11th Sun Book Cover

Taking a break from the comic book to work on the book cover. It's the scene on Logan's Fun where 11 is getting off the elevator and seeing the inside of the station for the fist time. From the worm eye you can see her in her dress, as she looks at the atrium in the station for the first time.

I'm going for a juxtaposition between the mundane (girl in sun dress) and the fantastic (space station). Should look pretty fucking cool.

At the moment I'm still at the beginning of the modeling phase. The station and the levels are done are nearly finished but not UVd. I've done two of the store fronts, and begun the atrium. That's created a bunch of fucking problems.

A word on the store fronts before we talk about what those are. There will be three or four generic designs, built so that I can place them around the station with relative ease. The majority you will never see inside, so they'll be set up so that I can put a few props inside them, and then place an image plane in the back and fake the rest. That presents it's own nest of problems, like what the damn image should be, and how to put it together. I'm not thinking about that right now. Some stores will have to be modeled in their entirety. Bob's Gun's, the Shower and D'Neesha's. Oh right, I need the ice cream shop too. Put that on some list somewhere. But none of that needs to be done for the book cover, and comic book II is still years away, and the book is only a year out. Needs a cover before publishing.

(I have this fantasy that several different people will ask me where I got my excellent book cover at the end of this, and I'll be like "Fucking made it man." Then they'll be all, "No. Way. Can you do my cover?" And I'm like, "Nope.")

Now on to the atrium, which is turning into a complete bitch. Some other artist might just make something aesthetically pleasing and call it a day, and that's why I'm not like most artists. So I sat down and designed an atrium that would work on a space station and look great.

You'll like this, it's good.

It's helical, so you only need to pour water in from the top, and it all trickles down. Then each part of the atrium has terraces, for bushes and shit, while vined plants fall down from the bottom of the level above. Trees at the top, plants inter-spaced where horticulture allows. that I'm going to do aesthetically, because I don't know any botanists to talk to and I've had enough good ideas I can drop a little research. But then I had to think about the plants that intergalactic libertarians would want to buy. Raspberries, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, shit like that.

The trees gave me some problems, because they fuck up the aesthetic I want with their tree shapes. And then I was all, "Hey. It's the future, everything is GMO, what if the trees have vines?" And that made a bunch of art problems. So for the past week I've been asking friends, "Hey, if you saw an apple tree with vines, like a weeping willow, but with fruit on the weep parts; and it was in a science fiction comic book; would you be like, "Hey this guy thought of the future of trees!" Or would be say, "Wait... Has this idiot never seen a fucking apple tree before?" (I speak in run-on sentences, don't you?)

And all of my friends look at me and go, "What the fuck are you talking about this time? Is this hypothetical? A riddle? Where the hell did you come up with such a specific rhetorical? Can you give me and fucking context here?" And then we have to talk for half an hour, and they get bored, and I really need to find new friends.

I got the helix done, and that took a day. I found a simple solution, that took four hours to get right, and then another four to implement. And then work came to a shuddering halt when I realized that I was going to have to fill it with plants, and there's no way I'm making 200 20,000 poly bushes and trees.

So I sat down in another file to test some ideas on making cost effective bushes. I'm not, like, modeling every leaf of a raspberry plant, because who has two weeks to spend on each bush. A medium quality tree on turbosquid is $40 bucks. Even if I could afford 10 different ones (and I can't) hang on I didn't think of a way to finish this sentence. There, the period seems to have done it.

I'm making a raspberry bush as a proof of concept, and even that's being a complete bastard. See I'm rendering the cover in arnold. It's faster, and arnold has some beautiful muted tones. Done right you can get a really good romanticism effect going on. But I don't know arnold, because the damn engine is only compatible with Maya two years ago. So I'm learning a new render engine as I go. This means that something as simple as setting up an alpha'd plane took a 30 minute google search. Turns out every plane in arnold has an "opaqe" check box, and if it's ticked on, no material will make it transparent. Like, at all. Good thing I figured that out before I threw a monitor out the window trying to make glass.

Oh, I should include a picture. The picture is the camera frame on left side, roughly blocking how the final cover will look. The right side is a perspective view of the whole model, so you can see 1.) Just how fucking big it is, 2.) what everything looks like.

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