Hey guys- I'm going to be doing an environment or two a week for the next few weeks. This is the first one I plan on focusing on, since I've have the best idea of what I want out of it. It's a view of a Petra-like gate that's part of a long labyrinth-like system of enclosed or semi-enclosed canyons- they are supposed to be pretty substantial in scale, since you would be navigating through here with an airborne vehicle.
Here are some thumbnails I did this morning. I don't feel like I'm totally there yet, so I'll try to do some more comps after class and work things out more, including adding some critters or something for scale...
Any initial thoughs would be great, I feel pretty rusty at composition. Are any of these working or not? I hope to do some more clear comps up this evening.
Hey, thanks so much for the pointers and the comp!
I actually did the lower 6 thumbnails as though they were in an enclosed canyon, like Antelope Canyon. I think that might be more of an interesting (and intimidating) experience to try and navigate with a ship. But that does mean the scale needs to be pretty intense- too large for a single human figure to really show up at all, unfortunately. I was looking at how you've placed the horizon line farther up in order to place the gate further back, though, so I've tried that, and used a crashed ship for scale- because I want it to still feel like no one has been here in a while.
I'm still not totally happy with it, but I'm not sure if maybe I'm just being indecisive.
Last edited by Caelan; October 5th, 2012 at 12:25 AM. Reason: futzing with image
Even though the tunnel is dark, try and focus on using value to establish your foreground, middleground, and background - having them will really help sell the depth of your environment as well as create a certain mood. For instance, maybe you want to show off the crash wreckage, so you might consider making that light/illuminated enough to make out enough details that say "spacewreck"...and if that's your lighter portion, maybe you want to make the trailing tunnels darker to contrast the middleground and to emphasize the "lost" feeling that the piece should create. Or, conversely, maybe you want to emphasize the brightness of the light at the end of the tunnel, in which case, you might make the furthest part bright, contrasted with heavy darks of the tunnel/middleground with only the slight outline of reflected light to show the silohuette of the wreckage... I'd suggest re-looking back at the thumbnails to simplify the shades of the composition and block those in instead of leaving the linework you've got going on. Hope that helps, or let me know if you need me to clarify anything I said - it's always difficult to describe visual things in words after all, haha.
Thanks for the feedback! Of those options, I think I'd prefer to keep the further areas brighter, to make it clear that they are paths that are open for passage.
I've poked around with it some more this evening, cutting another face out of the middle mass and painting over the lines. I also tried cutting out the light ray in the foreground to see how that changed things. Here are versions with and without that ray... I think I'm warming up to it without the ray.
I would work more with the thumbnails.
They all look very similar as they are now.
Do 40 more
Haha- yeah, I guess they are. I had done another page prior to the one I posted, which led me into that arrangement, but they were sloppy and on the back of something else so I never scanned it.
I can do more if I need to, is the comp really that boring? XP
I feel like the composition is too balanced between the two passages--this almost looks like two images of a cave/labyrinth pasted next to each other. They're nearly the same size, value, and shape. I actually like the version with the ray more because of this, it breaks the redundancy. I think adding critters or bones, like you mentioned, will help with scale, since at the moment I'm not understanding the size of this.
Okay, thanks a bunch! I think you're spot on about the balance. I'm going to try stretching out the image ratio, so I can skew the balance without losing room to work within.
Okay, so I've messed around with it some more. I went back and looked at the Edgar Payne compositions and tried to apply one of them here in my adjustments.
I've also included some creatures for scale, though I'm not sure whether it is working because I'm not sure how large the beasties themselves are reading without a point of reference. I'm actually having a hard time deciding which of these makes it look larger on the whole, too... Although if they serve to make the chamber look like a space large enough to fly through, I guess they are doing the trick?
Last edited by Caelan; October 7th, 2012 at 01:49 AM.
looking fine..perhaps you could add some straight edges to the labyrinth rock walls ..rock is hard ..
..the labyrinth walls look soft and forgiving
Making progress! I had some trouble with the color early on- I did some different color comps and it just wasn't working, so I went and talked to my professor about it. We talked about color temperature and how this is one of the rare situations where atmospheric perspective's temperature reverses, with warms receding and cools further towards the front. Once I stopped trying to shove pale lilac into the far bg, it started working a lot better.
I'm out of town for the next few days so I won't be able to work on it, but here's an in progress shot for now.
Back in town and back to work on this one! Been at it for a few hours, but taking a brief mental break. Trying to finish it up- or mostly finish it up- tonight. Next step is to clean up that too-crisp edge on the middle-left and to paint the critter there back in.
Just because you have strong light flooding an area doesn't mean that there won't be areas of strong contrast. Also consider where the bouced light is coming from and how it bounced there.
Yeah, I've never worked with this much reflected light before, so I feel like I'm sort of guessing my way along. Are there any areas specifically that you feel are incorrect? I'm afraid that if I push more contrast in the further background that it will diminish the atmospheric perspective.
Black Spot, I was thinking about what you said while I was standing back from it, and trying to figure out why I wasn't feeling happy with it overall so far.
I went back and looked at my references some more with contrast in mind, and then I went back in and re-painted the surfaces of a lot of the stone walls on the left. I think they are looking much better and less static as a result; I had let the rendering I was doing get too static and regular, and wasn't really thinking about the way the lighting was striking it because I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing in some places with whether the light would be more from ambient light above or bounced light below. Still not feeling confident with that, but it's something I just need to practice more in studies.
Anyway, time for a break, then back to it!
Whew! I think it is finally done; unfortunately I'm not sure how well the color shifts from monitor to monitor, in such a saturated piece... things always look different when I pull them over onto my primary monitor from the cintiq and I'm never sure what accurate actually /is/.
Anyway, this took longer than I wanted, but I'm so glad it is done! Let me know what you think and if you think there is anything that needs more tweaking?