Friday, June 6, 2014

Galaxy Prime Art 6: Routine Maintenance

I think this one was also an earlier illustration. I recall that I originally intended to put this into space, but I had some better ships, so I used them, instead.

GP, pg. 108, "Routine maintenance isn't just a good idea...
it's a matter of life and death!"

And now for a revelation that is hysterical... at least to me. As you can see, I did this four years ago. It's been in print in the Galaxy Prime Role Playing Game book since early 2011. This is the first time I ever noticed that the front landing gear is not connected to anything! Yup. I deleted a line on the ship, or something like that. Anyway, it's just floating there. Unbelievable!

Honestly, someone should contact the editor of the book and give him a piece of their mind... oh, wait. I WAS THE EDITOR. Ummmm... never mind.

Behind the Scenes
I don't know if any of you are really interested in the process behind how I create this artwork, but as I've said, I basically use two programs, one of which is Strata Design 3D. As with all 3D applications, you place a model into the program and then you can move it in three dimensions, putting it as close or far away from the "camera" as you want. You can also move the camera around (up, down, turn left or right), and in this program, you can even define what type of lens and shutter speed you want to use. In other words, it tries to duplicate the real world as closely as possible.

While working in the program, everything is very rough. You see shapes, basic colors, and even some detail. But it's still a far cry from the final image that is "rendered." The images I render (that is, process into the final image with reflections, shadows, etc.) are actually in color. Another thing about rendering -- you can render at different levels of complexity. The image above was based on a level of complexity that included detailed shadows on the fuselage of the ship and you can see the details on the fuel depots in the background (yeah... that's what those are supposed to be). One of the other base renders I created included simplified shadows -- sort of a "toon" render, if you will. This helps provide basic color blocking and outlines... at lease usually. As you can see, the outline on the landing gear flap didn't come in and I missed adding it by hand (and yes, there's a lot of touch-ups that are required in this process).

A simplified color render that was used as part of my process that
ended with the image above. In other words, this is a "Before" picture.

Now, you may ask why I bother with color, only take it out in the end? That's easy -- 3D apps are set up to work with real-world colors, so taking it out there wouldn't be easy. And as for my Photoshop trickery that converts it into black & white line art? That's easy. I take out the color because the book was printed in black & white!

PS: Looking at the color image above, I can see how, in my haste, I removed the metal flap that covered the landing gear.

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