Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Secret Lairs: Influence Maps

When one first hears Sahara they picture sand, the desert and an isolated environment. As I have to make the lair of an emperor, there must be an empire for him to rule so I would have to still keep the feel of isolation from the rest of civilization but while doing this create a sense of regular use of this which can be done by making the lair look like its furnished but still 'lived in'

Although it may be too early I'm already thinking about the type of  people who would potentially inhabit this lair and the space surrounding it. The reason for this is mainly because the appearance of the people or their lifestyle which i may convey in this scene is a reflection of the time period and explains a lot more about the hero.

As my hero is an Emperor he is expected to be a highly respected hierarchical figure which therefore must be reflected in his lair through wealth and luxury. Until I am sure of the time period my hero and his lair will be based in I will be looking at all sorts of palaces and thrones to take out all the elements that I feel represent high class and power the best

Secret Lairs: Saharan Emperor

For our next project we were asked to pick two words out of the "blue box". The words I ended up with were 'Saharan' and 'Emperor' and therefore have to eventually create a 'lair' as such that a Saharan emperor would reside in.

I firstly separated the two words in order to go into detail on their individual meanings.


A vast desert of northern Africa extending east from the Atlantic coast to the Nile Valley and south from the Atlas Mountains to the region of the Sudan. During the Ice Age (about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago), the Sahara was a region of extensive shallow lakes watering large areas of vegetation, most of which had disappeared by Roman times. Introduction of the camel (probably in the first century a.d.) led to occupation by nomadic tribes who moved from oasis to oasis in search of water.


emperor [ˈɛmpərə]n
(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a monarch who rules or reigns over an empire

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Photoshop Thumbnail (3)

Last Thumbnail idea before final development

This is the last of my final 3 ideas that will be further developed into my 3 finished concept paintings. for this particular thumbnail I used various textures to get the ancient inscriptions on the walls, I'm not sure if i was subtle enough though. What do you think?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnails (3)

More Thumbnail Ideas

These are the rest of the thumbnail biro sketches I've done. I'm just using these as a guideline to discover more scenes, angles and ideas that I hadn't thought of already. I know '24' is less of a spaces and environment study and more of a camera shot of some sort but I left it in because I feel the use of perspective can work in another scene effectively.

Photoshop Thumbnail (2)

Second Photoshop Thumbnail

Like my first digital thumbnail, this one was just an exploration of perspective and depth but I'm really happy with the finished product so I'm keeping it as another final idea which I will experiment with further.

I was told by Jordan (digital painting lecturer) that I should veer away from using such soft brushes which I will do in future with my colour and composition studies of this scene. I know I've made some obvious mistakes and miscalculations but I'm hoping with the practice my further studies of these scenes will give me, my technique with photoshop will improve immensely.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Photoshop Thumbnail (1)

First Photoshop Thumbnail

This is my first attempt of a digitally painted thumbnail on photoshop. The composition was loosely inspired by thumbnails '12' and '14' where the main focus of the scene is a form of extraterrestrial architecture found by the arctic expedition. In this thumbnail I'm still getting the hang of digital tonal use and haven't found my specific technique in painting but after some more tries I think I should have my own individual style.

After some thought I figured I will probably stick with this composition as one of my final three thumbnail ideas although I'd have to do extra research on the details found on arctic mountains and probably adjust the angle to make the scene appear more sophisticated.

Perspective studies

Brief Perspective drawings

After my last bunch of thumbnails I felt that I needed to do some perspective drawings to improve on the angles of my thumbnails. These are just brief drawings to get my composition up to scratch so I'll probably end up doing more perspective studies later for my photoshop thumbnails.

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnails (2)

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnails (2)

Here are my second set of thumbnails. After doing them I feel I need some more practice with perspective and composition. I think I'll be taking a couple of these ideas and painting them up on photoshop. What do you think?

Online research: Further knowledge on the novel

Online research: Further knowledge on the novel

To make my thumbnails a more accurate reflection of what the novel is about I did some extra research on the plot, characters and the environments. On doing so I discovered that there are several different creatures in this world that the antagonist William Dyer and his expedition discovered. The two most known are:

Concept art of Elder thing

Elder Things
Described as "Six feet end to end - Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves -  In furrows between ridges are curious growths – combs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans". In context, the elder things are meant to have been the first extraterrestrial species that inhabited the earth around a billion years ago. They built huge cities on dry land and underwater with the help of the Shoggoths which are the race they created.

Concept art of Shoggoth

Described as "a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us".Creations of the Elder, they built the underwater cities for their masters. Although they could understand their masters language they were controlled hypnotically and had no real consciousness. These are the creatures that subtly feature in some of my thumbnails (tentacles) and are the explanation for any thumbnails with penguins (what they eat in the novel).

The Arctic

I also found out through my research that the author of the novel H.P. Lovecraft had almost an obsession with the Antarctic and its exploration. Biographer S.T. Joshi wrote "Lovecraft had been fascinated with the Antarctic continent since he was at least 12 years old, when he had written several small treatises on early Antarctic explorers"

Images of the arctic, Lovecraft's inspiration 

Type of mountains Lovecraft's novels were centered around
This realization made it all the more easier for me to seek inspiration. I could use this as an opportunity to study a specific type of atmosphere and note the small details about them (rocks, mist, details in snow) to make my final three thumbnails more accurate in depicting what the environment described in the novel would actually look like.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnails (1)

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnails (1)

Here are my first set of thumbnails for my H.P. Lovecraft novel 'At the Mountains of Madness'. As I said in my previous posts I prefer the traditional method of thumbnail drawing and jotting down ideas although it would probably be wiser to use this as an opportunity to practice on my photoshop painting, but for the limited time we were given to do these thumbnail drawings this method is best suited for me. feedback please!

First Influence Map

                                   INFLUENCE MAP

This influence map is derived from the highlighted descriptions in the H.P. Lovecraft novel excepts 'At the Mountains of Madness'. All the images on this influence map are based on what I saw in my mind while reading the excepts and therefore I will be using them to inspire my first set of thumbnail drawings.
I did this in the traditional way (jotting ideas on paper) because I feel when I work with paper and pen my ideas flow more naturally opposed to when using a computer.

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnail ideas

'At the Mountains of Madness' Thumbnail Ideas 

Because all three of my excerpts are from the same book I've just chosen what to me are the most significant pages that influenced my thumbnail ideas. From what I gathered from the excerpts and some brief online research on the novel I got a very strong impression of the type of mood the story is attempting to portray and therefore giving me an image of the types of surroundings I will be depicting in my thumbnails

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Le Voyage Dans la Lune - Review

Le Voyage Dans La Lune – Review

We were asked after a briefing to watch an old French silent film called Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A trip to the moon) by Georges Méliès. My initial thoughts while watching it were that it was an extremely amateur project which was expected as the use of the sophisticated angles and camera shots we’re all used to seeing hadn’t been introduced to film yet, but I made some interesting observations after seeing past these flaws.
 Firstly I realised that the set up was more of a theatrical presentation than a film shot, this being portrayed through the very linear composition of the people and objects in the shot. Secondly, it appeared to me that the directors wanted to get everything they felt was significant in the shot instead of having a more natural approach and allowing some things to be missed out as they would be in reality. The effect of this was that instead of the occupants of the scene being spread outwards, they were spread upwards (as if taking a class photo) which made the opening scenes come across as less of a film shot and more of a theatre performance.
The moon scenes are more centred around the background and environment which I gathered as the heroines in these scenes , despite being who the film revolves around, were in the bottom corners of the shots making the view of the earth from space more central and significant to the eye. The use of shot space improved significantly towards the end of the film as the background became more relevant and therefore was conveyed better.

Also, the moon scenes had an eerie feel to them which was probably the effect of the glowing lighting contrasted from the bleak dark background of space. Although after watching this short film I remain unimpressed with its storyline, visuals etc, I can appreciate its significance to time and the history of film. Its importance in history is evident through the influence it’s had on modern film and media. The biggest example of this would be in the Smashing Pumpkins ‘Tonight, Tonight’ music video in which a moon with human facial features is explored by humans just like in the film. Matt Groening’s Adult cartoon ‘Futurama’ also made reference to the old Méliès classic, where Bender the robot ends up throwing a bottle into a moon-headed beings face as a pun to the film, resembling the iconic moon-face with the rocket in it.