“Rising out of the surrounding sea of dunes like the battered prow of a ocean-faring ship, the s’Amvha Sanazas – the “Divider of the Ways” stood like a bastion guarding the entrance to the plateaulands beyond. In the fresh, cold hours before Wesdraken’s suns arose, Malena had led Braedan up a precarious path carved out of the sand-blasted basalt to the summit of the outcrop from where they could watch the growing dawn over the dunes.
Braedan immediately sensed the aura of the place and its profound effect on Malena. Carved in the rock behind them were two niches each bearing a single desiccated and aged skull. Malena bowed her head in silence for a long moment as Braedan continued to gaze on over the dawn-touched dunes. Far below their loft viewpoint, the battered and sand-corroded wreck of a small space freighter peeked from the spine of a large dune.
Brad knew, without any words being exchanged, that Malena had returned to her roots on Wesdraken. Here her father had died in the fiery crash of the fleeing space freighter. Her mother had survived, saved by the Sadusi, and not left – as was their way – to the mercies of the elements, for she had been with child. She had later passed from this existence, leaving her newborn, Malena, in the hands of the wild desert-dwelling sapients.
The Sadusi had observed their rituals of reclaiming the corpse’s water for the benefit of the tribe, leaving only the skulls for the burial rites high up on the s’Amvha Sanazas where the young refugees had met their fate…”
Technical aspects: This image needed to be the diametrically opposite in mood to “For love and honour”, as the now emotionally and romantically attached couple were discovering their own roots and are no longer trying to kill each other! Malena, her own roots buried with the wrecked space ship (out of frame), and Braedan recovered now from his fiery fall onto the planet of Wesdraken, which we have yet to discover…
Initially the lighting was bright and relatively neutral, but I immediately started to feel that it needed more of a brooding palette with the character’s faces being lit by a rising (or setting) sun.
The sky “clicked” with me and using the image as a basis for lighting I reworked the image in DAZ Studio until it started to convey a park pink of the early dawn. (Another “chance-encounter” that I have become used to in my art these days)
The scene’s lighting consisted of three spotlights combined with a HDRI probe to give overall lighting in DAZ Studio.
The rock was carved with 3D-Coat and textured with various images that I have collected of desert rocks.
Finally in Affinity Photo, after the renders were completed all the layers were blended, and the Wacom Intuos tablet was used to recreate a “oil-painting” version of the final image.