Tutorial 5
   Creating the image ‘Monoliths’ 
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Step 1

The inspiration for this picture came from another artist whose work appeared in an online gallery. The picture illustrated gigantic alien structures in the distance towering into a dark star-filled sky.

In this picture the alien monoliths look completely different and have been made smaller, but nevertheless are still quite large. An alien craft has also been added to create more interest and to help produce a sense of scale.

To start with I chose a suitable sky and water plane within Bryce. I then created a deadwood treetrunk which was moved into the foreground to add to the dramatic composition. The trunk was created by using the ‘lattice’ tool in Bryce which is very useful for creating all kinds of unusual shapes.

Step 2

After using Photoshop to produce the trunk shape as a black & white image, I saved the picture in greyscale and loaded it into Bryce through the ‘terrain editor’. To do this you must first click on the ‘symmetrical lattice’ tool which you can find in Bryce’s ‘create’ menu. After creating a terrain lattice you can then click on the ‘e’ icon that appears next to the selected object and gain access to the terrain editor. (see picture)

After loading the black & white picture I made in Photoshop I then tweaked the lattice shape using the tools provided in the ‘elevation, menu. In this case I used the ‘raise/lower’ and ‘smoothing’ options.

Step 3

Once I achieved the right shape for the tree trunk I selected a ‘material’ from the ‘trunks’ menu which can be found in Bryce 5. After picking one that was suitable I did a quick render to view the result.

After a bit more tweaking of the material in the ‘materials lab’ (which for beginners can be found using the ‘m’ icon) I saved the settings which I found most suitable.

The trunk was then rotated and re-positioned until I got the effect I was looking for.

Step 4

The next step was to import the monolith and place it in the background.
For this I used a model building from the
Spacejetters models collection  and turned it upside down to make it more unusual.

The monolith had to be moved far back into the distance using the ‘re-position’ tool found in Bryce’s edit menu, and re-sized a number of times to keep the proportions right.

Next I adjusted the ‘haze’ value in the Sky & Fog presets to created the mist in the distance and it’s partly this which gives the monolith the impression of being a considerable size.

Step 5

The material chosen for the monolithic structure was ‘Death Star in Progress’ which is one of the standard presets available in Bryce.

This wasn’t my first choice, but it pays to play around and experiment with different materials until you find one that looks good and gives the right effect.

After adding the material preset I decide the picture would be improved and balance out better if there were two monoliths in the picture. So I copied and pasted another one and re-positioned it slightly further back to make it look like it was standing near but behind the first one.

Step 6

Another quick render was made to ensure everything was looking okay.
I then imported the spacecraft model into the scene and chose one of my own custom preset materials to give it a light coloured hull to make it stand out more against the backdrop.

The model, which was based around the idea of a hydrophoil ship, was carefully placed to appear as if it was floating on the water.

After experimenting with the position and size of the craft, a final quick render was made before rendering at full A4 size.

The template and image were then saved and the image loaded into Photoshop for some final detailing.

Step 7

Once the image was opened in Photoshop the first thing I did was to add some further texturing to the tree trunk. I did this using the ‘texture’ option in the filter menu.

I then added the two figures and the open hatch by drawing them freehand on different ‘layers’ until I achieved the right look before ‘flattening’ all layers and saving the finished image as a bitmap.

To see the finished picture in more detail click here

For more details of the Bryce rendering program click here


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