The idea for this image came quickly. I knew that I wanted to play around with a visual of a foetus that included some 'quirk' or technological element to make the image implausible or surreal.
I located a free model by Darwin Giordano, which I imported into Bryce. I played around with the atmosphere and lighting and gave the model a plain, pale skin colour. I realized then, that I needed a definite surface texture.
I found a seamless leather tile which I applied randomly to give a mottled feel to the skin. I added bump to bring out the grain and detail. I also tweaked the ambience to increase the 'glow' of the skin. I spent some time adding a womb-like surrounding, but wasn't happy with the results. I decided on the deep black vacuum with no ambient
light. I also toyed with camera angles and perspectives, looking for the right 'quirk' to focus on.
One of the first ideas was to show the little human magically looking at a Renderosity gallery screen through his mother's skin, like an X-ray. I moved on to having the foetus holding a light pen and graphics tablet, but the fixed positioning of this particular mesh didn't allow for that possibility. (Poser-ready foetus anyone?)
Feeling a little defeated, I duplicated the model, shrunk it and enclosed it in an air bubble placed near the hands of the other and did a test render. At this stage, I found the image to be quite evocative, despite the absence of that certain 'something' I needed to 'make' the image.
I left Bryce to complete the high-resolution render whilst I had a coffee. OK, maybe it was two...
I imported the render into Photoshop. I wasn't happy with the eye-area -- the way the light caught it made it look incorrect. I started smoothing and painting over it on a new layer. Shortly after that, the idea for the VR headset hit me -- I had the digital/technological/futuristic
element I was after, as well as being an effective mask for the problems around the eye!
I drew the outline of the VR visor with the path tool, and converted the active path to a selection, enabling me to paint within its boundaries. I started by filling the selected area with black, then added various degrees of grey using the airbrush tool.
Slowly but surely the headpiece began to take shape -- to appear 3-dimensional. Once I was happy with it, I flattened the layers and inverted the selection, which allowed me to paint around the outside of the visor. Using the colour picker tool to sample some of the darkest tones on the foetus, I airbrushed the shadows that the mask
would create on its face. I added the 'System X VR' text, merged all the layers again and applied a small amount of noise to dirty the image and add to the "photographic" effect.
For the finishing touches, I duplicated the flattened layer and applied some gaussian blur at about 2-3 pixels spread, and switched the layer apply mode to 'screen'. By lowering the opacity of this new layer, I had both lightened it and created a subtle glow across the whole
There you have it, an honest rendition from concept to near defeat and back!
About Adam Benton (kromekat): Adam is a jobbing freelance illustrator and designer, based from home in the UK. He has been pouring out images since as far back as he can remember, and worked his way through every kind of traditional medium going. He settled on Acrylics and an airbrush/brush combo for a long time, and often worked with watercolour pencils for fast colour visuals.
After a period as a senior designer/illustrator at a publishing company, Adam once again went freelance, armed with a new digital toolset, a new computer, and sheer determination. In late 1999 he stumbled upon Renderosity, and inspired by much of the quality work being displayed there, began unravelling the possibilities of 3D as his new medium of choice.
Adam has a passion for realism, and subsequently collects and creates as many of his own textures and props as possible, many of which have been made available to the community via his Renderosity store, and is always looking for new ideas to enable the realisation of 'reality with a twist of improbability'. He is also currently involved with a large-scale fan film project, based in the popular Star Wars universe, and is generating imagery, CG modelling, digital matte backgrounds and animation to aid with the production.
He was thrilled to have had his 'Dreamer of Dreams' image accepted for the cover of the premiere Renderosity magazine, and equally enjoyed the mixed community reaction and controversy it generated! - "Positive or negative, high emotional reaction is always a bonus - at least it 'said' something to some people!"
The Magazine Interact Forum's Back Room is
the place to go for editorials, magazine excerpts, discussions, and plenty of surprises. Also, if you haven't done so yet, you can subscribe to the magazine or buy single issues.
To find your way there, go to the Magazine Interact Forum, and click on the link to the Back Room at the top.
Every couple of weeks, we'll be highlighting an article, review, or editorial from past issues of the magazine. Our third feature is an article from Issue #1, "Dreamer of Dreams." You can view this article in all of its original pdf glory by going to the Magazine Interact Forum Back Room and going to Special Features.