Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Deadwood - Rex Hears Something...

This week has been tied up with a lot of work and other projects, so I'm actually very  behind on creating art for the Night of the Living Deadwood book. However, I did get a start on a new image... one that's surprised me in more than a few ways.

You see, I originally pictured this scene with Wolf Willis, reaching for his pistol which would be in a gunbelt draped over the log. Instead, I found myself using a new character named Rex... an old frontiersman/prospector character with a bald head and a long beard. I also found myself using a lot more props this time around. Often, I add trees and logs in post-production (that is, I don't put them into the scene, but add them in Photoshop).

There was a noise behind him. Instinctively
his hand stretched out for his trusted Henry rifle...

The other images I've shown you were mostly completed (if used, some will be tweaked before being printed). But this time I decided to bring you in at the early stage and show you the first step in the process. This is a low-resolution, low-quality rendering of the basic scene. Right now I'm just putting things in their rough location and doing a rough pose on which to start building. In other words, this is the digital equivalent of a sketch.

As such, there's no ground, nothing around the tree, and most of all, nothing lurking between the trees. This is a simplified scene with just the basic elements that I need. For instance, I need the campfire for a light source (and it comes from a low angle, so that will make it more ominous). I need the log as something to lean the rifle up against. I could have it lying on the ground, but that would make it hard to see and that location would require him to lean over to reach it. Not practical for a still image. The tree behind him could be done in post (i.e. Photoshop), but I want it to be more solid, so I'm actually putting it into the scene. I will use it and the branches of the smaller tree to frame a zombie that is coming up behind him.

I'v already made a few decisions regarding changes:

  • I need to shift our Point of View (POV) to our left and rotate it so we get a better look at Rex's face.
  • I need to raise his arm so we can clearly see it reaching for the rifle
  • I need to put a coffee cup in his right hand (just to give it something to do)
  • And, if I have one, put a coffee pot in the fire (gotta explain what's in his cup)
  • I need to alter the pose of his feet so they don't touch
  • I might need to make his shirt darker so his beard stands out better
A closer view with different lighting. Things were way too bright
 in this scene, so I toned it down, as you can see in the render above.

Anyway, those are just a few of the thoughts I've had regarding this scene so far. Hopefully, I'll manage to get back to this before next week and show you how I've progressed. Until then... keep yer powder dry, saddle pals!

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