Decoding Daily Deviations is the series that aims to unlock the secrets of what it took to create these magnificent artworks and motivate others to work towards similar recognition. Each week we will present an interview with one artist who has recently received a DD and have them share the details on that specific piece, relating to their creative process, techniques, and narrative inspirations. If you've ever wanted to know more about a beloved artwork and the talented skills applied to it, this is the series to keep track of!"
FEATURED ART: Le Cannibal Hotel by wavenwater
DD DATE: 2017-01-26
TIME SPENT: 30 HRS more or less
TOOLS/PROGRAMME: Photoshop and Modo
Hello everyone! Gather around for this tale is true! I will now tell you about the creation of hotel Cannibale! Haha let's get serious here for a minute shall we? So, this piece started as a quick thumbnail that I had done in Eytan Zana's environment design class. I was just fooling around with different themes and it suddenly popped into my head to make a big cannibal restaurant with an ambulance coming in. From there the idea evolved into an hotel and much more precise architecture choice. But that's pretty much how that idea came into being, folks. I had no special plans or idea when creating it, but that is one thing that I find remarkable about art, it is that inspiration can strike at anytime When refining the design in 3d, I did reference a lot of Luc Desmarcheliers' work. It has such a nice vibe and flow to it -- I just want to understand how he does it!"
“Le Cannibal Hotel” has a cinematic quality that is quite visually appealing. Can you take us through your creative process on the image and the various techniques you employed?
Men, are you ready for a ride? Because this is what we are embarking on ladies and gentlemen, let me take you through the process of this piece! Please turn off any electronic devices around you and remember this is a smoke free zone, thank you for your cooperation! Hahaha, let's go! So, in this class, we were tasked to try to simplify our ideas to the simplest form and then proceed to detail them, because the most important thing in a composition is its readability. If this fails, no matter how good of a render machine you are, you will have missed your shot to connect with your viewer. With that in mind, I went on with my idea of a Cannibal hotel in the most simple of ways as you can see on step 1. Just a block and two masses that take your eyes right where I want them to go (to the hotel)!
On step 2, I used a couple of techniques to get some nice shapes in my structure like some photo textures simplified with a quick filter (The images are referenced from some Scottish castles and the filter used here is either cutout or the posterize adjustment) . You can get a lot out of your filters to simplify a photo, don't underestimate their power, but also don't rely just on them. It is with your magic touch and artistic eye that these tools can help you achieve great results.
On step 3, I started to model out a quick version of my hotel; I am really not the best at 3d modeling and even if my model appears clean, let me tell you it is messy as hell, haha! By the way, this image is from a recent iteration on it, since i'm still working on the project and erased over the old model I used for the original illustration. When modeling in 3d, I try to keep stuff simple in the way that I don't have to model out everything. I try to think if it's going to help me later on or not and model according to these answers!
Image 4 shows what a straight out render of Modo might look like. Yeah I know, not the best, but I have to remind you that I'm still figuring stuff out in 3d. Hopefully I have friends that are much better at this than me and are kind enough to help me out and give me tips. That being said, it's still too blocky for me and the colors are wayyy too dark.
On step 5 I throw a quick white layer to enable me to draw on top of the 3D render. That way, I can tweak things as much as I like and think about shapes relation and stylisation!
At step 6, I started defining more of the environment and vegetation like the trees. Also, the hearse has received a bit of love. I don't start with a particular element in the composition as all my layers are separate and enable me to go back and forth all the time between them. Also note here that my background color was pretty much already established by my 3D render so I already know what is gonna be the local of the elements of the scene.
On step 7, well I kept on rendering the front part with the hearse and started giving a wet look to the ground plane. As the main building hasn't been worked out yet, I'm still waiting to put all the necessary reflection. I also started to look at references for the roof as I wanted something special, but at the time I didn't know what I wanted exactly, so a lot of trial and errors on that roof, let me tell you.
Step 8! Ha, now you are talking, now I start to understand where all of this is going! The colors from the 3D render went too pale as I adjusted the brightness of the render with a photoshop curve, so I had a pretty hard time bringing it back to something with powerful colors. Thanks to the Modo Light render I did, I was able to separate each pass individually and work their saturation and values to something that pleased me here. I feel that the castle now looks much more alive than before. I also did my little filter trick again here with a photo texture to give just enough details to the hotel walls.
At step 9, I have pretty much everything I want in this comp, this is looking good, gosh I am so good, congratulations Michael! Hahaha, that is what I thought back then, then I showed the image to my coworkers at Ubisoft and man was I happy to hear their feedback! They pointed me in a good direction to take my piece from nice to something kick ass! So listen to peers that you trust, a lot of the time I find they will point out the little things that will give that little extra your piece needs and deserves! So I added some more things and made some changes until...
The final step, step 10, where everything is pretty much as I want it to be and sometimes even better. I thank my buddies for their help and published the work online after a day or two, just in case I missed out on something. I tend not to post my work straight after I'm done with a piece in case I missed a little something!
I hope you enjoyed this process, I know I sure did. "
Did you encounter any creative challenges when working on the piece? If so, how did you tackle them? Is there anything you would do differently now if you could?
I would say that there were two big challenges for me in this piece and I am now going to tell you what these are, but shhhh, let's keep it a secret between us, I do make mistake sometimes Hmm... all the time I'd say! All right, my two big difficulties in this piece had to do with the lighting! I am still not super used to making 3d lighting look good, but thankfully my buddy Jeremy Vickery was there to help me out. He is an ex lighter artist over at Pixar, so yeah, lucky me, he showed me a thing or two about how to light a scene; still, the colors that came out of the 3D render weren't really to my liking. Meh, I'll fix it later right? Haha! When it came to paint on top of the 3D base that I had, I had to redo it many times, because I wasn't getting the right transition of colors, from the deep oranges to the medium light teal of the building's wall. I had to try out many different combinations, and hopefully, I had the lighting pass rendered on an Alpha! That enabled me to tweak things in an efficient way and also add some texture on top of the building without losing the precious lighting information that took me so long to set up in Modo. Thanks again to Jeremy Vickery for his amazing tips and patience with me, haha! Oh and I almost forgot! I wouldn't change anything, except maybe a bit more render on the clouds -- that's it! "
What’s one piece of advice that you would share with other artists hoping to reach this standard of work in the future?
Well, one thing that I learned through the years is not to care too much about the final outcome or the time you spend on a piece. I made this piece over three weeks , during the evening nights and weekends since I also have a full time job. Sometimes, we want things to go so quickly and we forget that art is supposed to be about the process and not about the final outcome... But it sure is nice to end up with something nice to look at Let me tell you this, if you enjoy the process and you believe in yourself to achieve no matter what, I'm pretty sure your piece will look fine."
What does this DD feature represent or mean to you at this stage of your artistic development? What can your watchers look forward to next?
Well it sure means a lot to me, I mean, getting featured on the top art site on the internet is always amazing. It is actually my second daily deviation, yay. Thanks a lot by the way! But yeah, it means a lot to me because I have kept on working on this universe, designing the story, refining the look of the hotel and the environment around it. I think I still have more to tell about this piece and seeing that it still attracts viewers and people that like it really warms my artist heart. "
Bonus question: Can you cite a memorable reaction to this piece in the comments at DA?
Well, it might be a bit cheesy, but it has always been a little dream for me to one day end up in one person's wallpaper on their computer. I myself have most of the time really inspiring images for me as my desktop wallpaper and knowing that made this piece his wallpaper made my day. It might sound stupid, but for me it's a hell of a lot because I know that my piece is the first thing a person sees when turning on their computer and I couldn't be more happy that people like my work to this point, so thank you a lot. "
Check out his gallery for more great pieces:
Air Awakens Omnibus
Wizard and a Goose
Bewitched and Betrayed
The Cordyceps King
Monster Eating Vampire
Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland)
The journey and the big fish
The Tomb King
Forest of Bunnies
FIELD OF THORNS: OFFER
Malavestros: Muse of Madness
The Northern Administration
On The Hunt
I know a bank
Love and war
Chase, The Dreamer
Until the End of the World..
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