Once Upon a Time... WC#164 [now with Alice!]

So, here is my entry so far for wc#164 - Once Upon a Time:


Still to add:

  1. young girl running down the path
  2. background image
  3. textures

any thoughts?

Great concept pld. I like all of it so far and can’t wait to see how you texture the brambles. As for the tower I am not so sure about the structure. I love the little building on top but I think the structure holding it up is a little simple. Is it metal? If it is wood then perhaps making it kind of like a giant tree with little to no limbs would be good.

i think a sub surface on that towers er stem or whatever its called


I really like the base design of the tower. I think it would look great as a tower of stone that looks as though it had been sliding apart over the course of years. I with Woodman5k in waiting to see the brambles textures.

Interesting idea, but I don’t yet see anything for scale or reference. “Is the stuff in the foreground a depth of branches or is it interesting ironwork on the top of a gate that I’m looking over?” Where would you like to position my eye? Where would you like to make me look first… next… next… and last? I don’t yet know if you intend to add stuff to the top of the picture but if not, let me strongly encourage you to crop heavily. Cut right above the tower-top.

Work the composition until it’s the best that you can make it, before you focus on materials, lighting and so-on.

hi all, thanks for the comments!

hmm, lets see. i just finished UV mapping the tower, but havent rendered a new shot yet (had to pickup some grub). i am not sure on the texture i am using for the tower yet, but am still tweaking a bit (its stone, btw).

those are not actually brambles, but trees, rather. my own silly two dimensional flat trees :slight_smile: I know there is no reference yet, but i was planning on putting a small girl running down the path to lend some idea of scale in the scene.

woodman, the idea of using a limbless tree is great. It wasnt what i was originally picturing, but i can definitely see it now, looking back at the test renders. i might consider doing it after the weekend. :slight_smile: (if you don’t mind me, that is :D)

aidan: there actually is subsurf on the tower. i wanted a slightly sharp edge on the transitions, but i think it may be a bit sharper than i intended… might have to model some old bricks jutting off the tower to ease that transition a bit.

alistair, thanks! i was kicking around what type of things to lend a bit more interest to the tower itself (and give the eye something to crawl over on the way up the tower). i was also going to maybe get some ivy crawling up the sides (if time permits).

sundial: thank you for the pointers. i will go back over my refs and ideas tonight and reconsider the overall composition before deciding to move forward in other areas.
in my mind, there is an expansive twilight, with the tower reaching up from the bottom of the scene. their was/is going to be a small girl (alice, little red riding hood, what have you) running down the path towards the tower. She was going to lend scale to the foreground, and contain a strong color palette to grab the eye initially. I was hoping that the branches pointing up towards the sky would draw the eye up from the girl along the tower, to the window. i was going to have the tower window lit from inside with a warm light (fire), lending the only warm colors to the palette of the image. The sky texture was twilight and cold, with a fading sunlight coming in low from behind the camera.

i figured that because there was no modelling above the tower, i could crop as needed once i had the lower third of the image composed. I would probably crop the sides as well to keep a tall vertical format, perhaps to help lend the sense of height to the image (as well as helping the eye along verticaly).

did that make any sense at all, or am i completely mad? :-?

as a side note, i wanted to get the image done in time for the wc, because i find that these small, few day long projects really help me to focus on the overall process, and to adjust my time as necessary. (not spending the entire weekend modelling at the expense of lighting and texturing for instance).

so i find these quick exercises very helpful for me to learn the program, and how to really plan out my workflow.

whew. sorry for the long post! i’ll get more out tomorrow after i have had a chance to work on it for a bit.

curses! where did the damn time go!?! stupid blender sucking up all my time! :slight_smile:

So, after reviewing a few things, I decided it would be best if I put together my little girl and have her ready for the scene tomorrow…

So, without further ado, my little alice (sorta):


how do you like her?

I really like this style pld. Like south park meets alice in wonderland. You would have had my vote most likely if you could participate in this one.

thanks, i appreciate that! (of course, this is probably going to be the second week in a row that you get my vote…, that first render of yours for this wc is nice).

I was wondering how you were going to come up with a person to put into the scene with the time you had left and I must say that I am impressed. When I saw the first two pictures there I was intrigued and wondered how it would look at final render, then I scrolled down. It is a very unique style choice (reminds me of a 3d John Allison picture) and I can’t wait to see it in the final shot.

:o VERY interesting work!
Very nice idea to make this vector+3d style… never ever saw something like that. Really fascinating.
Go on!

Hope there will come out an animation later - may be…

heh. the problem is that i have never modelled a complete human figure before at all. come to think of it, i have never modelled a complete animal either.

on the good side, i had already used the idea to make the trees for the scene, so i already had my head in “fake 3d” 2d mode. so i thought about it a bit, and figured i could probably get by with a similar look for the girl (plus it continues on with the theme already set by the trees).

of course, it was alot harder than i thought it would be, and required me to really think carefully about how to arrange the different layers correctly.

anyhow, heres a render of what i have at the moment…


Still have to put some color on those cardboard trees ;). and i may end up cropping the final image a bit differently as well.

oh, and the stones bordering the tower window need some texture too.

wasn’t sure about the sky. its one of [email protected] skymaps, in b/w. as sundial pointed out, i may end up cropping the image to above the tower to remove all the dead space since nothing interesting is really happening there anyway…

or should i use the color skymap as in the alice render from previously? still not sure.

i was thinking that the colors of the sky muted the attention i wanted drawn to alice herself, and the lit tower window, but looking again at that small render of her above, i kind of like the color palette…

Nice render so far.
I think a half moon by the tower would be so nice. Then you start looking att the moon because it’s so bright and then the eyes moves on to the tower and then down the wall to Alice.

Good luck.

That’s a really nice style on Alice. It is clear that you are going for a certain artistic style and I definitely like it.

When you put her into the composition, though, I can’t see her anymore. My eye is going straight-up out of the picture toward that tower. The effect will be lessened somewhat when the trees have color, but once again I really want to have a good POV on Alice herself. I want to see how she is made, like the first set of shots of her really did.

So, what if you dropped the camera down close to the ground and shot upward, with maybe a very short, wide lens, thereby putting some deliberate distortion into the composition. You’ll be unnaturally emphasizing Alice, compressing the scene considerably (almost twisting it), and accenting the very stylized nature of the artwork itself. It’s your picture of course, but I think it might come out very cool.

Yeah, and Klaiban (the guy who drew all those tabby-cat cartoons for the New Yorker), insisted that he drew that way because he couldn’t draw.

What you did do is very, very original. :slight_smile:

You know, i was just struggling with that now in these final few compositional shots i have been looking at. as a scale reference, i wanted her near the first set of tree planes, but she tends to become much more obscured the further away she is. :frowning:

I considered moving her closer to the camera, but then she tends to fill the frame up quickly, obscuring alot of the tower in the process. im trying to find a happy medium at the moment. do you have any suggestions on the camera settings to achieve the squashing? something lower than the 35 default?

oh, and just for you foCus, here is the moon in the background :wink:

not sure if i like this background pic better than the previous ones. what do you all think?


I think this new background is too light in color. Maybe lower the brightness in a paint program. But I liked the other one better than this one so far.

hehe thanks pld. I was more thinking of putting a half moon on the other sky …:wink: but that’s a nice render too :slight_smile:

good night

I like that background, though it wouldn’t hurt to darken it a tad as Woodman5k suggested. To make Alice more prominent and to give the tower a more epic feel you could try moving the camera closer to Alice’s feet while keeping it centered on the top of the tower.