The Relic (2021)
“Braedan moved closer to the corroded surface of the object hidden in the corner of the slot canyon. Even to Malena’s inexperienced eyes the function of the technology was obvious – a metallic protective suit of some sort eaten by sand and time. The petrified remains of its wearer was just visible the the eye.
Malena was nervous, she had violated the taboo of Dosh’Hvat Kandah that forbade any Sadusi from entering the canyon. The signs of the sand salamanders visible lower down in the canyon were fresh and the faintest taint of carrion on the wind told her that they were not far away.
“This is strange, Malena” hissed Braedan gesturing her to draw closer. “I haven’t seen a dropsuit of this design for a long time and even then only in historical archives. It’s design is Imperial, but from the Founding Years.”
“So?” hissed Malena back, “The Sadusi have no interest in your curiosities. This machine has been buried for many cycles. How it came to be here Varu’Nah alone knows. We must leave this place. There are salamanders nearby. There is great danger!”
“I understand Malena, but the mystery is not in the suit, but in it’s occupant!”
“The remains is not human. They are Sadusi!”
“That is impossible, Taruna. The Sadusi have never been skyfarers. They know nothing of the world that you and I come from…”
As the words faded on her lips, Malena knew that the discovery of this ancient relic was going to shake the very foundations of her world, casting doubt on everything that she, a Wesdraken native, called home and her life…”
Technical aspects: This image proved to be more of a challenge, than I originally anticipated. It required a lot of work and research and I actually spent more time watching tutorials on YouTube about 3D-Coat, and creating HDRI images than actually doing the artwork. The background anyon was created by creating 4 duplicates of a eroded canyon wall that I had created using reference photos of slot canyons in Arizona, Nevada and in China and arranging it to form the narrow slot canyon. I lost count of the times I tried different methods and failed – but nevertheless a learning experience. 360Cities provides a wonderful research source for landscapes. I would recommend it to any aspirant artist.
The “Relic” drop suit was based on an image of DAZ product that I had seen BEO2K10 v2 that I then modeled in 3D-Coat. (Blender is still a little out of my league far as experience and basic skills)
Lighting this scene was difficult as I needed rays of light to filter down from above, but the “God Rays” products that I see on DAZ and BlenderNation just don’t work for me, so I chose the old method and added them in afterwards once the lighting was working.
Rendering everything all at once caused DAZ Studio to choke and really struggle. Even though I have 32Gb of RAM a Ryzen processor and a NVidia 1060 overclocked video card, I got plenty of “Out of memory” errors. I therefore chose to split the file into 2 layers with the background for one render and the figures in a 2nd render, combining the two layers in Affinity Photo.
Finally the Wacom Intuos tablet was used to recreate a “oil-painting” version of the final image.