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Subterrarium by Scorpion451 Subterrarium by Scorpion451
Photoshop, about 8hrs.
My entry for the latest :iconconceptworld: contest;
this round's magic phrase is " Abandoned Subway".

After initially being thrilled by the topic, I rapidly realized something: I kept coming back to ideas that were cool, but a little too reminiscent of the beautiful metro areas from Fallout 3, or something out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The original was my favorite cartoon as a little kid and I watched every episode like a bazillion times). The big problem being that I hate doing something someone's done before if I can help it at all, and between the two they had covered a huge amount of the potential scenes and uses for abandoned underground structures. :hmm:

I finally had to sit down and clear my head of rubble, genetically altered wildlife, flaming trashcans, raiders, the occasional zombie movie invasion (see the previous "avoiding cliche" statement), and even one of the greatest supervillains ever, the Ratking... and figure out a completely novel way to something I had seen a hundred times before.

And this is what I came up with:
Deep below many of the partially dismantled scrapyards that were once the Earth's cites, lie endless mazes of tunnels that once served as subways. Here one can find those eccentric humans who, for incomprehensible reasons, choose to live outside the bustling high-tech cocoons of the great Arcologies have created an intricate and fiercely independent society of their own. Sheltered from the ravaging storms of a barely controlled greenhouse climate by tons of concrete and earth, they live their lives almost entirely belowground. Most venture to the surface only for recreation and excursions required by their economy, which is primarily based on a combination of extensive subterranean hydroponic gardening , hunting of the plentiful game that has reclaimed much of the abandoned territory once occupied by man, and scavenging what has not already been stripped from the landfills and cities. They barter the products of their labor both among their own tribes and with the Arcologies for the latest technological advances- who happily oblige, as non-synthetic meat and produce can sell for exorbitant prices on the open market, and raw materials are at a premium. Many of the most well-to-do tunnel dwellers have begun their careers as scavegers, and made their fortunes on the antiquities market with finds like functional complete automobiles, or rare primitive computer components dating from the Silicon Age of man, which collectors will spend fortunes to add to their private collections.
While many of the arcology dwellers look down on these "feral humans", recent census data indicates that many of the wealthiest individuals on Earth live not in the penthouses of the orbital cities in the sky, but in sprawling mansions carved beneath the surface, a fact which continues to lure those willing to trade a life above the clouds for a chance at freedom.
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GDSWorld Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Hey Joshua, only just found some time to comment on your work.
My first impression when I looked at this piece is that I really like the depth and overall feel of this concept.

My loves:
-Perspective definitely, it looks like you're pushing hard on depth and perspective on every new pieces and its really paying off
-Composition and framing is quite good keeping the viewer within the image
-The scale is also done quite well

Some improvement tips:
-Overall, the lines look a bit loose. Use a line tool to draw straight lines or a Pen tool to draw curved angles, especially the area closest to the viewer
-Perspective still looks a bit off. I know you're working on this so you'll improve in no time but make sure the lines do go to the vanishing point and stay parallel throughout
-Overall, elements need to be tighter, so make sure the edges are clean and the form is turned where it is needed

Lets make 2013 count! Keep it up.
Scorpion451 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013   Artist
Thanks as always for the constructive critque! :)

There's something that I'm glad you reminded me to ask about-
I think I've found where my occasional form turning/edging/value balance issues are sneaking in...and I think it plays some role in my perspective quirks as well; but its an problem that I haven't quite figured out a reliable solution for so far.:hmmm:

The problem seems to be this:
If you look at the subway car in the background, when I originally painted that, it had a nice variety of shading on the different sides of the form, the outlines were subtle but noticable, and the perspective wasn't half bad (hard to screw up a box on single-point perspective, after all. :XD:) The only thing I needed to fix was that it stuck out rather badly from the rest of the stuff around it, which I knew meant it needed more noise and some atmospheric fog to fade it into the background.

And here's where the trouble always starts. This only seems to happen when I'm working in the extreme dark end of the value spectrum- as long as I'm working in mid-tones and highlights, like the area around the plants, its a non-issue. The problem I keep running into is that as I start layering atmosphere and noise, I frequently myself stuck in a loop of laying in fog, zooming in and cleaning up now unrecognizable blobs, more fog to fade that, and then fixing what that broke. After a while I find that forms drift from their original boundaries, shading becomes bland and flat locally, and the outlines become overly pronounced, sometimes making the thing stick out more than it did beforehand.

I know the theory side of what I'm doing wrong- that the problem is in the way that I'm trying to force-fit a local set of values into the rest of the image- and I can fix it brute-force style by just repainting it in the right values. But I also know from start-to-finish snapshot demos, and from the fact that I can do it in the lighter end of the spectrum, that there is an easy way to do what I'm trying to do, that I just seem to be missing. Any suggestions how?
GDSWorld Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I think your skills are developing along quite nicely.
I know what you mean about knowing the stuff but
just not being able to apply it right now. I think it
just comes with practise. There is always an easy way to
do something. I always feel like that when I finish a piece.
DTKinetic Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, sounds like you can write a whole series of novels based on that concept :o
Well done, I think no matter what, studies of the underground will always be interesting. And I like the touch you made by adding plants :nod:
Chrisfraserhd Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
wizard grow op
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Submitted on
December 23, 2012
Image Size
10.1 MB


32 (who?)


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