Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

Blender 2.36, a little post work in Corel Painter (glow) and Adobe Photoshop (color correction, brightness). Jpeg compressed, so artifacts present in this web version.

My entry for Exposé 3 :slight_smile:

16+ hours to render the final version (1700x4000) after what is now the longest sequence of test renders I’ve run on a scene. 7 layers, over 3,000 objects, lots of lights, halos, AO, raytracing, etc. leading to this. Modeling time, around 8 hours. Tweaking time… many times that.

Hope you like it. Thanks for looking,


glad I can be first to say, AWESOME! :smiley:

ok. you know me, and what I feel about your stuff, so I spare you with all that, and just get on to the crits … (somebody has to be the bitchy one that settles for nothing around here) :slight_smile:

first thing that comes to mind watching it:

“oh c’mon those locks of hair right in front of nipples, it’s sooooooooooo typical”.

so if you don’t want to put nudity in the pic, then don’t. but the way this is now, is like “hihihiii, they almost show, look. hihihii”. :slight_smile:

second: pose on the hand is not good. you can’t see the hand, and there is no power on the way she is lifting it. also, fingers mix up with the handle.

third: is she meant to be blending with the water? or forming out of the water? that needs a bit work… lower part of body looks a bit strange.

fourth: her makeup, and hairstyle could use a bit more fantasy touch.

fifth: sword is a bit hugeish.

that’s all now.


Very nice! Although Excalibur looks a little too futuristic for me… that’s unless you’re updating the legend with a futuristic theme, of-course :slight_smile:

I agree with basse, and I feel like I miss some more details from the whole thing, even tho there are many bubbles, but still.
It’s also a bit childish, like a colored pencil drawing by a very talented kid.
And the sword is so unbalanced that poor Arthur would rather not draw it from the stone if he wants to do battle wielding this :slight_smile: I think the main problem is with this, she would have to be gripping pretty hard to hold it, but she is not, and that crates a bad feeling in me when I look at it. Of course it’s magical, but still, doesn’t feel right.
Other than that I like it, if it wasn’t an exposé entry I wouldn’t have said a word. I especially like that it doesn’t look 3d.

VulcanKid: Thanks :slight_smile:

basse: hehe :smiley: I totally appreciate your observations. You have such a keen eye for things and my deepest respect as a fellow artist. For the record she has no nipples :stuck_out_tongue: Since this is specifically a publication for a general audience, I needed to approach this with that in mind. Here were some of the conceptual problems: in my version of LOTL she’s a watery spirtual entity thing forming out of the lake. Anatomically, if she was not clearly female (hair, chest proportions), given the size of the sword, she would have looked like a man :slight_smile: While certain angles and maybe a well place wave or two, or some strong halo light could have obscured her, that would have obliterated the lower half of a half of a character :slight_smile: In fact, when I first started this piece she was submerged in the water, the camera was closer, and the sword was shorter. It didn’t look very exciting, like a swimmer who found a sword and coming up to show someone, so I concentrated on making her more like the forming entity I had in mind and then went from there. A lot of reflections, so lower part maybe not so clear, especially with the three halo lights behind her. I know as far as the fantasy element goes that I didn’t want to do the typical fantasy treatment for this. The size of the sword is mildly anime inspired and mostly because I wanted that to be considered as important or more important than the LOTL (it’s “larger” than her physically and conceptually) and emphasize that Arthurian element, as I saw it.

magicbullet: Yes, I’m definitely attempting to update this in my own silly way :slight_smile:

Erufailon: Thanks for the good feedback! Basically I wanted to get away from the typical 3D look. The extreme reflections in this piece (everything reflects, even the mountains) along with slight refraction causes things to gel, which is exactly what I wanted in terms of render quality – rather than something typically outputted by a scanline renderer, I wanted something, as what I did last year with Blossom, to go beyond that typical look. An experiment, to be sure, but one I was actually pleased with given the deliberate time constraints I set for myself this time around. In the end, if I didn’t think it looked good I certainly wasn’t going to enter it :slight_smile: much less post it here, but I still believe this is one of my better character pieces, not easy to do. Concerning the grip: One of the things I wanted her to look is effortless in holding such a massive sword, also like she was just taking possession of it or ready to hand it away (depending on how the viewer regarded the image). I’ve seen many versions of Excalibur, and once again there I didn’t want to do the typical thing. As I was telling basse the sword size was mildly inspired by anime (something I studied but never did much of). Your closing comment underscores another potential problem of a piece like this: if it were for anything else (i.e. not Exposé), it might not be regarded in a different light. To stand out amidst so many entries it had to be “over the top” in several areas, not the least of which was quality. I frequent CGtalk and realize what I’m up against in terms of competition. I try not to let that affect the artistic process, but as I mentioned to basse, since this was potentially for a general audience publication, I had to make certain decisions to ensure it had a chance without compromising the ultimate idea I had in mind. I don’t expect them to pick it anyway, since it’s a Blender work and maybe in being so won’t be considered with the same weight if it was created in one of the commercial applications. I don’t know :slight_smile: Image to image we never know, and I think that’s good :slight_smile: What I do know it was fun, another learning experience, and a big challenge to pull off with such little time. Thanks again! I appreciate your time.


Well, the modeling is certainly nice, but I must say that this image, at least for me, doesn’t portray the lady of the lake well, and not on the Exposé 3 standard I must say. To me the lady of the lake is beutifull and elegant, and so is the sword. The sword for example is so sci-fi it doesn’t look much like a sword, not for the time it came from. The image is very bulky and crude if I may be so bold as to say so.

So I’m sorry robertt, I think Exposé 3 is beyond this image’s reach. A few major improvement are required.


PS: Sorry if I sounded harsh.

I knew that was your intention, and my problem is not that the sword is huge. I actually like that it’s not your typical Excalibur. My problem is with the propotions of it’s handle and it’s blade. The handle is too thin for the blade, and that creates an uneasy feeling in me when I look at it, like the sword is going to fall out of her hand in the next moment, and Arthur’s gonna laugh his head off at the lake’s shore as she’s trying to catch the Excalibur :slight_smile: (Of course there will be a silly picture of the Sun on Arthur’s chest). So that is my problem. IMHO the things that make it in Exposé are images that create a pleasant feeling when you look at them. Usualy this is the goal of every visual art, except in some cases, when the whole point is to create uneasiness (horror movies, for example, or the painting called “scream”), but this being a triumphant moment should reflect that in composition as well.
Once again, I completely understand your intentions behind this image as it is, and I like it in that light, and even this might be just what will make this picture make it into exposé, so I’m not even trying to encourage you to change anything (It’d be too late for that anywho). I’m just trying to tell you my feelings when I look at it. And I only feel that this is valid if I look at it compared to those images that were in exposé before, if I look at it in the light of what you were trying to tell, than it’s your imagination, and that is something that cannot be criticized. The same goes for the presentation, in exposé I usually see the typical hollywood-type images, while your’s is very different, but again, it’s your imagination, and you can see you presented what you wanted to present.
(BTW, if I were you I would have entered the love-making pair statue you made, “unseparable” if I remember right. I can certainly imagine that in the book as a perfect showcase of true art in 3D. But again, that is just me :slight_smile: )

mystery00: No problem :slight_smile: I wouldn’t be doing this if I couldn’t take the potential criticism :wink: A piece like this would be a magnet for such reactions. Beauty is one of those subjective things of course. Renditions are renditions exactly because we all have our ideas of what something should be, or not. I share your belief in what LOTL should represent (beauty, elegance) and subjectively felt I had accomplished that in this piece. Style is always subject to debate anyway. Crude is maybe stretching it, since that would imply tasteless, simple, something not carefully made – things I worked furiously to prevent here. Just a matter of opinion I guess :slight_smile: which I will always respect. Exposé quality is another subjective thing: I don’t always agree what they consider “best,” just like CGtalk choice awards – many fine artists, but I think (to use local examples) @ndy and Landis’ work should have been featured there a long time ago. While this was designed as an Exposé entry, I’d rather it not (as what somewhat happened with Blossom early on) be that people look at it exclusively against that one backdrop, since the idealized perception of that competition tends to overshadow what would otherwise be considered a decent image – which I certainly think this is of course :wink: While I will always be open minded, this will be one of those images where my belief in the piece will prevail against any future non-constructive criticisms. I am very aware of what gets posted at different 3D forums, so I have a very good idea as to the general quality of images that can honestly be called “good,” contemporarily speaking – what was “good” a year or two year ago, for me or others, might not be as impressive today :slight_smile: Maybe ten years from now I’ll look back on this and say what the hell was I thinking :slight_smile: but for now I think it’s one of those pieces that, while it may not be widely accepted, I am happy with it and happy to hear what others think of it. That’s such a fun part, even if people hate it :smiley:

Erufailon: Thanks for the followup :slight_smile: The pleasantry of this piece was another element deliberately placed in limbo since it could be happy or sad: happy for her to give the sword, sad for her to be taking it back after the fall of Arthur. So triumphant or tragic. That’s why the sky is not happy, and the water drops were partly meant to foreshadow tears/sadness after Camelot’s fall. I knew this was going to be hard to do, a duplex scene like that, so it’s great to hear your reactions and others. I really appreciate that. And I do like pleasant pieces, and I think most people do. Some artists even think it’s their duty to please people. Not me of course, I want to make people wrinkle their gray matter, even if just to form a reaction to a piece :slight_smile: I’ll do eye candy too time to time, but I want to escape the ephemeralness of cg stuff and do more meaningful things. I’m very conscious of viewer/reader reactions, not as I make a piece necessarily but definitely afterwards. I’m very much into literary theory, hermeneutics, notions of reader-response, all that stuff (my major was Literature) and I continue to work in that area, so I see parallels with author/text/reader and artist/image/viewer all the time that I find interesting. Thanks for the kind words about the statue too! Part of the problem is Exposé’s predetermined categories (necessary for awards process I think) which my other art pieces tend not to fall into. But, if it’s mainstream they want, they sure have enough to pick from :smiley:


The picture is very stylish and creates a great atmosphere :slight_smile:

But i think the sword is a little bit too large, the blade is too wide and the grip is the size of a two handed sword with reasonable space for only one hand.

What kind of sword should it be? A one-handed, a “bastard sword” which can normally be wielded with one or two hands or a pure two-handed sword?

Of course it’s a fantasy sword, so don’t bother too much about my critics.
It’s just because i am a little bit familiar with swords :slight_smile:

It’s a great picture

Really nicely render Robertt. Great mood witht he lighting and shader work you have done and it really shows.

All the crits I can think of, both basse and Erufailon have covered. So I will just shut up now. :wink:


Well, I am gonna be harsh here. I wanted to like it, but I just don’t. There is nothing truly spectacular about this pic, all in it is just so typical for this kind of scene.

I like the modelling and I do like that water efect you have there, but a purple sword? And that sky? It seems just so out of place.

I’m disapointed, this is not one your best works. You can do helluva lot better. I’ve seen so with my own eyes.

As wonderful as this picture is, there’s something that’s lacking… something which many of your other works, such as “inseperable”, have caught beautifully: the passion and expression of the moment.
While well designed in almost all respects, it doesn’t adequately portray the energy and power of the scene, which in all regards should be well fused.

great job!
only two crits would be
1 make the sword smaller (normal sword size to human)
2 show the boobs, it would add to the picture…plus i like boobs

AN][ARES: Thanks so much! The sword was definitely more fantastical than anything else. I wanted to visually get away from all the other swords I’ve seen in fantasy/anime pics and do something that could be symbolic, powerful, and unique at the same time. I approached this image more in terms of symbolism than anything else: the rocks (representing the sword’s origin, Arthur’s/Camelot’s division/destruction from the Lancelot/Guinevere affair if the sword was considered in a certain manner), the water (life/tears/a source of the Lady and magic of Arthurian lore), her transitional expression to either a state of joy (in giving the sword) or sadness (in taking back the sword). Very very tough to pull all this off though, especially when, as was the case here, I knew many people have it in mind how Excalibur and the LOTL should be portrayed :slight_smile:

BgDM: Thanks for the kind words BgDM, and congrats on being a moderator :slight_smile: I know you will do your part to minimize any mischief :wink:

Hippie: I understand, and I appreciate what you say. Needless to say, I did try my best :slight_smile: I hope people know that. The sword reflects an angmapped sky before the character. AO + sky texture was used here to introduce variance in colors that is more likely to be found in fantasy scenes than typical renders. The visible sky (different from the main sky) is either the beginning or end of a storm/era (which might make sense if my explanation to AN][ARES is taken into consideration). Beyond that though, two interesting things can happen with a piece like this, first when it is considered in light of a competition, and then compared to past works. If I had not mentioned this was for Exposé, or if I were someone else posting this, I wonder if reactions might be different.

paroneayea: Thanks. I appreciate the feedback. There’s definitely an emotional and functional difference between this and Inseparable though, other differences too. The mythic element of LOTL precedes this piece, along with idealized notions of Exposé, so that’s a potential one-two punch that, when considered against the backdrop of other works I’ve made, also has the potential to shortchange an unrelated piece in terms of understanding and appreciation. For example, it may not be very helpful to compare LOTL or Inseparable, to my recent dartboard image (“You Get the Point”) or to my Penguins, since they all exist for different purposes in mind at the time and vary in style and subject matter. Part of the potential challenge, for viewers, is that someone like me doesn’t dwell in one expressive mode or range of style, so that can set up situations for interesting yet ineffective comparisons of expressive success or artistic commitment between any given pieces. If I do something wildly different, it’s always a chance being taken, especially when it goes agains the tide of viewers’ expectations. The creative passion to make something unqiue and meaningful remains intense and is probably the one common thread to all these works :slight_smile: I only hope for most of my works that much is evident.

Wu: Thanks dude :smiley: Haha… you naughty boy :wink:


Robertt: No doubt the words Expose and Robertt are the source of the negative criticism. You only have yourself to blame for that, you set that bar so high. It is a very nice picture but I’ll throw my 2 cents in too.

The thing that immediately bothered me was the water droplets. They seem entirely to large. I think more of a splashing particle like effect would have worked much better(think lines instead of blobs). That being said, I hope I can bring things from my mind to a blended image the way you do sometime before I die.

I’ve got to say, in what you just said there you’ve captured a lot of my beliefs about artwork, and what it shouldn’t be expected to be… the same as everything else a person has done.

Perhaps I should have said it this way, that I thought this piece could have benefitted from much more emotion and “passion of the moment” than it currently has. Not that all works need such a thing… I just thought this one would do well with such. I brought up Inseperable because I thought it showed to me that you had the capacity to capture such expression well, not that I thought the capturing of expression should be done in a similar vein.

That said, I really love this piece. Unlike many of the criticisms I’ve read on here (and the only one I read on cgtalk) I really like the sword.

choice3d: Thanks :slight_smile: yes bad me :wink: I must be honest and admit every single image I made (or will make) can or should be better in some way, sometimes a lot better :smiley: That’s why I am so anxious to hear what everyone thinks, since that feedback can really help in the long term. I hope to be making 3DCG a loooong time, so there will always be plenty room for improvement.

paroneayea: Cool :slight_smile: Thanks for the followup! You have no idea how much all this feedback is appreciated :slight_smile: Just as I use feedback from Finished Projects to build towards betterment, I also think it’s useful to give feedback, wherever appropriate and time permits, to those who care enough to comment on my work – not only to show them how much I appreciate their time but also to reveal some of the ideas and techniques/technical aspects behind a piece, as well as to take into consideration some of larger concepts always at play in this matter of artistic creation and public reception. Those can be good things to consider because it makes one aware that there are these larger things at work, if just on a subconscious level, all of which can have a variety of influences on both the artist and her or his viewers. If it doesn’t help others, it helps me sort through these creations on some level. If it weren’t for this forum, I probably would have never reached where I’m at today, so thanks again to you and the others for taking the time to comment!

back to blending :wink:


Maybe it was the fact, that you are placing this pic in serious competition. If this would be just another scene by you, I wouldn’t been so blunt, but now.

Expose is hard competiton and I honestly believe your pic has very slim, next to nothing, change. But none the less, you are good. And usually more imaginative.

What I am saying is don’t settle in this scene, make it reflect yourself better. Wrap yourself around it and make it spectacular.

Hippie, thanks for the followup :slight_smile: I appreciate your honesty, and I totally agree. I never really settle, certainly not with this one, always tweaking, adjusting, even after posting an image and calling it “final.” You know I keep trying :wink: And if you only saw the earlier renders you’d reeeeally know :smiley: Winning isn’t my goal anyway, a nice surprise or side-effect if it ever happens, but never my motivation. I always set out to make the best possible image, but it doesn’t always happen. Just like the Weekend Challenge here, which I use to challenge myself, I consider Exposé no different in that respect. I learned some new things during this project, enjoyed what I created, invested a portion of my life in this creation that isn’t wholly apparent to the outside world, and I am eager to move forward with both the knowledge of certain failures I will try not to repeat in the future and certain successes I can only hope to repeat or surpass. The beauty of it all is we can go as far as we want :smiley: