C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

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    Cow C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap


    Round #081

    Topic:
    Living Trap

    Deadline:
    Thursday, 29th March 2007





    - for any questions or help go here:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=37512

    note: The deadline won't be EXACTLY after a week...it can last up to 24 hours more, i am human and have to work also, you know

    Post your creature for this week!

    Attached Images Attached Images  
     


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    O_o sounds fun!

     

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    thanx to pvrhye for the topic suggestion...JakkaS, njoo and me slightly changed it

    ADDITIONAL INFO
    The creature itself is supposed to work as a trap - no trap built by the creature.
    Try to make it a really functional living trap, not just a lure in front of the opened mouth like an angler fish.


    Last edited by Fozzybar; March 22nd, 2007 at 08:18 AM.
     

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    Now that's a topic! This will be great.

     

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    Seems like there's always a living trap, no matter what topic. I'm sort of tired of those semi-imaginative baits... but what the hell... perhaps I'll have a go anyway... and make something far out stupid.
    Good idea to get rid of the angler-fish-stuff, though.

     

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    Ah...an extremely rough place holder!
    Sorry it's in such early stages, I wanted to post something quick and commit myself. It's meant to be a creature that takes root around decorated ruins, passes itself off as part of a wall or statue and traps unwary people or large creatures. At first it's root like appendages are spaced to form a suitable shelter and once someone tries to take up residence within them, they close around the victim and the creature can reach down and peck through small gaps in the root things. Well, that's the basic idea, heh.
    I want the creature to look like it's disguised as weathered, moss dappled, decorated stone with a mane and lower body of root like design.
    It's not much to work with yet but I'd love any suggestions for any aspect!

    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

    Last edited by Wex; March 22nd, 2007 at 03:02 PM.
     

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    Sounds like fun, nice and open ended. Ill have to get off my lazy ass and kick out some stuff.

    I like the head in the sketch you did there Wex

     

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    axe tailed skink

    right, ultra quick wip to save me re-drawing it when someone inevitabley thinks of the same idea!
    the idea is not really clever but it works. the Axe tailed skink digs itself a shallow groove in the ground an lies in it, it's body is camaflouged with it's surroundings to make it look like part of the ground, it's tail looks like a rock poking above ground (in some variations of the creature the tail looks like a branch or tree stump). a weight sensitive pad on it's back connects to a nerve cluster in its incredibly strong tail, when weight is sensed the tail springs up automatically and smashes or pierces the prey(humans get it in the chest, deer get it in the face....which would you rather be?) specially jointed bones in the base of the tail prevent the skink smashing itself in the back due to a "false alarm" (a branch falling off a tree for example.)
    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap


    "Put Away those Fiery Biscuits!"
     

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    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

    Juicy watermelon or carnivore? This creature originated when a wizard's experiments with fruit backfired. He was only trying to conjure up a mystically delicious smoothie, but this living trap was the result. It has since reproduced (asexually) and run amuck in the countryside where the creatures plague farmers and melon lovers. Many unwitting souls end up at the none too tender mercies of this predator's teeth and tentacles.

     

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    Here's my initial sketch:

    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap


    I don't have the name / storyline totally worked out yet but here's the basics:

    ~

    This creature lurks just off the shores of some of the most popular beaches in the world and uses its unique tongue to lure its prey. The end of it's tongue looks like the upper torso of a beautiful woman / adolescent child (not sure which yet). It holds the end of its tongue out of the water and flails it about mimicking the action of a swimmer in distress. When help arrives it uses it's claw (what look like arms on the distressed "swimmer") to grab onto it's prey and pulls it underwater into it's gaping mouth.

    (OK... so I have a bit of a back-story but I'll work on it and refine the origin, evolution of the beast.)

    ~

    The final image will also have a side-view of how the creature set's up and a close-up of the tongue "lure".

    Love to hear your thoughts...

    Last edited by Verithin; March 23rd, 2007 at 11:21 AM.
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    VERITHIN- you'll needto get an account with somone like photobucket ( www.photobucket.com )it's an online image hosting site that allows you to upload piccys, just use the IMG tag option and copy n paste the code onto your post here! hope that helps.

    "Put Away those Fiery Biscuits!"
     

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    Haha Dave Nielsen now those would be fun to fend off in a game! Imagine being attacked by water melons! ... hmmm, I just realized that sounds ambivalent. I guess under circumstances I wouldn't mind being attacked by melons

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by cherryworx
    VERITHIN- you'll needto get an account with somone like photobucket ( www.photobucket.com )it's an online image hosting site that allows you to upload piccys, just use the IMG tag option and copy n paste the code onto your post here! hope that helps.
    AHHH... the old fashioned way, no worries.

    Thanks!

    .

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    Yay a new topic

    Not sure I'll be able to finish something, I overstretched a muscle in my arm last week and I still feel it

    Nevertheless, here's some ideas done on the backside of a piece of paper during work. Not really happy with the ideas yet, it seems a bit like stating the obvious, a living trap...might be a good thing, but I rather do something 'new', something unexpected for this.

    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

     

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    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

    After more than a century of stories about "first contact," it's ironic that the actual event nearly led to the extinction of one of the most ancient entities in our galaxy, the life-forms we initially knew as the "Cloudfishers."

    First appearing in our skies nearly twenty years ago, these creatures began predating on higher animals and humans, although it took nearly a decade to recognize the reason for the mysterious disappearances. The Cloudfishers would drift high in the stratosphere, virtually invisible and transparent to radar and other scanning technologies. When thunderstorms began to develop near them, they would move deep into the cumulonimbus cloud formations, gaining energy from the same static differential that causes lightning. They lowered a thin tendril of extremely long-chain polymerized proteins, at the end of which was a net-like "trap" that was set to spring open and engulf prey, then retract to the floating creature for absorption. The traps were very hard to detect in the driving rainstorms during which the Cloudfishers always hunted.

    After their discovery and our realization of their predatory nature, an eight-year campaign to exterminate these hunters of men was very nearly successful, and was only halted following the realization that they are sentient creatures, not mindless killers. It was learned that they did not consider humans sentient any more than did we consider them; because of our nearly total mutual alienness, we could not see each other for what we really are.

    The amazing story of seven-year-old Miriam Orolian's psychic connection to the Cloudfishers is well-known and recounted elsewhere; as a result of her sacrifice, we now know that the Cloudfisher is only the reproductive form of a being that has been traveling through interstellar space for thousands of millennia. More energy than matter, the Stardrifter Colony survives almost exclusively through absortion of ambient radiation in space. It is only when their reproductive cycle is activated that increased energy demands drive them to seek a planetary environment, taking on the form of Cloudfishers. They utilize the biological substances harvested by "fishing" to fabricate new physical vessels for members of the ever-expanding colony.

    Miriam taught us that the humans taken by Cloudfishers did not "die" except in a limited physical sense, and were accepted into the Colony as new members, their consciousness becoming virtually immortal, with a future of traveling among the stars. She is also honored in the Colony as a savior and as a teacher, the first to comprehend and communicate between the minds of both humans and Stardrifters.

    EDIT__________________
    revised per comments. Fozzy, please let me know if something about the revised piece doesn't meet your requirements.

    Last edited by masque; March 28th, 2007 at 10:53 PM.
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    HAHA! you all have to put up with me again for another week, i took a week off offending all your eyes with my shit on canvas style creatures, but i learnt quite alot in between and hopefully mine might possibly be enterd thid time ey fozz?..hehe any way one question, i know it said it cant just be a normal creature with a bait, but can it have something to lure in its prey and then my creature slam shut on it like a mouse trap has cheese, the cheese isnt the trap but attracts the prey...can my monster have some cheese please(louise), (just for the sake of ryming hehe)?....would appreciate the info


    sofa

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    Living Trap

    here is my concept, {WIP}


    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

    Last edited by mattbyng; March 26th, 2007 at 06:03 AM.
    And they lived happily ever after..until Snow White got hit by a car.
     

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    Man, Masque has one of the most original entries I have seen so far for any competition here... good work.
    Heh. first time poster in an COW thread other then the Topic Suggestion-topic...

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    thank you, Colrouphobic, that's a very kind comment. i'm pleased you like the concept.

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    Working on mine, I just hope it's "trappy" enough to get accepted. WIP will be posted soon.

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    masque
    I'd prefer a bigger view of the creature rather than a thumbnail sized one...after all creatures are the main thing in this activity not city scapes

     

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    You really had a good idea Masque! Totally original

    I'd also like to see a larger view of the Cloudfisher!

     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fozzybar
    masque
    I'd prefer a bigger view of the creature rather than a thumbnail sized one...after all creatures are the main thing in this activity not city scapes
    the inset next to the title shows the main "body" of the creature clearly, does it not? please remember that this is a completely alien creature -- it has no specific terrestrial counterparts, though it does resemble a jellyfish to some degree. and it would be useless to try to show the entire creature all at once with its trap deployed because of the scale -- it hovers thousands of feet over its "victims;" seeing it all at once (which never happens anyway because of the way in which the creature operates) would make it seem like nothing but a nearly invisible thread-like line.

    as far as showing the city-scape, a trap always operates within a context, and in this case a very specific context that helps explain the success of the method -- the trap is hidden in and by the environment. the diagram explains its "technical" operation, and the scene shows the traps deployed and one having been sprung. since they operate within storm clouds, it was necessary to use a scale for the setting that incorporates both the area being "trapped" and the presence of the storm. i chose that as the main visual element because the trap is such a critical part of the brief.

    if you think the inset pic is too small, please explain why. it carries as much information about the creature as other images i've seen taken to poll. if you need a more detailed explanation of what you're seeing, i'd be happy to supply it -- the creature is very well thought out -- but it didn't seem necessary since the trapping aspect is quite clear and the rest of its anatomy isn't as relevant. it's also often more interesting to leave some aspects of the creature up to the viewer's imagination.

    the fact that this is only one form of the creature in no way contradicts the brief, and does lend an aspect of scope to the nature of the creature that makes it more interesting that the usual "strange thing that attacks and eats humans" so often seen here.
    ______________________________

    edit -- more info, but not particularly "on brief":
    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap
    buoyancy sac - this is the principle structure common to both the Stardrifter and Cloudfisher forms. it is a non-permeable microlayered membrane capable of both photoelectric and piezoelectric reactions (under conscious control). this interface with the exterior enviroment is the main source of energy for the creature, and also provides a high degree of protection against the often harsh environments the creature inhabits.

    placental membrane - this organ isolates the developing "offspring" from the parent organism, but allows for energy transfer. in non-reproductive Stardrifters, this organ is dormant and nearly vestigial.

    energy placenta - this structure is fabricated from biological substances absorbed from the Cloudfisher's "prey." it allows for transfer of energy from the placental membrane to the surface of the womb organ via thin connective tissues, like organic "wires." until the child organism is sufficently developed, this is the only method of energy-transfer possible, and is the "lifeline" of the alien embryo.

    womb sac - this is the actual child organism, essentially a developing buoyancy sac and precursors of other organs such as the cilia and reproductive structures. until it is mature enough to be born, it is wrapped in the energy-transferring fibers of the placenta, completely obscuring it from view. it is called the "womb sac" because of its resemblance to a human uterus, though the name is somewhat misleading.

    trap tendril - this is a highly specialized form of the Cloudfisher's motive cilia, and develops only during the reproductive phase. it is a very thin muscle-like fiber having great tensile strength due to its polymer-like linkages of extremely long protein molecules. at the "trap" end, these molecules segregate into parallel thread-like bundles to form the "net" of the trap. a small nodule at the end of the trap acts as both anchor for the trap and a sensor for reacting to prey. the trap's reaction is essentially reflexive, but can be controlled by conscious will if necessary.

    motive cilia - these tendrils help maintain the Cloudfisher's stability in the often turbulent storm interiors. Cloudfishers usually avoid the regions of extremely strong updraft and downdraft often present in thunderstorm cells, as it makes trapping prey more difficult, but they have been known to give temselves to these stormwinds for the sheer joy of the experience. they are particulary fond of riding tornadoes! by pulling all organs within the nearly indestructible buoyancy sac, they can experience these extremes of environment without damage, although occasionally direct lightning strikes can cause injuries.

    digestive cilia - these tendrils engulf the Cloudfisher's prey and dissolve the physical components into basic biological chemicals, while simultaneously preserving the prey's "energy soul" (for want of a better term) for inclusion in the Stardrifter Colony proper. even the e-souls of what we consider "lower" animals are preserved, as they provide a necessary contrast and a rich diversity in the Colony's psychic environment.

    so, that's probably a whole lot more than anyone would want to know about Cloudfishers, and while it may be interesting to some, it really doesn't address the brief (which emphasizes the "trap" aspect), it's all "backstory." the slightly more polished rendering brings nothing more to the Cloudfisher database, and no amount of polishing will improve that situation in terms of the brief.

    as far as my decision to use the setting for the trap as the main visual element, another reason beyond those stated above is to put the viewer in the place of a potential victim, and thus increase the "chill effect" of the trapping activity. the layout is designed to 1) depict the form of the creature in as much detail as is necessary to establish its validity; 2) provide an immediately recognizable and mundane setting without going overboard on detail of the setting; 3) show the traps in place and in action; 4) carry the eye from the inset of the main body to the image of the sprung trap, then to the diagram, near where the other set trap is placed to be rather easily noticeable, and last, to the human form lower right, which is the next victim, about to encounter a trap which is much more disguised (by intent). the viewer can potentially identify with this figure and thus become more involved with the concept -- "Watch out!"

    so you see, it isn't a matter of "replacing" the concept with a cityscape, it's a matter of using the context of the trap to reinforce the concept and draw the viewer into the potential danger more effectively.

    btw, this is not a "revised" entry! it's simply to provide more info and show why it doesn't bring anything more to the concept in terms of satisfying the brief.

    Last edited by masque; March 24th, 2007 at 11:48 AM.
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    I thought I might join in this time..
    my entry:

    The dragon eater is the definition of a living trap. Its chameleon like skin doesn't only allow it to change colors, but change its structure to match its surrounding living area. A massive creature which requires as much as two to three dragons a year to sustain its needs. Once it settles it lays still for months, carefully slowing its breathing, heartbeat and metabolism down to an incredibly low rate.
    Unfortunately for its sake, the camouflage worked too good and it soon found it self without prey. As it mostly ate the female dragons which often looked for a safe cave to lay their eggs. Soon all females were gone, and by eating the remaining males one by one; it sealed its fate and the fate of the dragons. Thus making its main source of food extinct; it made itself extinct.

    C.O.W. - #081: Living Trap

    J.L. ALFARO


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    JLAlfaro I love that concept. Pretty unique. =)

    I'm gonna try to kick something out to post...

     

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    sneaky, JLA, making the creature be the environment one of my very early brainfarts was along similar lines but in a modern urban setting -- a house-thing that eats unsuspecting young couples looking for a "unique fixer-upper," and real estate agents (no big loss on the latter )

    good concept!

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    masque
    i don't need any detailed descriptions of your creatures anatomy

    I was referring to the fact, that the actual creatures image was to small considering that you're entering an activity which IS about creatures at all...when i look at your first image i want to know what the nettles really look like, what this vein like lines are supposed to be, i can't spot what's going on in the core, though it must be interesting...thus i can't judge about the creatures design (the upper and main part).

    That's why i was asking for a bigger image, i am not asking for a justification, just a better in(sight) of your creature

     

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    then please tell me (in an exact percentage) how much bigger it needs to be to meet your criteria, which to me seems rather arbitrary, so i don't spend time revising only to find you again won't accept it. i don't want to make it any bigger than necessary.

    the creature does not have "nettles", it is not a jellyfish, it has masses of tendrils, which are of varying thickness, rather hairlike, as depicted. must i delineate every hairlike tendril? how much detail do you require, and why isn't that level of detail required in a great many other images taken to poll? as far as what is going on in the "core", that would be no clearer if every tendril were exactly delineated, because it would simply resemble to some degree a ball of string. is that enough for you? and how does this relate to the "trap" aspect that is the core of the brief?

    sorry if this seems picky but since you seem to have very specific criteria (that also seem to apply only to this image), i'd like to know what they are so i can insure your requirements are met.

    edit____
    here's some "real life" example of the type of tendrils i'm trying to show:
    http://www.divester.com/media/2006/0..._jellyfish.jpg
    http://imagesource.allposters.com/im...ma-Posters.jpg
    very dense and hairlike.

    and here's images of cilia, also used as a basis for the tendrils (most on a near-microscopic scale):
    http://www.gla.ac.uk/immunology/educ...ges/cilia1.JPG
    http://pediatrics.med.unc.edu/div/in...ages/cilia.jpg
    not a great deal of specific structure other than kind of squiggly, hairy shapes.
    this placenta -- http://www.med.yale.edu/obgyn/kliman...20Placenta.jpg -- doesn't show a great deal of highly recognizable structure either, other than its basic form. this kind of amorphous structure is the basis for the creature's "womb sac". if painted in detail it wouldn't carry a great deal more information -- it's structure is inherently kind of vague on a detailed level, but the basic form seems quite clear.

    Last edited by masque; March 24th, 2007 at 10:40 PM.
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  30. #29
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    funny you should say that masque, It was also one of my ideas to create a house-like trap set in a rural or suburban area.
    and might I suggest you make the side ortho larger to the height of the whole pic, shortening the trap tendril a bit will allow you to make it bigger. Its a gorgeous pic as usual, but I would enjoy it more without anything overlapping the painting.

    -JL

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    Quote Originally Posted by JLAlfaro
    funny you should say that masque, It was also one of my ideas to create a house-like trap set in a rural or suburban area.
    and might I suggest you make the side ortho larger to the height of the whole pic, shortening the trap tendril a bit will allow you to make it bigger. Its a gorgeous pic as usual, but I would enjoy it more without anything overlapping the painting.

    -JL
    hey man, great minds cogitate alike, right? but i know i've seen that kind of image somewhere before, so i tossed it. it's one of those pretty obvious ones.

    as far as the layout changes, i'll definitely give your suggestion a try. one of the reasons for the overlapping panels was to give visual prominence to the main body image and the diagram by making them obviously foreground, and the overlap helps push the trapping scene back and minimize its impact somewhat -- i didn't want that scene to strongly dominate because it is a fairly full enviro, necessary to carry the idea, but only so far. seeing more of the scene, or making it a "standalone" panel (no overlaps), actually makes it draw the eye more and makes seeing the traps more difficult.

    thanks for the feedback!

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