I am still working on the Castle in my other WIP, but as always have a few other things on the go. This is a very early thumbnail.
In case it is not clear what is going on yet, you are looking at a very deep, pretty wide, chasm. You can just see the strip of light at the top. There are towns built on the massive tree roots that drop down the chasm walls. The roots have been used to bridge the chasm in a couple of places and the towns are built out on these. In the foreground there are some people walking down the staircase. There are nets in the distance - they catch things that fall from the cities and higher up in the chasm.
The concept is from a book by Sherri S Tepper - The Mavin Manyshaped trilogy - and I have wanted to draw this scene for some time.
There are some other elements I mean to add, and I have not added much lighting yet at all. There will be light sources other than the top of the chasm.
My question for the moment is: Does the forced perspective work? I've left the perspective lines over the image, and you can see that I have bent the foreground out a little so there will be the opportunity to add more detail there and have some focus on the people. My worry at this early stage is that we are looking across at the people, and up at the chasm at the same time. Can I get away with a sort of fish eye lens effect (is that the right term)? I want the viewers eye to be drawn from the people up to the end of the chasm and for the extreme depth to be apparent.
Last edited by Chris-Garrett; September 21st, 2011 at 05:26 PM.
Reason: Updating thumbnail
Those perspective lines you have will actually have to be curved (which you actually have in your drawing a little bit), and I think there will need to be more distance between the figures and the next bridge which you can see so much of the bottom of. I'm not sure how to go about plotting something like this out, but I'm sure you can find some information on 'curvilinear perspective'.
I found a really nice link on how to draw a four-point perspective grid in a vector package and I've overlaid it on my image and tweaked the composition a little to accomodate it.
The method was basically to draw a stright-line two-point perspective grid with one vanishing point to the far left and the other to the far right, and then to overlay it with a series of ovals to produce the curves. It may not be a 100% accurate implementation of curvilinear perspective, but I think it produced a pretty good grid for my composition. I looked at 5-point perspective but felt it was too distorted for my purposes.
I dont have access to my art PC at the moment though. As soon as I do, I'll post the tutorial link and a modified thumbnail.
I wanted to attach my grid, but SVGs don't appear to be a valid file type (I created the grid in inkscape, exported it as a bitmap and imported it into PS). The article is clear, though.
I've attached a newer thumbnail, and one with the grid lines so you can see how I've placed it. What do you all think? Does it work? I'm inclined to think it does at the moment.
Also for your delectation, I've drawn some glowing floating gasbag fish to go in the scene. I hope to put in more than two (maybe a few dozen) although I haven't exactly decided where yet. I'm just working on the basic creature design for now. They will be light sources, which should bring some interest into the scene. How do they look? Am I headed in a good direction with their design? In the book, they are caught and used as lamps by the people who live in the towns in the chasm.
Oh yes - still no people on the stairs, but I will put them in soon. They wont be afraid of the fish; they are harmless and I want to put enough around that the scene has a sense of wonder to it.
Heh the detailed fish designs were a bit of a tangent to be honest. But they were fun.
As you say, they are going to be very small. I'm wrestling with how to fit it all together in a way that will allow the picture to be read well. In my early renders the fish are rather too garish compared to the almost monotone chasm. I think this picture may take a while for me to figure out!
Haha. Those certainly are for our delectation. I'd think you could portray them like fireflies in a field: not really contributing to the overall lighting, and getting smaller and slightly fainter in the distance.
Be careful with those roots that they don't get too high in contrast and ruin the depth.
I'm a bit worried about the top of your composition. It's dangerously close to being a peak. You could either crop it a bit lower, or (and I think this is a better idea) extend the picture more and show the top of the canyon walls (which would splay out from a single, central vanishing point).
Thank you for all comments so far. I've not had much time to spend on this over the last few days, but have tried to progress the composition a bit. I'm beginning to think I should have chosen a slightly simpler composition, but it is throwing up some interesting questions for me to try and answer!
I've tried to take Mr Corlans suggestion about bringing in more space at the top of the composition, but I'm not sure if it works or not. The difficulty is that (as far as I can see, and I haven't found any examples to confirm or deny my ideas) the cliffs should effectively come out from all around the vanishing point - So the cliffs above the horizontal line the vanishing point is on look really distorted. Does anyone have any suggestions on this?
I've also added in more fish. Most of them will be glow-wormy, but some will be close enough / large enough to have some detail (although probably not as much as my concept sketches). I'll add some atmospheric swirls of mist etc once I'm totally happy with the placing of the stream of fish. I'm not sure whether to have them going along chasm or up vertically as you see them here. They are floating, not swimming, so I'm tending towards the vertical orientation.
I have three figures on the steps too. I intend to give them climbing equipment and may have one of them holding a torch if the fish don't cast enough of a glow. The front one needs to be a young, lithe (not busty) female. Shes a bit angular at the moment - I'll work on this.
Well I didn't see anything wrong with the top of your image before. Since no one has ever seen that before, it just looks crazy. No one is going to know whats going on at the top of the frame.
The values right now aren't making sense for a torch or for noticeably glowing fish. As it is now, they wouldn't need a torch to see, and the glows wouldn't really show. I would think the next step is to get that the way you want it. Darken the whole thing overall...if you want them to need a torch.
Okay, this is what I was thinking for the top. I found a photo that is fairly close to what I had in mind, and I did a paint-over. I basically just started using plain old one-point perspective as it got close to the top, plus another VP down on your horizon line for the top edges of the cliffs. I also tried a version with a closer bridge which I thought might help show the perspective better. And I couldn't resist fiddling around with some other stuff while I was at it, sorry. Feel free to scrap this whole idea though, it's your picture.
I think the figures might be too big. Did you find anything in your perspective travels with a square grid that you could use to scale them to the bridges? Or you could just fiddle with the size until they look right.