of the place. The base was created with Vue along with quite some technical difficulties. But I managed to keep these under control. A lof of painting and refining in Photoshop to make it all as moody and accurate (to the descriptions) as possible.
In the early days, when I started to understand that I may be able to create some really neat pictures, I had my sources for inspiration and motivation. Like everyone who is trying to get somewhere in a certain field. There was and still is a guy I look up to. Even if we kinda lost contact. But anyway. The guy I’m talking about is Gary Tonge. Very kind and good person. Many of his works inspired me. But there was always that one piece he did, I wanted to pay homage to. Trying my own version of the idea. That piece was ‘Sentinel‘. It is a very simple picture. No detail where is doesn’t need to be. Well packaged. Yes, my version is very different. But still… the creative spark came from Gary Tonge’s Sentinel.
What can be said about the creation process. Lets just get one thing out of the way. Yes. The waterfall was a pain to create! I don’t have a lot of waterfall textures and had to use what I had. A ton of work went into that detail. All the integration and overpainting, to make it sit well in the render. took some good time. The landscape was created with Worldmachine. The overall scene was done with Vue. A mixture of standard and procedural terrains.
For the creation of the building I used my lame 3d skills to get some shapes done. Basically a lot of vector import going on. Also reused certain elements from previous projects. The detail I wanted to have from the beginning were the sails. I always wanted to do something with that kind of element. Don’t ask me what the purpose of it is. Maybe it’s also able to collect energy from the sunlight. Much like solar panels. Ultimately it doesn’t matter. It looks cool enough to justify its appearance. =D
For quite some time I had the picture pretty much done. But whenever I looked at it I felt it did not look done yet. I was wondering why and took me a hile to think about what I could do to make it work. After a long time leaving the pic behind, I decided to work something out for the foreground. I felt that I found the right trail for a solution. It still took me a while to find the right setup with the cave like rock formations. These finally built the right frame to make the picture work.
So yeah… thanks Gary for the inspiration. It just took almost 10yrs to get this homage done. :D
Arcady, very early on, showed a huge fascination with all kinds of adventure stories. The traditional heroes and their bold undertakings to rescue a damsel in distress. Soon enough she started to think about becoming an author herself. “Someday, when I’m grown up!” She used to say. On her 12th birthday morning, her father decided to take her out into the field. Arcady had no idea what her father had in mind, but she saw him smile and his eyes shine bright like a star. “A place that always made me imagine my own adventures!”, he said. “Something inspirational!” Arcady could not resist, smiled at her dad and made herself ready for the trip. A quick breakfast and some words Arcady will never forget, when her dad said, “Time to write your own stories, darling!”.
This one was done for the 20th Exhibit of the Luminarium artgroup, created between October and December last year. The topic was ‘Adventure’ and I immediately had some ideas in my head.
Inspiration for this came from… I don’t know. Could be a mixture of things I saw in videogames and movies… as well as descriptions in books (and no, I haven’t seen Burton’s Alice yet) =). I was also playing around with Xenodream and its fractals. Its feature to export fractals to a 3d format enables creativity to fiddle around with a lot of ideas. The exported 3d fractals were easy to import into Vue. So I started to setup the scene until the almighty creative spark lit up.
Next stage was Photoshop. Again I used the Multipass options of Vue to render out additional elements to enhance the scene. A lot of work went into making everything fit and creating a nice depth. The original render already worked well but, as usual, I started to enhance the atmosphere part in Photoshop too. The plate pics for the planets were created with Vue as well. I’m not the most awesome space artist but I think the planets do look good enough. I also allowed myself to go for some really strong colours. I really wanted this to be an eyecatching pic, even in thumbnail size. Eventually I got to a point where I was rather pleased with the result.
When it comes to using fractal 3d objects then it’s highly possible you’ll see more of that in the future. =)
Hope you like what you see here. Enjoy!
The short little snippet of story is inspired by a character in Isaac Asimovs’s ‘Foundation’ books.
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.
Yet again I have to announce something that makes me proud. For the past year I sat down and created a neat little art book. This book contains 9 of my personal portfolio favourites on a very high quality 30×30 cm / 12×12 inches paper. All of them on two-page spreads. So basically 60cm wide. That gives some amazing detail! Additionally it’s packaged in a very well produced and manufactured binding. For details feel free to check this page. There you can find all necessary info about the book as well as detailed photos.
This is a picture I started a long time ago. It started as a little experiment and turned into something bigger than I intended. I also wanted to use this picture for a little training exercise, working in that format/aspect ratio. I haven’t done so in quite a while. I must admit that I did myself hard finding a good enough composition. First when I played around with tilted camera views I found a suitable setup. That made the pic come to life for me. Added quite a nice and dynamic feel.
Technically it’s less a digital matte painting approach than a digital painting style. I did not want to strangle myself with trying to go as photoreal as possible. I just wanted to play with this one. Again the layout of the scene was done with Vue. In Photoshop I reworked quite some parts and added textures here and there. The overpainting was fun to do. Additional renders helped to implement more ships and the foreground elements. I really enjoy the view here but I doubt it is something for people with fear of heights.
When I was in the last stages of the creative process I heard that the fabulous Jean Giraud aka Moebius passed away. I admit that I don’t know too much about the person, but I can clearly see how his art influenced tons of Scifi movies. And me… well I’m influenced by these movies. That’s for sure. So I did not have a title for the pic and decided to dedicate this one to Jean Giraud. His art will definitely live on and keep the memory alive.
5000×3333 – 300dpi – Vue – Photoshop
Wallpaper Pack contains two wallpaper versions in 1920×1200 and 1680×1050.