I don’t always Visit other planets but when I do…

Earlier today, while working on the Warp Gate, I had this crazy idea.  One of my stranger ideas, but I thought it would make a great painting!  The idea for this painting is a simple phrase:  “I don’t always Visit Other Planets, But when I do I leave crop circles.”  Time to collect resources and throw them together in a quick outline.

I Google search “The most interesting man in the world, saved a pretty low quality images, as I am using it as only quick reference, and for the layout and then I dug through all my original created space images, tossed them all into Photoshop and came up with this layout.

Most Interesting Alien, Ryan Berry, Digital Painting

The resources I created from the ground up are in use in the small window, behind what will eventually be my alien.  This sort of quick mock-up is something I do often.  Most of the time I just combine a bunch of my own images, rather than using one I downloaded however in this case I am trying to match a very specific image.  So I cheated a little bit!  Of course by the time I am done formatting the image it will be a lot different.

Here are the two images I combined in the background to make the environment look good.  The layout and size I chose for this image so it could in theory be printed out at standard poster size.

Dust Planet, Digital Painting, Science Fiction, Ryan Berry

This is the image I placed on the background layer.  I only wanted to use a chunk of the star field.

Living world, Digital Painting, Ryan Berry

Another older digital painting, this time of an earth like planet.  I wanted this planet to be above the background layer, creating a sense of depth.

Alien, Science Fiction, Digital Painting, Ryan Berry

Two hours later…  Not quite done yet, but getting there.



Beyond the Shadows of The Stargate…

In speaking with a friend who follows this blog, a question was raised as to whether or not my plan had been to paint the Stargate.  As mentioned before, I always need to take a few days to review a piece before I finish it.  My plan had been to make a Warp Gate, basically a fixed point in space that anchors and maintains at least one side of a wormhole.

Warp Gates occur often in modern science fiction.  The Stargate is one example.  The numerous Warp Gates scattered around the EVE Online Universe another, the Mass Relay that knits the Mass Effect universe together.  Even in the Savaged Universe I created, FTL(faster than light) travel mainly circles around the use of Gibson Gates, giant rings in geosynchronous orbit around specific planets in each system controlled by the Humanity and her allies.

warp gate revisions, digital painting, Ryan Berry

Since my original gate seems to be a little too close, artistically, to the Stargate, I decided I needed to add something to it.  An inner ring, that might somehow move, or shift when the gate is turned on was my first thought.

Revision 2, Warp Gate, Science Fiction, Digital Painting, Ryan Berry

I picked a gold color for several reason, but mostly cause it looked cool, and compliments the outer ring well.

Warp Gate, Science Fiction, Digital Painting, Ryan Berry

I again turned to rusted and beaten metal textures, which I then layered over the painting and very specifically erased the parts I didn’t want.  I also had to decide on where to place the crystals on the inner ring.

Warp Gate, Science Fiction, Digital Painting, Ryan Berry

Again in this image you can see more added texture, along with the addition of the two crystals.  Texturing is really easy to over due, and it can be hard to remember that rule and erase.  I have found that it is better to be kinda brutal, especially if you are going to layer a lot of textures, or if you have some larger design.

Warp Gate, Digital Painting, Ryan Berry

In this case I wanted to add a texture that made the object feel manufactured, and a bit more high tech.  I choose a beehive styled texture, and then set about erasing that parts I didn’t want.  I then used a rock texture to erase and ware down a larger area which I then painted and blended to look even more worn and beaten.

These gates might be pinnacle of late 21st Century Human achievement, but they are old, and they orbit through space.  This means that they are thrust into a very dangerous environment, where pebbles are capable of destroying entire spacecraft.


Progress, and a lesson learned…

More work on thegrav.com, almost finished with the background images.. for some reason I always need to sleep on it before I decide I am done.

Colors and Values, Ryan Berry. Warp Gate

Here is the gate getting closed to finished, I have blended all my colors, and refined the values I wanted.

Texturing Step 1

To finish any good digital painting, a bit of time needs to be spent applying textures, and getting the final image to look right.  Here is the first layer of texturing I applied.

Second level of Texturing, Ryan Berry, Warp Gate

Here is the Warp Gate background after the second level of texturing has been applied.  I also refined the edges of the gate, and added some wear and tear.

Final Draft, Warp Gate, Ryan Berry

Here is the Warp Gate after the final touches have been applied to the painting.  I like the rough painted look it retains, and don’t want to make the image much more technical or bog it down under hard edges.  But I still feel it needs something more.

As with most of my art, I need to spend sometime away from the piece so I can think about the piece.  A valuable lesson I learned over the years work both in the freelance world and later behind a desk, never think something is truly finished until you forget about it for a few hours, go do something else, and then come back.



Unemployment sucks, well kinda.  I have been able to begin to make the contacts I may be able to use to become self-employed again, and I have had time to look into going back to school.  Actually with the help of my lovely girl, I have a plan in place now for school stuff.  I have also managed to spend a lot of time sketching, playing video games, and writing.

However I have also kept an eye out for potential employment opportunities, and as such I have had to re-evaluate my resumes.   Conventional wisdom suggest I keep a standard up -to-date resume, detailing at least the last 6 years of employment, design standards suggest that I also keep a design resume… and the fact that at least the last 2-3 years of my life have been spent working on websites and web-development, I should have a website myself.  This last one, I don’t “really” have.

In reality I have a few.  I host a website for myself, as well as one for an old client, plus I own 3 or 4 that are sitting here and there for pet projects, and of course I also own City7themovie.com.  For most of the past 10 years I have used ravenhorde.com to house most of my work, however a few months ago I purchased thegrav.com, and I have decided to make this, at least temporarily, the home of my Website Portfolio and Design Resume.

I have a massive attraction to Science Fiction, I read it, I write it, I would love to do screenplays for it… so naturally I have seemed to gravitate towards a science fiction theme for my website.  I am hoping to display an advanced example of my skills in Graphics and Digital Painting, as well as use my knowledge in jquer, javascript, php, css and html through the use of this site concept and design.  Seeing as how I try to blog some of my art projects, here is a glimpse at my work.

thegrav.com, Screenshot

Here is the start.  I code by hand, I don’t use Dreamweaver or Flash, if there is an effect I want to use I learn how to do it right, the old fashioned way.  Now I do this for a good reason, I am sure most of you have at least heard of SEO, its really important and it is a lot easier to do when a website is not bogged down under garbage code.

Some of you might ask why a Graphic Designer and painter knows how to code by hand, the answer is simple, I design websites.  10 years ago I designed them with the help of Dreamweaver, 9 year ago I reached the limit of what Dreamweaver could do for me, and 8 years ago I started to learn to code right.  It may take a little longer, or seem too(Honestly I think I code about as fast as most people can use a visual design system like Dreamweaver), but its done once, and done right.  Plus a lot of the same concepts apply, and if you know how to code, you can do a lot more complex effects.

Most of the time I use a few sheets of notebook paper to design out my entire site in pen or pencil.  I detail where I want images and elements, and then breakdown how I will need to build the css and html code.  I do this to make sure the idea will even work, before I spend anytime doing art work.

This layout all set, and tested, I have moved to creating the art bits!  One of these days I might actually blog a bit into the fundamentals of writing code, but eh its my job, not my hobby!  This is all about the art!

Warp Gate, thegrav.com

Back to the design bits, my idea is to have a warp gate floating through space as the main image of my website.  The “Navigation” links becoming either planets, or objects that float around the gate.   Using Photoshop I have laid down the basic shape of my warp gate.  I used the marque tools to create the shapes I wanted, and working in layer arranged them into the above composition.

I also positioned the gate in the “frame” so it would be cropped into the final design.  When working on an image that will become a background to a website, it is important to work at the highest targeted resolution, or even larger, so when and if the website or image is viewed full screen, you don’t have “empty space” around the images.  In this case I am working at 1920 x 1080, sure some people may have a bigger screen, or multiple screen display, but I am counting on a HD widescreen monitor being my upper limit.

My websites are normally built to have a “liquid layout“, meaning that I want my elements to shrink, expand and conform to many different screen resolutions without losing to much in the process.  1024 x 768 – 1920 x 1080 is a very healthy range of commonly used screen resolutions, so I will focus on making the site work within that range.

I know some people still used 800 x 600, but I have made a decision to not cater to that small percentage of the web-going public, or order to focus more on HD style images and design.  Now I will move with this basic compassion into Painter, in order to finish the warp gate.

Follow along with the development over the next few days.