At first all is quiet, the sounds of nature are muted and all that can be heard is your own heartbeat. A feeling of dread and slight panic begin to envelop your senses, but you calmly suppress them both. There have been stories circulating lately, stories of strange raids by unknown machines, entire strongholds vanishing under clouds of flames and ash and others mysteriously vanishing. You're unsure that anything would happen today, if the rumors were true or if anyone disappeared at all. Time slowly slinks forward and with and slowed and plotted gait, as if time itself had something it was unsure if it knew what pace to take for itself. So with that in mind, you finally allow yourself to relax. Your family castle has held firm for as long as your bloodline can recount. It’s been here for almost a hundred years and you'll know it'll be here another hundred years.
That is, until THEY came...
It starts with a slight whistling of the air, a gentle breeze that breaks the silence at last. Next comes a louder call, it gets your attention quicker with its abrupt change from its calmer wavelength. Then, a piercing screech and a devastating shriek; windows shatter and the castle begins to moan and groan. You look out your nearest window and discover the source of the disturbance. Right upon the horizon you see them; just as the stories and rumors described. Moving above and beyond speeds that a human being could even comprehend, the small group of aircraft scar the skies searching endlessly for prey. With each pass over your home, the force shakes it more violently. Objects dropping around you, the mountain itself even groaning under the pressure. At last the machines make a final pass in formation, however this time, it’s not going to be a pass...it’s going to be a strike. Your body is drenched in sweat, your arms and legs shaking, the very control you struggled to maintain was falling apart before your eyes. As the machines inch forward, their weapons heated before their impending strike, you silently slump to the floor, eyes closed, preparing yourself for the impending destruction. Snow Tempest In The Alien Sahara, created by Luminarium artist *Shue13, presents us with a mountainous land on an alien world vastly spread with a depth and detail presenting a sense of scale that drives the mind toward its alien landmasses.
To begin with, the Terragen and Vue rendering work very well in this particular piece. The landscape detailing and general shape of the mountains have a very natural appearance to it managing to maintain a feeling of realism. Textural usage really builds on to the appearance of the design and ads quite a bit of depth to the design style presented here. The blurring effect on the aircraft ads a nice sense of speed to the composition. The viewer can almost imagine the cool air of the mountains, the burning screech of the jet engines as the scream forward above the landscape and even the fading light of the setting sun all builds on the atmosphere of the image presenting a feeling of dire dread and desperation. Building that type of atmosphere coupled with the detailing and compositional quality gives a nice balance.
While there's a lot working out in the favor of the composition, there's a few things that could be done to improve its quality. While the textures do the piece justice, I do have to say that some parts of the landscape texture appear a little unsharpened in the upper portion of the composition, giving a feeling of unbalance. Try sharpening the primary structures a little more and blur the lower portions of the landscape more to present a bit of depth of field effect on the overall world here. I would also suggest tightening the appearance of the structures on the mountain peaks below the surface. While I do like the idea of the structures decaying and rusting, see if you could go back and touch up some parts of the structure, as it seems it looks a bit overly sketched in some areas. Detail the primary elements of the structure that are dilapidated and the rest should be erased to give it a more concise and finished appearance to it. The other structures should be done the same way just to your own personal extents. Experiment a bit more with what you have in the composition and don't be afraid to go into unfamiliar territory.
Snow Tempest In The Alien Sahara is one of those particular pictures that almost moves in your mind as you look upon its depiction. It almost seems as if you're watching everything happening before you in slow motion as each and every frame slides passed you in an almost natural motion, as predators finally preparing for a hunt in their world. While there are a few things that could be improved or tweaked to take this piece a step further, from where its standing, its a pretty nice site to see. Great work Sebastien.