Grey Pilgrim by theSea ()
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Okay, long time no post, no comment; huh? I've missed you guys - but a new job that has required total immersion and a whole mess of hours has seriously curtailed my time to work on art. This is actually the first piece I've done in three months... which is like cold turkey quitting for me :)
"Grey Pilgrim" is obviously a total riff on John Howe's famous painting of Gandalf, but I'm really psyched for the new Hobbit movie so Middle Earth is on my mind... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The the wooded hillside with early morning cloud whisps is something I see driving RT8 south in the Naugatuck River Valley here in Connecticut on an almost daily basis. I'm usually coming through there shortly after sunrise and I'm always amazed at how beautiful the mornings are here in New England. Every time I see this, I'm thinking "I've got to do that scene in Vue." So here it is.
After I got that roughed out, the scene needed some foreground elements. Since "Interior Car" and "Busy 21st Century Highway" aren't really in my artistic wheelhouse... Middle Earth!
The Gandalf figure was done in DAZ Studio - it's Michael 3 (the old guy still has some life left in him!) with the DAZ PC Club Wizard Robes. Hat and Staff are By Predetron. Hair is 'Wild Hair Male' and M3 Long Beard is from DAZ. The pack is from Luthbel's 'Wilderlander' set for V3. I exported the posed figure as an .obj file with textures and imported that into Vue 10.5.
Next, I spent some time tweaking the materials in a fresh Vue scene until they looked right: some backlighting for the hair and cloth, adjust the bump mapping to something sane, set the specular to just the right amount of shine... etc. I added a layer of procedurally generated dirt and grime to the clothing to make him a bit more bedraggled and also worked the materials on the pack and bedroll. I saved this figure out as a .vob file and brought him into my main scene.
The clouds are standard Vue clouds, but I tweaked the settings using recommendations from Dax Pandhi's "Realism in Vue." I also referred to Dax's book for guidance on setting up the Global Illumination and Atmosphe to make a slightly moist, just after dawn, late summer morning.
I spent a lot of time in the main Vue scene tweaking the ecosystem on the hills, ensuring the oak trees didn't drown out everything else and getting the cloud on the hillside to the right level of misty-ness.
The 2 foreground terrain pieces have a grass ecosystem on them; with flowers added to the FG element. I also spent a lot of time messing with the midground Oak Tree, which I believe is part of a set from Cornucopia 3D. I adjusted the Trunk and Branch materials, fixed a problem with where the leaf texture was hooking to the branches and upped the resolution on the geometry to make this a 'hero' tree for my scene.
The Crows are Noggins Crows from DAZ.
There were many test renders. The whole process took about 3 weeks, working a half an hour here and there in the early morning or late evening, maybe a couple of hours on a Saturday. I am not used to trying to do a piece in snippits like this, and found the process to be a bit frustrating - but that's the time I have available right now... so here we are.
Final render time in Vue 10.5 was around 18 hours at 1920x720 Pixels... Atmosphere quality at 2 and GI lighting Quality at 0. I used customized render settings based on Drea Horvath's recommendations here.
Postwork included exposure adjustments, some manipulation of the color grading, a bit of sharpening and some enhancement of the glow on the right side of the image.
As always, your constructive critique and comments are most appreciated. Thanks for looking!
Image Comments (17)
Savage_dragon () 9:38AM | Sun, 23 September 2012
Welcome back! & what a great subject to return with. Love ME. ")
Mondwin () 10:53AM | Sun, 23 September 2012
Splendid atmo and beauty scene my friend!!!Bravissimo!:DDD.Hugsxx Whylma
PhilW () 10:59AM | Sun, 23 September 2012
A wonderfully realistic scene - and I love that tree, so detailed!
Erestorfan () 2:12PM | Sun, 23 September 2012
Wonderful, wonderful piece!! Love seeing Gandalf again! I am also greatly anticipating The Hobbit movie/s!!!
jakiblue () 4:09PM | Sun, 23 September 2012
definitely worth the wait to see you art-ing again. :D Beautiful piece!
kobaltkween () 8:14PM | Sun, 23 September 2012
Wow. You are so good at describing your process. And you're a master at Vue. I like this composition a lot. It's a great scene.
teecee2107 () 5:36AM | Mon, 24 September 2012
Wonderful scene, excellent render. The atmo is great !
MissKajunKitty () 2:19PM | Mon, 24 September 2012
You a have beautiful view, for your drive to work !! Excellent job recreating it in vue !! :)
evilded777 () 3:28PM | Wed, 26 September 2012
i had no idea you were up here in New England, man. Fabulous, as always. Hope the new job calms down and you can get back to the finer points of life.