Happy September readers! It’s already been a quarter of a year since we announced Second Star, which is absolutely incredible. We’ve accomplished so much work and we’re excited to give you another look at one of the planets you’ll encounter!
Anya, one of our talented Artists and Level Designers, took some time to create a step-by-step guide to planet making (as if that’s not one of the coolest sentences ever).
“What goes into conceptualizing and painting whole new worlds?”
“For the space view of a planet one starts, as you might imagine, with a circular shape.”
“Establishing form tends to be an easier task without a lot of distracting jumble, so next comes rendering that into a sphere – with the airbrush tool in this case. A mix of the bristle brush and the airbrush comprise the space backdrop.”
“I began breaking up the unnaturally smooth surface with some banding, drawing inspiration from the vast storms visible on many real planets in our universe. From there it was time to speed things up, so I pulled a photograph from my personal collection…”
“…the reverse face of an aging tombstone. I carry a DSLR exclusively to nab textures from my surroundings and document real media artwork (also occasionally my cats) as building such a library has proven useful in many ways.”
“Real world imagery can be applied a few different ways in concept art. Photobashing involves direct blending of photographic or 3D assets into a painting, but real world textures can be taken out of context to provide speedier greebling as well. ‘Greeble’ is detail added to increase a sense of scale in a painting or model, and generally I wind up swapping back and forth between building up that detailing by hand and through manipulation of my photographs.
In this case the gravestone texture was set to the “burn” blending mode and decreased to 20% opacity. The effect is subtle but begins to break up the surface of the planet, lending a degree of reality it lacked before. I then painted over it to avoid loss of depth from plopping a flat surface over a supposedly round object, adding some darker values and cooler colors to push the form.”
“Further hand painting came into play as I sought to emphasize the volcanic concept of the planet with fiery lights and stronger darks, making liberal use of the ‘shade’ and ‘shine’ layer modes native to Paint Tool SAI. It felt like time to speed up the greebling process again so I selected another photo from my personal collection, rotating the sample to better align with all those lovingly emphasized regions of shadow and flame.”
“This happens to be another grave marker; the lichens and moss that grow on older stones add such delightful texture. I promise I don’t exclusively pull from graveyards, though – I’ve photographed close ups of sand, luffas, towels, tree bark, rusting dumpsters, metal grates, old tape players, dirt – the world around us is rich with beautiful detail to source.”
“To fabricate the crunchy, saturated feeling I wanted, this time I set the layer mode to ‘hard mix’ …”
“…but pushed the opacity down past 10% to enhance detail without losing too much of what had already been established.”
“One last round of painting, some masking to clean up the edges, and we’re done!”
Who knew that making interstellar objects was so aesthetically pleasing?! Stay tuned for more work from Second Star’s team in two weeks!