• CGSociety :: Reader Project
    Marcel Baumann
    25 November 2005
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    My first idea for this piece was an environment which had been created over the centuries by water, and which had influenced the landscape. I had ideas of a futuristic railway station on a rock, a huge waterfall at the end of a forest that fell direct into the sea, and further a deep valley in a jungle. None of these ideas could convince me.

    The next day I made some more pencil sketches of small groups of buildings on a rock, as well as further variations of waterfalls, maybe inspired by some paintings of Doug Chiang. In any case I didn’t want to copy ideas, but to bring in new ones and develop them. When I showed my sketches to my mother, she interpreted the two sketches as one picture and I thought this might be an interesting idea, so I connected the two sketches and suddenly the idea for Water Village was born.
    I drew this idea (below right) on a new sheet of paper so I could see more details of the possible architecture. I had an idea of an exotic village built out of wood and stone, placed on a rock surrounded by a huge waterfall in a far-east environment. I imagined the village and was convinced about this concept, but this time, I didn’t work out the details on paper. I wanted to leave some space for further ideas I expected would come up during the painting process, and to allow the possibilities of further development.
    Studying images of waterfalls, I analyzed the movements of the water; the colors and the lighting. After that I sketched the landscape with some colors directly in Photoshop and used my last pencil sketch as reference. If I knew at the start that I would use my first color sketch for the base of the final version, I would have drawn some perspective lines for the building. Without a scanned line drawing I started to sketch the main building also in Photoshop. I changed the composition of the picture to show more of the landscape and the waterfall in the foreground.

    Happy with the result, I decided to continue with that sketch and started to build the village around the main building. Mostly I used hard, round standard brushes to sketch and later paint the details. For this part of the artwork I usually spend enough time to work out the idea and the composition. This is one of the most exciting parts of the work for me, because the final picture is being more or less settled from now on. Any further and bigger changes at a later stage would be very time consuming.
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  • Firstly, I painted some details with the standard brushes and fixed some shadows to give the objects some depth. I decided to change the mood of the picture with a more dramatic light. The sky had to show clouds after a rain shower with a clear view to the village. To add more realistic details to the sky in a fast way, I took a picture I had taken from my room some days before and laid it over the rough painted clouds. I then painted the details on different layers and merged them together later on. For the plants and waterfalls I used scattered leave brushes after I painted them with the hard round brushes to add details.
    Whenever possible I tried to add the fog and the shadows, created with soft round brushes, also on a separate layer and keep it separate. This allowed me to change later some details in the picture more quickly. Even when the biggest part of the picture had been worked out, it seemed still to be flat and dead. At this stage I played around and mirrored the picture. Now it seemed that I had a new picture in front of me to work on and somehow I liked it even more. I started to draw gloss on the rocks, reflections on the water, sunrays in the fog, small plants, cables, clotheslines and so on.

    I achieved more depth by giving even harder shadows and by setting the background more in the fog with brighter and less saturated colors. The water in the front took a lot of time, especially to give the small waterfalls any movement.
    I also added a dark gradient over the waterfall in the front. It now seemed like the viewer was in the shadow of a rock and looking at the lightened village that seemed now more as a place of retreat in a desert mountain landscape.

    To support that contrast, I painted direct sunlight on the houses of the village. I also changed the direction and structure of the rocks in the background to the same direction as the rock with the village. The snow-covered mountain in the background cramps the landscape and makes the village look small in the huge environment and with the small lights in the front side of the village, I tried to give a warm and romantic touch on a safe place.

    Marcel Baumann
    CG Choice Gallery thread
    The next step was relatively easy but again pretty time consuming. Again, more details, finer reflections, water spray and foam, decorations and so on. The image resolution was now 3500x5000-pixels and was planned for a poster print. Not planned for selling, but for practice. The viewer should have fun discovering these spots, to search for his or her preferred place and to imagine it. The picture with the original colors was, for me, still too friendly. I experimented with the color adjustments, the lighting filters, and the blending in Photoshop until I was happy with the mood.
    My name is Marcel Baumann. I was born in November 1985 and live in Thalwil, close to Zurich in Switzerland. After school I took a break of one year to spend most of the time on my passion. I’ve just now started to study architecture at the ETH in Zurich. During the last few years I have tried to visualize more of my thoughts and imaginations in different ways.

    I started by drawing simple comics when I was eight years old, then at sixteen I was fascinated by 3D animation and in August 2004 I discovered digital painting. Painting allows me to visualize my ideas and thoughts in a more direct and faster way. I still like to draw my ideas with pencil, because for me this is the fastest way to develop new ideas and pictures.
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