This second part of my Endeavours series continues the journey we started in part one and concludes the narrative I was originally going for. In part one we follow a man who wants to start a new life somewhere else. A story as old as mankind I suppose. This man has a small family (a wife and kid) who already moved into their new home. We can assume that he stayed behind to manage some things or has had some matters to deal with before he could go with them. Whatever it was, it took him a couple of weeks. He's missing his family and wants to be with them. We join him boarding the shuttle that brings him to a big space station in orbit. There part one ends.
When I finished part one I knew I would continue the series. I didn't exactly know how but gathered some ideas over time. Although I took me quite some time to collect ideas (visually and story wise) I'm now rather happy where part two lead me. I'd say part two is visually more interesting and leaves some doors open on how to proceed with a third part. I already collected some ideas while working on the artwork but need to think about how to tackle it properly first, before I start working on series three.
Goals for part two were to have a visual narrative that leads us from the space station to another planet, down to the surface of that planet and our protagonist finally reuniting with his family. Pretty basic setup but how to visually tackle this? Not to mention the visual world building that's needed to establish the world we're in. Well, I decided to split the series up into filler and hero artwork again. Series one did have one hero piece and that was 'Leaving The Fields Of Steel'. In series two I had two dedicated hero pieces and those were 'A Promise In Light' & 'Welcome Home'. However, I ended up investing much more time into the pictures than I did in series one. So you could say that there are no filler pieces this time. 'Towers Of Entropy' & 'I Shall Pass' are pieces that slipped in while I was working on other pictures of the series. Let's say I got inspired and decided to include these into the series and expand the world with their help. It turned out pretty good and the extra pictures do indeed help to give a better general impression of the story process/progress and world. At least so I hope.
‘Forget The Way We Lived’
“It’s finally happening. Barely sleeped last night. Boarded the ship that will take me to my loved ones. My new home. Can’t wait to get there. Can’t wait to welcome that new life. The view from up here is stunning. It really gives perspective. I wonder, will I miss this place?”
To start the second series off I decided to begin where we left in part one. Going for sort of a 'take off' scene with our shuttle. Maybe one or two days after we landed on the station at the end of series one. While working on the scene I was really fighting with it. I've had some issues with the composition, since I started the scene with a cinematic aspect ratio. It just didn't work. I started to experiment. (Experiments were a reason for me to start this series to begin with) I ultimately played around with rotating the image and suddenly it sparked some love. I decided to go with a rather unusual aspect ratio for this piece and it paid off I think. The colours were also a source of fun with this scene. It ended up looking more like a comic illustration but that's absolutely fine with me and goes hand in hand with some of the pieces in series one.
‘A Promise In Light’
“Oh wow, I guess this city is a big one! And there is the gate to a new life. I have never done a trip through one of those. Even thinking about the science and xeno-technology that goes into it makes me feel dizzy. See you on the other side!”
Here we go with the first intended hero scene of series two. One of the main things I wanted to tackle is an orbital view on the city we can see parts of in series one. Scale, depth and detail were the main things I planned to go for. Then I had the idea of using jumpgates. I used 3d kitbashing to get me a neat looking structure that feels familiar and yet a little strange, with its architecture. The technology used there isn't entirely ours and I wanted to show that a tiny bit. Although I'm not sure how successful I am with it. For the city I re-used parts of older scenes and placed them into the landscape. After rendering there still was a ton of overpainting going on in Photoshop, to make it all look right and detailed enough. For our protagonist there is a promise in that blinding light of that open jumpgate. And while these gates still aren't the safest method of traveling, it's the only one for him. So he hopes the risk pays off and leads him into a more peaceful life.
“There was nothing but darkness! I heard stories of ships that never made the passage complete. Poor souls. The captain just did let us know the passage went fine and we are about to enter the atmosphere. I always wondered why the passage costs the traveler a week though. It felt like just a second. However, the passangers started cheering and clapping. Guess I wasn’t the only one wetting his pants.”
This one turned out a little special. If you're a good observer you might see some religious symbolism, among other things, in this piece. It wasn't intended and just happened. The hero element is the jumpgate and I wanted to keep this scene as simple as it can be. Nonetheless it took me a while until I was kind of happy with it. Especially the exit effect of the ship was a little tricky. Let's just say it's 'filter galore' in that area.
‘Towers Of Entropy’
“We started the descend and entered the outer atmosphere. I remember from history class how the first ‘Astronauts’ always had a pretty rough ride through the atmosphere, down to the good old Earth. Now it’s a smooth transition. We still have to fasten our seatbelts though. Must be a traditional thing. And there they are, the mysterious Towers of Entropy. Can’t wait to learn more about them!”
Originally there was no transition picture planned and the series was supposed to go from the exit of the jumpgate directly to the surface and a colony town. The longer I worked on the pictures I got the impression that it definitely needs one additional picture to show the transition from the gate to the surface. I also worked on 'Welcome Home' around this time and got the idea of placing weirdo alien monolithic towers in the background of the scene. Which gave me another reason for adding a transition piece where I could explore the towers a little bit. The 'Towers Of Entropy'. I'm not entirely sure yet what they are but it will be explored in series three. Style wise this one i more rough and concept arty looking and can be compared to 'Forget The Way We Lived', the first piece in the second series. It works good enough and I'm particularly happy with the scale the scene suggests.
“This trip felt like it took 6 years or an eternity! Finally approaching Port Fenster and the town of Valley Call. Imagined it bigger. From what I can see this environment looks very close to what I know from old pictures of the old Earth – except the towers. Look at these towers! They’re gigantic!””
Finally! The surface! We are almost there! It turns out as one of the more unspectacular pieces of the series (at least when you ask me) but it's up there with the most time expensive pieces of the series. Getting the city to a point where I was happy with it took me quite a while. Switching back and forth between files and tools. Now the word 'Fenster' is german and means 'Window'. Trying to be a little clever with the title here. The port being a window to either the stars or the planet... depending on where you're coming from. As well as keeping the name of the town and the port separate. This town is also the colony capital and I wanted to suggest that we're still new there. Although there are other smaller settlements scattered around on the planet, Valley Call and its space port Port Fenster is the biggest. Let's say we're there for something like 50 years or so.
‘I Shall Pass’
“Almost there! Like giants protecting a treasure. My wife told me that every tower comes with a different pattern. They suspect that these patterns can even change, which must be quite a sight! I just spoke to her and she suggested not to forget to breathe when seeing the towers up close! A sight to behold. The shuttle needs at least 5 more minutes. Very long 5 minutes. Almost home!”
And another one that slipped in by accident. At that time I was playing around with a terrain I had just created for a free resource pack (The Ghost: https://v5.tigaer-design.com/?p=2757). Suddenly the spark of creativity lights up and I had another neat little filler piece for my series. And a really good one too. I know it's a sin to enjoy your work too much (and most of the time I don't) but this one I really love. The scale, style, atmosphere and balance of detail. I think it works really well here. It also gave me the chance to highlight these monolithic towers a little more. There can also be read some symbolism into it. It's as if our protagonist is going through an open gate that invites him into the new life he's looking for. A last passage that's needed to leave that old life behind.
“Finally! I see them waiting for me! Can this shuttle go faster please?”
Here we go with the second intended/dedicated hero picture of this series. There went some serious time into compositing this scene and getting it all right. However, there are areas I'm not too happy with still. But you have to stop at some point, right? This is also the first time we can see our protagonists wife and kid. And I just now realize that we haven't seen our protagonist at all yet. Except for the shuttles and ships he boarded as a stand-in for him. Up until now it's been a pretty abstract situation with our characters but that's changing now. With this piece being kind of a turning point.
“I’m overwhelmed seeing you two again. Holding my little girl in my arms again. Seeing my wife’s warm smile. Finally reunited, it’s time to build something new and discover all the secrets of this place!”
Right from the start of the series I definitely wanted a scene where our character reunite, hug and welcome each other. The scene I built for the previous picture did have enough detail so I just had to move the camera and go with a different point of view. So I recycled the previous scene and its elements. So I quickly had a setup for this scene. I still had to fix and add things though. The square format was chosen because I wanted to see how good I can work with it. I admit that I have my problems with it and therefor am not the biggest fan of the end result. The pic however nonetheless is a good addition to the series and shows a key scene.
‘Things To Come’
“Finally being where I belong, I cannot wait to discover what this new world has to offer!”
The final piece for this second part of my Endeavours series is meant to be a neat send off and a hint of things to come. We get another look at the towers we have already seen in previous pictures of the series. The goal was to create some mystery, expections and questions. Not sure if I succeeded there but in my eyes the towers to add a sense of mystery. Maybe we will explore them a little more in part 3? I have some ideas how to continue the series and try to figure out how to move on with it right now. I cannot say when it will continue though. I just hope it will not take as much time as it did between part 1 and 2.
To Be Continued...
This series will continue at some point. I already have ideas where I could go with it. What I know for certain is that it will again include some experimental pieces, where I try new things. Until then... stay tuned! =)