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A Meeting With Medusa by garryts
A Meeting With Medusa
Something of a quicky, this one… Author Alastair Reynolds mentioned on his blog that he and Stephen Baxter have co-authored a follow-up to Arthur C Clarke’s “A Meeting With Medusa”…

ACC’s original “A Meeting With Medusa” is one of my all-time favourite stories; as I have discussed elsewhere on dA, I first read the story serialised in a magazine around 1973, accompanied by excellent quality artwork. The same magazine also printed (in other editions)  “Summertime on Icarus” and “Into the Comet”  - all with fabulous accompanying artwork. A year or so later, I had moved to Secondary school and the school library ran a book shop - I found there two collections of ACC’s short stories, which between them had all of these stories - I was hooked!

So, I enjoy both Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter’s work and the prospect of them continuing the original story inspired me to do a piece of art based squarely in the general plot. I have imagined a ‘Kon-Tiki 2’, a larger balloon than the 1-man vehicle of the original - though it has all the features of the original, including a pulsed laser for heating the envelope gases and a nuclear-powered engine for escaping Jupiter at the close of the mission.

The image you see here is a crop; the original has both the creatures that feature in Arthur’s story - the mile long dirigible jellyfish-like creature (Medusa of the title) and the 100m-wide manta Ray-like creatures that feed on them. If you look closely, you can still see a flight of Manta Ray’s in the background. I have exorcised the Medusa because, frankly, it is crap. I followed the original story closely, but mine just doesn’t look believable. I’m going to go back to it, and you may still see a wide-screen version complete with Medusa, but don’t hold your breath!

The Kon-Tiki 2 and Manta’s were modelled and rendered in C4D. The Kon-Tiki’s envelope is supposed to be like the original Montgolfier balloon, but with its little peplum replaced with photo-electric cells. I have modelled almost the entire interior, so I may do something with that too. I put in quite a lot of research on the colour of ambient light in the Jovian atmosphere, including this article In the end, I gave in to what looked about right :-)

The background is a quick and nasty Photoshop job on a montage of clouds; you don’t have to look too hard to see how rough it is… Does the job though!
As a number of people have asked about it, I have enabled Prints on my recent Foss/Elson inspired images, and uploaded 5400x3600 images.
Starship - in the style of Peter Elson by garryts
Starship - in the style of Peter Elson
Another image ‘in the style of…’ and another Peter Elson… If you took a look at his site and the images I linked to for ‘Science Vessel’, you won’t have any trouble recognising the inspiration for this one.

Images drawn looking toward the back of spaceships are common in Elson’s work, but you’ll see clear inspiration for my image here, Galactic Cluster… here, Sunburst… and here The Best of Isaac Asimov 1954 - 1972…

The ship used here you have seen before - it’s the ship in The Tannhauser Gate… I have made a few mods - but not many - and retextured a la Elson ☺  The fins that I added to the back are a sort of tribute/reference to the Anime film of EE ‘doc’ Smith’s ‘Lensmen’. The ships in the shuttle bay are from this image… and the engines I have used before too - here… The engine exhaust trails are created with light objects. The principle textures are available in my Resources gallery here on DeviantArtGeneric  - Hull Plate 3 (used with a blocky plates texture in the diff channel) and Red Worn Metal Plate Texture.

I did a version of this image with the ship coming toward the camera, but it looked so much like a screen grab from ‘Homeworld’ that I felt I couldn’t use it.

Created, textured and rendered in C4D as usual - I do love that software! The lighting is a bit of a cheat; given the apparent light source, the ship was pretty much a silhouette, so there is another (warm, weak) light source behind the camera for some infill.

Post-production in Photoshop as usual, too; principally colour adjustment, adding blume and sharpening. I also (surprise!) exaggerated the glow over the engines.

I’m tempted to one now in the style of another artist who did some great covers in the same time period, including images in the Terran Trade Authority books - Colin Hay… Though, it will need a lot of texture development!
Science Vessel - in the style of Peter Elson by garryts
Science Vessel - in the style of Peter Elson
So: my bachelor students have finished the term, taken their exams and I have marked their papers… The project I have been doing some marketing work on has pretty much drawn to a close with the start of the Paris Air Show… Hooray, some free time!

After the Chris Foss style image, I thought I would do images in the style of some other of my favourite artists. That has actually proven more difficult than I expected!

‘Science Vessel’ is an attempt at capturing Peter Elson’s style. If you take a look at the site his sister maintains as a memorial to his work, you can pretty much see which images I have used as input - ‘A Sense of Wonder’, ‘Oceans of Venus’ and ‘Welcome to Mars’ influenced the spacecraft, and ‘Pebble in the Sky’, ‘Galactic Cluster’ and ‘Sunburst’ 2015-06-15ermined the colours and perspective. Take a look here…

What else can I say about the image: well, the back story is a future ESA science mission to examine the nova ejecta nebulae of a dying star.

The ship is one I started about 4 years ago - it’s a companion to the ship that appears in Asteroid Base: Final Approach… I gave them exactly the same cabin/bridge design - particularly the windows. I was imagining a sort of common design criteria for various spaceships.

I used a lot of other people’s greebles on the back of the ship - especially from Jedilaw’s greeble pack. Also, the things on the side of the ship with the bluey-purple glow are by 3D-CG, available at Foundation3D (here, they're supposed to be heat dissipators for the engines)

The 3 main textures used on the ship are all available in my resources - riveted hull plates, generic hull plate 1 and blue worn metal plate. The patterned ‘sensor array’ texture is from Total Textures Scifi pack. The side window textures are mine - one day I will post them - and the main bridge is all modelled. There is even a little figure at the helm. The glowy things at the front came from someone’s Star Trek model - if they’re yours let me know and I’ll credit you.

Modelled in C4D, rendered using C4D’s Physical renderer, post work in Photoshop. Recently I have moved from using hard to Area shadows and throwing in AO. I don’t think it’s as realistic, but it’s definitely more cinematic!
Chris Foss Style Starship by garryts
Chris Foss Style Starship
I actually found myself with 5-6 hours time for myself - enough for a quick render… The first time I have been able to create an image since October 2014!

It certainly wasn’t enough time to do any modelling, so I looked in my unfinished projects folder and found an old tutorial I did in 2007 - you can see here at my blog.….

The ship is based on a tutorial by Adam Benton, creating a Chris Foss-style spaceship with some basic box-modelling and C4D’s hypernurbs.

I created a new background in Photoshop - I wanted colour in the traditional Chris Foss style. The ship textures were mostly mine; the hull texture is from my “riveted hull textures” you can find in my Deviantart resources….

Hypernurbs generally create some issues when texturing, though you can reduce these by clicking on the hybernurbs object and selecting ‘Current State To object’. This creates a new object with the shape of the hypernurbs object, but which behaves like a normal, editable object. I would normally clean up the mesh at this point, but didn’t have time - perhaps for a V2 at some point.

Anyway, some quick texturing, render and away.

Post-render touch-ups were in Photoshop.

The mesh defiantly could have done with a clean-up - but I think the image captures the spirit of Chris Foss! :-)
Firstly, I hope that everyone here enjoyed the holiday period and to wish you Happy New Year!

I also want to apologise for not responding to emails, faves, watches, etc... I haven't been able to get to DeviantArt over the past few months and probably won't visit much in early 2015. I am currently very busy on a few web-related projects for clients. No 3D, no scifi - it's all tedious content development stuff, but it does pay!

I have tried to answer everything in the backlog - if I have missed you, I am sorry, it isn't personal!

Have a great 2015!

  • Mood: Optimism
  • Listening to: St. Vincent
  • Reading: your lips
  • Watching: my back
  • Playing: games
  • Eating: Christmas left overs!
  • Drinking: resting my liver and kidneys


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MilaySVK Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
Merry christmas mate :)
garryts Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, sorry for the slow response! Hope that you had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year!! :-)
bliivet Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the WATCH by TheGalleryOfEve  Llama Emoji-02 (Blush) [V1] 
garryts Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fave! :-)
nobbe42 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
Thanks for the fav!
Eremes2703 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Professional General Artist
Well, inspired by you, I did it. my first space wreck. (Still a lot to learn)
riftroamer Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot for faving my Frontier Transport (WIP, texture update). Very much appreciated. :)
jmelisio Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist
Thank you for the :+fav: on We Are Here :)
Nobiax Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014
Thanks for watching :thumbsup:;)
garryts Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No probs - you have a very nice/ueful collection of free resources! Thanks! :-)
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