View Poll Results: Vote for your favorite Air-Born Acrobat!

52. You may not vote on this poll
  • (lark

    16 30.77%
  • Snarfevs

    15 28.85%
  • Farquad

    16 30.77%
  • Fedde

    1 1.92%
  • Rich3

    2 3.85%
  • Si Swe

    1 1.92%
  • Emokun

    1 1.92%
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
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    C.O.W. #184 Air-Born Acrobat_Voting!

    C.O.W. #184 Air-Born Acrobat- VOTING!!



    Topic: Air-Born Acrobat

    Deadline for the voting: Saturday August 15th 2010

    Posting thread (closed):
    Last edited by scorge; August 9th, 2010 at 12:15 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Artist: (lark

    Concept: thermosions (or the heat horders)

    the thermosions live on a planet with polarizing temperatures. most of the surface is covered in ice because of its distance from a sun. but the inner temperature is very hot and creates fissures along the surface where hot air is expelled. this gives the climate an intricate maze of very hot and very cold air currents.

    this strange climate has allowed them to adapt a way of capturing the hot air near the surface, and use it to rise to high altitudes while in cold air currents. once at a high altitude they glide down slowly, all the while expelling very little energy. while in the glide state, they become very agile, and quick. where they do most of their hunting of smaller flying beasts. when they get close enough to the surface, they head towards one of the hot air fissures to collect heat for their next ascension upwards, at which point they sleep and regain their strength. the cycle takes approximately 1 day of the planets day night cycle.

    Attachment 1030870

    during their youth as seen here, they depend on their mother to not only take the daring plunge to get hot air (this she provides upon returning to the youth after her trip to retrieve hot air, through the small opening near the bottom where the 4 appendages meet. the young fly under her and capture the heat that she releases through the hole to keep themselves aloft), but also to provide food in the form of prey she captures to give to the young.

    the birthing happens on one ascension where the litter (usually around 3-6 pups) is born within the enclosed heat section of the mother the newborns fall through the hole at the bottom of the mother but quickly form their bubble shape instinctualy to stay floating immediately after birth.

    Attachment 1030871

    the young stay under their mothers care for approximately their first 2-3 years of life. until becoming fully grown, and able to hunt their own food.

    the hunting process seen above is done during the gliding state of their flight/day cycle. they tend to spend most of the time scanning the skies for one of the many arctic birds found on the planet. once found they can go into extremely fast streamlined dives from above where their prey usually are caught unaware.

    Attachment 1030872

    once the thermosions reach the age of 8-10 they start to develop a frailness in the muscular membrane between their appendages that are used to capture the heat that gives them perpetual flight. when they reach this stage and attempt to retrieve heat from the planets hot air fissures(pictured above) the old thermosions cant succeed in the attempt of heat capture and slowly descend into the hot fissure where their bodies give in to the heat, and burn up. failing ultimately in the life long battle to stay in the air, and giving themselves to the heat that provides their species life.
    Last edited by (lark; July 31st, 2010 at 05:21 AM.

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  5. #3
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    Artist: snarfevs

    Concept: Schoenstein's Sulamawks

    Schoenstein's Sulamawks perpetually fly the dense skies of Gliese 581 d, only descending into the perpetual mega-cyclones of supercritical steam and liquid carbon dioxide near the surface at death. They exhibit remarkable morphological variation throughout their life cycle.

    Juvenile Stage:

    These aerial detritovores stay aloft by remaining entrained in the slipstreams/vortices that trail the ancient stage Sulamawks. They can glide between ancients with ease but are not capable of generating much lift of their own power. Numerous flight surfaces allow the juveniles to stay safely behind ancients as they maneuver.

    Adult Stage:

    Adults are independent hunters that catch smaller flying animals as well as photosynthetic gasbags, which they puncture using their dorsal fin. Eusocial under an ancient, they gather and regurgitate food for the entrained juveniles. Flapping and gliding actions keep them aloft.

    Ancient Stage:

    By transitioning to fully gliding flight and navigating the intense tropical convection cells of Gliese 581 d, adults can grow to very large sizes. They are able to take down entire flocks of small animals by engulfing them with a whale-like jaw system. Ancients must execute stately loops to bear down on prey flocks from above, so as not to stall when they open their mouths. Alternatively, they can be supported when in need by the regurgitus of the adults. Juveniles must keep up or fall away.
    Last edited by Snarfevs; July 31st, 2010 at 10:30 AM. Reason: compressed images a bit

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  7. #4
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    Artist: Farquad

    Concept: the Cloud Eater (aka Nimbus Nommer)

    The Cloud Eaters are a gargantuan, aerial species of the planet Demosthenes. Everything about this creature
    suggests longevity. The ancients, reaching lengths of over kilometers, are the most impressive and massive
    animal to ever be encountered on land or in air by the human race. And ancient they are, as their life spans

    It takes well over a 100 years to reach sexual maturity, therefore making reproduction slow for the cloud
    eater. However, this is not an issue, as the cloud eater knows no natural predators. Capable of maintaining
    cruising velocities well over 200 mph, and being able to swallow a pack of kathadian desert prowlers whole,
    not much stands in the way of even an adolescent cloud eater.

    As can be assumed from its appearance, the cloud eater is not equipped for terrestrial life whatsoever, and
    must gather sustenance through the means of consuming clouds and smaller lifeforms that take shelter in
    said clouds. Microorganisms and other free-floating creatures that cling to the moisture in these clouds
    provide some energy for this animal, and as to be expected, it does a lot of "cloud eating." To keep up with its
    energy needs, the cloud eater has also developed cells along its back that can adapt solar energy into a useable
    fuel source. Therefore, as night approaches, this animal actually flies in the opposite rotation of the planet, in
    order to be in dark for as little time as possible. An intelligent adaptation.

    (P.S. Notice the infinity symbol that the large one makes out of the loops in its body. Yay symbolism!!)
    Last edited by Farquad; July 31st, 2010 at 02:08 PM.

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  9. #5
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    Artist: fedde

    Concept: Pterodon fuusen

    Pterodon fuusen stays afloat on the winds by relying on a sack of gas located at the end of it's back which it fills with gases that are filtered out from the digestive system. The Pterodon fuusen can control it's altitude by taking in gas by digesting food or releasing it through pores on the balloon like sack, and/or sun bathe to heat up the gases to gain altitude. While sun bathing it stretches out it's wings towards the sun and releases blood through very elastic veins on their topsides which it pump back to it's gas sack and heat up the gas to raise upwards in the sky. It often take the time to sleep and sunbathe at the same time during the day and then hunt from evening until early morning. It feed on different kind of food depending on it's age but tries to get it's hands on any protein rich diet it can get.

    1. Young Stage:

    The Pterodon fuusen hatch from their parent's eggs in the back of the gas sack and then float away in the skies on their own hanging from their own little balloon. In this young stage they have enough fat on their larva looking bodies and will develop into their pre-adult stage by only extracting the fat content around their core. In this stage they can do nothing except to evolve, and many will get eaten by predatory birds or large insects that are attracted to it's protein rich skin.

    2. Pre-adult Stage:

    The pre-adult Pterodon fuusen has developed small wings, a small beak and small arms and is now able to hunt. It can move around by flapping it's short wings but it uses them mainly to catch sun light to gain heat. While hanging from it's balloon it can stretch out rather far and really quick to catch insects that fly by.

    3. Adult Stage:

    The Pterodon fuusen's oldest stage is it's prime stage. Now it is fully developed and will not grow any more. It sweeps through the air catching anything from insects to birds and eat pretty much the whole time except when it's asleep. It can become about 3 meters long and can take on even the largest birds, even if these often are to heavy for it to hold up in the air and mostly have to give them up if it starts falling towards the ground.
    The only purpose it has as an adult is to eat enough so it has enough energy to lay it's eggs for the next generation. It lay's the eggs in the gas sack where they develop safely. It can lay up to 50 small eggs depending on how much it has fed, but only a few will reach even it's pre-adult stage due to other predetors. When all the eggs have hatched the gas sack will burst and let the newborn Pterodon fuusen begin their lives, while the adult Pterodon fuusen will have lost it's ability to fly, and will die on it's quick decent heading for a crash in the ground.
    character-designer fedde

  10. #6
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    Artist: Rich3

    Concept: Oriental Cloud Serpent

    A long extinct species, the cloud serpents roamed the skies throughout the Pliocene and into to Pleistocene period (5million years - 100,000 years ago) over what is now Asia. Using a chemical reaction which turned food into lighter-than-air gas they were able to stay air-born for their entire lives. Although long gone, the memory of them lives on and they have inspired countless myths and legends worldwide.

    Birth- The young were born into cloud banks, which served as nursery's. Still in an embryonic state, they used food stores absorbed from the mother to create the chemical reaction required to stay aloft.

    Youth- Staying close to their parents the young serpents would hunt small birds, mainly strays from that engulfed by the massive adults. The volatile chemical reactions required to stay in the air meant that not all young would make it to adulthood.

    Adult- The older the serpent became, the more chemical plants, or orbs, they would grow. Staying in the air gradually became easier as more of the creature's body was used for lift. Females would develop young once every decade in lieu of more orbs.

    Attachment 1032157
    Last edited by Rich3; August 2nd, 2010 at 12:50 AM.

  11. #7
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    I ended up really rushing the eldest stage, so forgive my sloppiness. Great work everyone.

    artist: Si_Swe

    Concept: Monarch Skyrays

    On the gas giant Hermes Tau the plasma storms make the environment hostile and unlivable to all but a few life forms. Lacking solid ground to rest on, organisms on (or rather, in) the planet must adapt in order to remain airborne. One such creature is the Monarch Skyray. The largest and most ornate of the skyrays, they are named as such for their resemblance to manta rays back on earth. The skyray absorbs electrical energy from the plasma storms it soars through, absorbed through conductive tendrils on the back of it's head and the sides of it's mouth. A large portion of this electrical energy goes to organ functions and much of it straight to the brain. What remains is given to muscle functionality allowing them to remain soaring even without a food source.

    At a young age these tendrils seem only bulbs on the end of it's mandibles and the back of it's head plate. Because of this they require, rest and often stay near their mothers, resting on their fins when they are tired. Once their tendrils have developed enough they become solitary hunters. They're food mainly consists of small Fry sifted through they're mouths by flying through swarms, so much of their hunt consists of seeking out Fry swarms. Once found they will dive and flip through the swarms, swallowing the prey.

    Once the skyray has reached full maturity they will have an extra set of steering fins in the back and two extra sets of conductor tendrils. At this point they will seek out another fully matured skyray and lay their seed into it's back cavity (skyrays are strictly asexual). At this point the sky ray will develop a bright orange egg-sack which will hatch young and reform to hatch more. This will occur until three broods have been hatched. Once the broods have reached full maturity the matriarch dies fairly quickly. The electrical energy can keep it soaring for weeks after death.
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  12. #8
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    Artist: EmoKun

    Concept: The Great Wanderer of the Sky

    The Great Wanderer of the Sky is a mix of a plant with an insect and a bird. Its origin is a rare giant flower blooming in a tree not less strange or peculiar. This gargantuan creature flies sky high wandering aimlessly; sometimes it flies over the clouds to absorb solar energy to live.

    Birth stage – It is the most delicate stage because the flower must remain on the air for fifteen minutes, during this period it will absorb enough energy to evolve into a sort of bird/insect. At the beginning of this stage, a third eye will be formed on its forehead; this will let the creature to fly and sleep without falling thanks to the connections in independent sections of its brain. It will also lose some energy receptor antennas keeping one single antenna located on its head. This antenna will provide enough energy to live until the creature finishes evolving. Feathers will appear on its head and its tail; in addition, the leaves which were used as wings will also develop some feathers making them more suitable to fly. This will endow the creature with more agility and skill. At the final stage of its youth it will reach five metres length.

    Adulthood – At the age of two, the creature might reach up to ten metres length, all its body will be covered in feathers and its wings will be completely formed and prepared to fly sky high.

    Old stage – Finally, the creature doubles its size and evolves to its last stage; that occurs at the age of three. From this point on, it will generally live until the age of four, then its body will lose some strength and the creature will increasingly fly closer to the floor level. There will be a point when it will not absorb enough energy and then it will land instinctively and it will die.

    The function that this great creature plays in the environment is still shrouded in mystery; however there is a theory which claims that its existence might be crucial to many other living beings. This is due to the absorption of great amounts of solar energy; therefore, some amount of noxious radiation harmful to other species is absorbed together.

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  14. #9
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    Well I guess only a few entries will make crits pretty quick.

    Emokun - The level of detail is really good on areas like the face of the oldest, but it makes the piece look rushed because of the stark contrast in the levels of contrast of detail. The detail on those areas is fantastic but overall the piece looks a bit rushed.
    Rich3 - Because the design is so unique it's very hard to read. Some of parts of the design lack form, and some more attention to form via light and shadow would really help your piece out.
    Fedde - Your final product has a lot of personality and you have some pretty excellent textures throughout the oldest stage. I feel like more detail could have been put into the egg and the younger form than was. I also feel that the movement present in the oldest form looks a bit unnatural. Especially when considering the method with which it stays afloat versus how it appears to be moving.
    Farquad - You have fantastic rendering, the creature looks great and there's a nice sense of the lazy floating through the clouds. The three stages of life seem present enough and well illustrated. On the other hand, I didn't feel the acrobatic sense to the creatures. I could see a kilometers long creature doing sweeping curls through the air, but that falls short of the acrobatic aspect in my mind.
    snarfevs - I really like the style you consistently present. It's really clean and easy to read while giving a great level of detail and visual interest. I love your first form, though I've never been a fan of the high light bloom areas obscuring details. And the middle form is amazing. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of the final design. I'm not sure what the while whisps are and the far wing seems to absent.
    (lark - I felt that while there are some problem areas where the rendering gets a little blurry, this was the best illustration of the concept. I felt that your creature had an interesting life cycle, that well explained it's continually airborne nature, and thanks to the middle frame I really got a good idea of how it moved through the air, which felt acrobatic to me. I would've like to see the spines rendered a little crisper, but few complaints overall. You got my vote.
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  16. #10
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    unfortunately i couldn´t take part since i have loads of work to do. as always here go my crits+comments:

    voted (lark since he was the one who, besides a nice charming rendering and creaturedesign, provided the best concept of how to stay airborn a whole lifecycle.

    snarfevs: wow, great smooth rendering and pretty special look on the creature. i missed the above mentioned a bit.

    farquad: great rendering. i like the grainy look and the creature is very well designed and shows a load of details. would´ve voted for you if the concept of staying airborne the whole life would´ve been worked on stronger. since the worm has more or less no surface to glide on it has to be in continuous movement with its tail wich should be pretty exhausting even if it uses this kind of solar-energy-converter (wich can for example give it energy for its muscles). anyways a great piece.

    fedde: cool idea and very charming creature but i see one problem with its movement. if it flys forward, won´t the gasball block it and work like a brake?

    rich3: concept and creature are fine. the rewndering looks a bit flat but that gives a bit of a comic look wich probably is desired. the structure of the creature is a bit hard to read for me but the concept seems to work out.

    si_swe: i like the concept and creature design but the final piece is veeeery busy. in my opinion the ancient version looks really epic and its a pity that it is so hard to see in the nebular distance. the blue lights on the antennas could give some blue rimlights to define the contourlines and edges of the creature a bit more wich would divide them better from another and provide an impression that´s less busy - but that´s just a thought and i am not even sure if i am correct or if it might work. that would turn out as a really cool piece to keep if u worked more on the final since i dig the ancient one.

    emokun: a great idea of having this flowerthing as first stage and then evolving into the birdform. i miss some more rendering on the first two stages, they look sketched. overall this looks more like a two-stages lifecycle because there´s not much difference between the birdforms except the size. like in some other entries i miss some explanation on how such a creature can fly a whole lifetime since u chose a way of movement that can be pretty strenght-sapping.

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  18. #11
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    (lark: Voted for this. I thought the bauplan was very clever, what the creature changing between balloon and flapping ambulatory modes by furling/unfurling. Rendering is a little muddy but has a nice palette.

    Farquad: Great rendering and palette, I really liked the way you got all three forms in one scene.

    Fedde: The juvenile stage pleasingly evocative of a sycamore seed. Unfortunately the intermediate stage looks rather ungainly and the old stage is compromised by that motion blur. The colour choices are good though the rendering could be tightened up a bit.

    Rich3: I like the design a lot, especially the grasping limbs tucked under the front. Great colour choices. I feel the lighter-than-air aspect doesn't quite articulate the theme, though the design stands on its own rather well.

    Si Swe: It's hard to differentiate the different life stages here. This is not helped by the clouds and lightning that are obscuring your creatures. I know I've said this on every pic thus far, but the colour choices are good, as is the subtle bioluminescence.

    Emokun: The designs are nice but the apparently downy nature of the feathers makes the creature look less than ideally aerodynamic. This pic could have benefited from reinforcing shadows and highlights.

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  20. #12
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    (lark: Clever concept, well thought out life cycle. The use of light, especially in the old age concept is really striking. I think the rendering could be tighter, and there could be more structure to the limbs.

    snarfevs: Nice sense of realism and atmosphere in all the stages. I like the use of day and night surroundings. The second stage could have included more of the creature.

    Farquad: Gets my vote. Very good texture to the creature and good quality/ finish to the environment. The birth and first stage are well represented. It could have been more specialized in it's solar power function though.

    fedde: Cool transformation from birth to adulthood. The creature could probably benefit from more detail/ development to the wing area.

    Si_Swe: Good use of colour, very eye catching. Like you mentioned before the piece could have used more time for a more finished outcome.

    EmoKun: I like the colour transition from young to old, as well as the mystical feel that the face gives. The feathers could probably use more development, as well as the form (looks a bit too simple and bulky).

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  22. #13
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    Clark: I like your idea and especially the nutshell version of your creatures! Very tough but also kind of bitter sweet end of life they have. You get my vote!

    Farquad: Of course yours is super strong and the best rendered image. Close second.

    Emokun: Also a nice creature design. Could see these guys with their shiny feathers in a huge scale Asian RPG - something like Final Fantasy.

    Si_Swe: Had you rendered this piece as well as the design deserved (maybe putting a few more hours into it) - this would have been my favourite! I dig the look of it! Good job on the creature design. This is a creature design forum - so I almost should give you the vote - but Clark has the cool Fire-planet idea.

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