This series of pictures from 2011 was originally created for an Artgroup topic. The Luminarium had the topic Sequential and the goal was it to create a series of images that show some kind of progression or even tell a story. I took this opportunity to try myself on something I had in mind for a while now, but was reluctant to tackle, because I knew it would require some serious time and a thorough thought process. The end result (of ships leaving into space) may be simple, and I completely agree, but I wanted to have a little story behind it as well. And the potential to continue the series at a later point. Since I am in the final stages of the continuation I thought it would be cool to write up a summary/history of Endeavours - Part One.
“Do you get that feeling too? That feeling of excitement when you know the next day will be great because you’ll be off into the holidays with the family or something? Now this is not much different. To finally leave this place, start over somewhere else and see your loved ones again. This is the first step of my endeavour and I’m so excited!”
In this scene we have a not too high class departure platform for transport ships. People already waiting to enter the ship for their trip. In the background we get a glimpse at the city we are trying to leave behind. As well as a second ship that is already taking off. Over the course of the series we will follow both of these ships to their destination. I wanted this to have a more lower class industrial feel and the smoke all around helps to convey that rather nicely. There also went some experimentation into the process of creating the landing platforms that resulted in things I would probably tackle differently today. It's still a neat result that serves the purpose of the series.
‘Here We Go Again’
“There is surely one thing I will definitely not miss. Working in this heavy industrial environment was a pain. All day long in the shadows of these superstructure towers. Knowing there’s a warm sun… but never seeing it. I hope the colonies will offer a more peaceful working environment. It’ll be hard there too. No doubt. But it will be better! Not just because I won’t feel alone anymore.”
Here the ships have taken off, fly above an again rather industrial looking landscape of steel and factory buildings, that may build futuristic military killer robots or something. I worked rather loose on this one and did not invest too much time into defining specific looks. I wanted to play with ways to convey the sense of speed our two ships fly with. Therefor the blur effect on the bottom. I really enjoy how the lighting turned out there with some nice shadows and highlights. But again it is supposed to show an environment that is not too pleasant and more something you would want to get away from.
“That’s the dream. At least when you’re looking for it here. Living in the higher levels of these skytowers. I never was so high up but I saw pictures of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine. My dreams lie beyond these towers and this planet. Can’t wait to get there. Can’t wait to see my own sunsets.”
Over the past couple of years I noticed that especially this picture of the series is one that people enjoy the most. I still haven't figured out why but my guess is its simplicity and the sense of scale. Again I wanted to play with visually showing the sense of speed the ships zip along there with. We are already leaving the city behind as the ships climb higher and also suggest how huge of a city it must be. The cloud layer took a while to render but was worth the extra mile, since it helped give the scene more scale and visual impact, by adding some hightlights to the otherwise shadowy scene.
‘Leaving The Fields Of Steel’
“Looking down into this mess of a city it looks almost peaceful. A symbol of how far mankind came the last 500 years. All the magic we are able to do now and take for granted. All these amazing achievements. But we’re sill looking for the things we’ve always been looking for. Peace, family, hope, new goals and a better life.”
We follow our ships higher up and finally have a wider look at the city there. Now this is the hero picture of the series. For this one I went two extra miles, because I knew it had something special that needed extra attention. And here I can take the chance to write a little more about it.
The city is created with kitbashing several models I had from previous projects and scenes of the series. Much like the previous scenes I wanted to create something that more suggests detail than something that would actually make sense as a city. So the city itself is more a chaos of all kinds of shapes, buildings and towers. Inspiration for the city in this series were places like the Los Angeles in Blade Runner and other more dystopian looking materials. In Vue I created that field of buildings and towers (Fields OF Steel) and placed some mountain terrains around it. Vue is specialized in creating large scale environments and a perfect choice for scenes like this one. Even with the general chaotic look of the city I created blocks that kind of suggest a system of how the city is built and split into different areas. There went some extra time into balancing out the city elements, so it does not end up looking too cluttered and crowded. The ships we are following were also done via kitbashing various models. Kitbashing can be a lot of fun because it doesn't require too much work and is more focussed on creativity.The results can be surprising at times.
After finishing the scene setup I rendered a plate with multipass options. Multipass is an option that most modern 3d packages have and it's a component that can save you a lot of time. For example it allows you to render out masks for every single object in your scene. That helps if you need to rerender elements and replace things when in already in post-work. Multipass also allows you to render out pictures/passes with certain effects like specular highlights or shadows. It's something that can be very helpful pushing and suggesting detail that isn't actually there.
In Photoshop it's time to take all the rendered passes and combine them. There then goes a lot of time into fixing, overpainting and extending elements of the scene. Especially the atmosphere and lighting can be pushed quite a bit and make the depth work even better than in the actual render. Adding phototextures to the city helped to push and suggest more detail. Adding lights made the city come to life. Last but not least I played around with the colours a lot and added some fancy scifi lensflares to push the overall scifi feel of it.
Much like the 'Wave Goodbye' picture, this was also a rather successful piece. Again my guess is that it's the sense of scale and the perspective that sell this image. And the image itself certainly sells the whole series.
‘All These Worlds Are Yours’
“I travelled into space maybe three or four times and the sight is still the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It must be the saddest thing to work up here. Seeing this grand view but not being able to appreciate it anymore. That’ll never happen to me!”
Now we finally broke through into space and see our destination. It's an orbiting space station that is the first stop of our journey. The station serves as an end for this first part of the series. As you can see the image is not the super detailed quality of the previous image. I switched gears again and opted for a more loose look and feel. Even though there went some time into the station, everything around it was done rather efficiently without investing too much extra time.
‘Begin A New Life’
“Oh, I almost forgot that funny prickling feeling when a ship enters the space dock and shifts gravity fields. That must be how true excitement really feels! Can’t wait to get through transition and board the ship to the colonies. I hope so much this endeavour will lead me somewhere good. For me it is quite a risk. I’m sure it will! Someone is waiting there for me.”
We reached out destination and got permission to land on the station. Here I had some fun creating that force field. I absolutely wanted one ship right there breaking through the field while it moves into the hangar. There I had some fun and enjoy how the effect turned out. It is also the one image that shows more an interior scene. I admit that the perspective looks a little weird and the composition isn't the best. I guess I got lost having too much fun with the ship going through the force field.
To Be Continued...
Without spoiling too much I can already say that we will not stay there and leave that station in the continuation of the series. But I guess you figured that out by yourself. Even though it would surely be fun to explore that stations interiors a little more, I'm too much a fan of landscapes and wide open shots. And after 5 years (since Part One came out) that's maybe something that we will have in Endeavours - Part Two. So, stay tuned!