"I would just like to think that, it's not why it happened to me. But why was I saved? What else can I do now?" -Higher than Hope by Nightwish
Early on in the story of my Halo Elite fancharacter Antak, he is ambushed by a group of human marines and mown down in a hail of bullets. In the aftermath of the battle, a covenant medical team transporting his shredded body to the morgue notices to their astonishment that the fallen warrior is actually still alive and he is diverted to an emergency triage. Arriving on the operating table, Antak has lost 65% of his blood and most of his vital organs are severely damaged and failing. Using advanced Covenant medical techniques, almost a kilogram of metal, in the form of bullets and shrapnel is removed from his tissue and most of his essential bodily functions are transferred to external machinery while surgeons prepare him for multiple organ transplants. Remarkably, Antak's central nervous system has escaped major damage and after riding the knife edge between life and death for days, his condition slowly begins to stabilise.
When Antak finally regains consciousness, he falls into a deep depression, certain that he will never recover the strength to see a frontline again. It is the ultimate dishonour for a warrior to fail his duty in battle but be spared from death's release and he becomes very angry at the surgeons for denying him a warrior's death. However, eventually the surgeons manage to explain to him the impossible situation he has managed to recover from and convince him that the only way he could have survived is if the Gods themselves had wanted him to live. Deeply religious as a Covenant warrior, Antak is both humbled and exhilarated by this idea. If the Gods had spared him, then what great plan did they have for doing so? He begs the surgeons to restore him to combat readiness so that he might fulfil the destiny entrusted to him, whatever that might be.
This picture more or less broke my run of getting pictures done quickly, taking me about two months all up. Still, I think I was exposed to having to create a bunch of different effects and objects which I hadn't previously attempted. I wanted to get it done because I think it is the most important influencing event on Antak's character. I haven't drawn an elite without armour in any detail before and I had to start over at one point when I realised I'd given him a completely human upper body structure by using photos of human bodybuilders as reference. The sangheilli physique, I think has a much greater shoulders:hips ratio than a human, which looks totally wrong from a human perspective when you're drawing it.
Creating an effect of a smooth glass tank was kinda difficult too. To be quite honest, I just put more reflection effects on until I was happy with it.
I do somewhat regret having to put so many layers over Antak- I'm very pleased with his muscles and injuries and it's a bit of a shame to have to cover them up.
Some new resources I picked up for this were:
Circuit Board Brushes
Anyhow, thanks for looking. If you have any questions or criticisms, fire away. I take criticism very well as I'm always looking to improve on my work.
A few suggestions: I agree with a previous comment that some added shadows and highlights would give the 'glass' container more depth. Right now, it looks a little flat. Another thing that I notice is that the light behind the container (such as the teal 4-sided shape with rounded corners) is not being refracted by the glass or the liquid in the container. Just as a drinking straw in a glass of water will appear 'broken', the shape seen through the glass should not line up with the shape in the back. This also applies to the section of Antak's body on the 'angled' part of the glass.
The bubbles in the tank are a great addition. They really add a lot to making it appear as a liquid. Also, I like the faint hexagonal texture on the machine and floor. It makes it look more technological without really distracting from the picture as a whole. Great work.
The artwork is decently amazing, nough said on that point.
Love the fact that you remembered the whole "Sangheilli honor code" thing but I still question why he was saved-as does Antak himself apparently.
Well, Doctors and Surgeons are pretty much considered scum by the Sangheilli and it was a team of grunts which dragged him back to the medical bay. It follows that those who take the difficult path of being a medic in a society where they would be hated for it are already ones who have a different perspective on what is important. Antak is much more of the traditional soldier and he's furious and incredulous when he finds out what has happened to him, promising to kill the doctors and himself if they dare let him live. Fortunately perhaps for all involved, Antak also has an enormous ego and he's very weak to persuasion by flattery. By convincing him through the course of his recovery that the Gods willed that he were to survive, the surgical team were able to use his religious faith to redeem his honour. He remains deeply ashamed of his failure, but believes he must be destined for some great challenge where he will have a chance to atone.
The Elites' armour with its sharp lines and angles really contributes so much to their figure that it can certainly be hard to disentangle it from their actual form. Wow, you do have quite a lot there! Thanks very much for the link. If you don't mind, I'm about to carpet bomb you with submission requests for #TheHaloArray. We have a tutorials/reference section to the gallery but at the moment it's fairly empty and I'd like to expand it with useful information. I think we'd have a lot more good fanartists about if more people made such references for them to learn from. If you see any more tutorials, anyone can submit to the gallery there.
Heh, I haven't actually done transparent glass before in photoshop I don't think. It was a bit hit and miss, but the reaction has been fairly positive. Tubing is a huge pain to shade, but most of it was fairly dark on this, so it wasn't too much work.
Thank you for a wonderful comment, very much appreciated!
Are you in #TheHaloArray? I didn't start it, it's been around for a long time, I only recently became admin there. We're the second largest dA Halo fanclub I think and unlike a lot of others, we're quite strict with people submitting screenshots or garbage they just pulled off google images. The original founder left, as seems to happen in so many clubs and things were a right mess, but I think it has a lot of potential.
I dunno when I'll next draw one without armour. I needa do some reference sheets and it would probably be worth at least a mugshot or two to differentiate characters who wear the same coloured armour, but I'm super duper slow at drawing anything so a full reference sheet takes a veeeerry long time.
I think I know what you mean, because I'm in the "Elites-R-us" and the "Sangheili Zone" groups and I'm seeing a lot of change of members and amends and things. :/ Not so sure what's going on there, but there's nothing much I can do to support the group from closing down.
I've been thinking about reference sheets, and blank bio bases for others to use, but then again, I like having the advantage of being an artist. I get commissions and requests and sometimes I get paid for it! So to a certain extent, I hold back on what I want to post verses what they want me to post. You know? and it does take a long time for me to draw something, too. I'm still working on commissions that I started about a year ago...
And btw, to chose this part of Higher than hope is really cool. Yeah Nightwish
Cheers, I always quite liked it, I tend to select music based on suitability for drawing to and that particular verse fit very well with Antak's experiences. Nightwish are an excellent group, it's really nice to hear operatic female vocals against badass heavy guitars as well as orchestra.
Heh, it really isn't the manliest of colours, but I couldn't deny that I really like the colour purple. It's fun to work with too as you can light it with just about any colour without ruining it. Water/fluid was something new for me to try- I'd spent a lot of time shading the muscles and details and it felt like a bit of a shame to just wash it out but alas, it had to be done. I have this theory that the reason that to make something truly realistic, there have to be details that you can't see. When you look at a scene in real life, you can't see all the minute details, but you can see that they're there... if that makes sense. Proportions took a few reworks, but I'm happy with how it ended up. My first draft had distinctly human proportions but this one has much larger shoulders/hips ratio.
Always keen for critique! Thanks for taking the time for me!
I seem to remember that I adjusted the size of that helmet midway through the drawing, I think it was actually even smaller when I first drew it. Foreshortening is still something I need to work on, but this shouldn't be too hard of a tweak to make.
Sharp highlights are fairly new to my artistic arsenal in general- I think because when you're using a pen or pencil, you can only add shadows and to create highlights, you simply leave those areas bare or remove graphite. I could certainly stand to be a bit more bold with my highlights and shadows though. When you're doing a digital painting, let's say, with this sorta level of lighting, what opacity/tools would you generally use? With shadows, I tend to use multiply brushes on about 10% opacity a few shades darker than the colour I'm shading on, but highlights I barely go much more than 3-4% opacity with Hard/Soft/Vivid Light because otherwise the contrast between the lit area and the surrounds seems to harsh. Am I being too cautious?
The glass was a pretty huge stab in the dark for me- I've never coloured anything remotely like a curved, transparent, semi-reflective surface before. I can totally see why it's so popular to get people to sketch coke bottles in art classes! I like the idea about putting in violet overlays, that makes a lot of sense and it hadn't even occurred to me. Good point about putting some change in colour into the texture, also makes a lot of sense. I suppose what I'll do in future when I have a texture layer is just lock the pixels and run over it with another brush. Shading mah shading, brilliant, it's like shading-ception!
Thanks again for the comment, it really made my day when I saw it in my inbox!