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Imagekind store update
21 February 2019 • permalink

I sell posters, framed prints, and canvases on Imagekind and Zazzle. Recently I have updated my Imagekind store where I have added more of my space artwork. Imagekind is continually improving its website and I'm impressed with their shopping experience. It's very easy to select the artwork, the preferred size, frame and paper type, and you can see all the changes in real-time. See how beautiful Starry evening looks like when framed, or how about the enchanting Spiky shore? Very cool.

Alien scouts fly away from their base over a snowy landscape
Alien base scouts
2 February 2019 • permalink

I normally don't re-use the same designs in my work, but this time I made an exception. I like the drone design from my previous sci-fi image so much, that I decided to use it here as well, but this time as alien scouts.

Rembrandt self portrait
How prolific were famous artists?
4 December 2018 • permalink

About three years ago I became interested in the productivity of famous and well known artists. I was vaguely aware that some artists were very prolific, and that some did not produce a lot. I wanted to find out how many paintings and drawings were produced by some of the famous and well known artists.

After doing a little research I realized that the information I was looking for is scattered all over the internet, and is often of questionable validity. So I decided that this is going to be a long term project and I will work on it when I have the time.

Although I did my best to only use data from reliable sources, the numbers shown in the table below should not be considered completely accurate. Mainly because new works of art may be discovered at any time, and because some of the known artworks may cease being attributed to a particular artist in the future. Thus the numbers can shift either way. Furthermore, some artists destroyed some of their work and some art got lost over time. Therefore, we'll probably never know the entire creative output of any artist. The numbers in the table should be treated as an approximation based on current knowledge.

It should be noted that these numbers tell us nothing about the amount of work that went into creating the paintings and drawings of a particular artist. Some artists painted large and realistic paintings that were very time consuming to produce. Others, painted in a style that required much less effort. For example, the 19th century Polish painter Jan Matejko, painted a number of large and detailed paintings that were very time consuming. His largest painting is 426 cm x 987 cm (13.9 ft x 10.7 yd) and depicts a historical battle scene that took him about 6 years to paint.

I researched over 50 artists but could only find reliable information on 33 of them. Furthermore, it's difficult to find information on the number of drawings many of these artists produced. In some cases I could only find a total of works created with no distinction between drawings and paintings. I'm sure the data I'm looking for is out there somewhere, but I could not find it.

Finally, I would like to stress that being prolific does not guarantee success. There is a myriad of other factors that influence the degree of success an artist can achieve.

NOTE: Although the readability of long numbers is made easier by using a separator, there is no standard separator in use. In the UK and US a comma "," is used to separate groups of thousands (eg. 5000 is often written 5,000). In other countries either a period "." or a space " " is used. To avoid confusion, the numbers in the table are written without any separators (except when quoting a source). Nearly all numbers are short.

Artist name
(born-died) Age
Nationality Art movement Paintings painted (all types combined) Drawings drawn (all types combined) Additional information
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
(1841-1919) 78
French Impressionism 4124 530 Source: 1.
William Turner
(1775-1851) 76
English Romanticism 2550 32000 300 sketchbooks, 32000 sketches, 550 oil paintings, 2000 highly detailed and finely finished watercolours. Source: 1, 2.
John Sargent
(1856-1925) 69
American Realism 2300 ? nearly 600 portraits, approximately 1700 landscapes and subject illustrations of oils and watercolors; many drawings. Source: 1, 2.
Pablo Picasso
(1881-1973) 91
Spanish Cubism 1885 12000 "The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000 (by John Selfridge), comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs." Source: 1.
Edvard Munch
(1863-1944) 80
Norwegian Expressionism, Symbolism 1850 7655 28000 works of art, including 378 litographs, 188 etchings, 148 woodcuts, 143 litographic stones, 155 copper plates. Source: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Camille Pissarro
(1830-1903) 73
French Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism 1719 ? 1529 oils, 190 gouaches, 102 pastels, 55 fans, watercolors, drawings, 200 prints. Source: 1, 2.
Gustave Courbet
(1819-1877) 58
French Realism 1500 ? A small amount of his paintings was executed in collaboration with his pupils. Source: 1.
Jan van Goyen
(1596-1656) 60
Dutch Baroque Era 1200 1000 Was active for about 36 years. Source: 1.
Edgar Degas
(1834-1917) 83
French Impressionism 1200 ? plus pastels and charcoal drawings, and 150 sculptures. "Produced approximately 1500 studies on the subject of ballet dancers". Source: 1, 2, 3.
Claude Monet
(1840-1926) 86
French Impressionism 1189 ? About 2500 artworks in all: paintings, drawings and pastels. Source: 1.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
(1864-1901) 36
French Post-Impressionism 1012 5084 737 canvases, 275 watercolors, 363 prints and posters, 300 pornographic works. Source: 1.
Rene Magritte
(1898-1967) 68
Belgian Surrealism 1000 ? Source: 1.
Paul Cezanne
(1839-1906) 67
French Post-Impressionism 940 ? "Cezanne worked in oil, watercolor, and drawing media, often making several versions of his works." Source: 1, 2.
Vincent Van Gogh
(1853-1890) 37
Dutch Post-Impressionism 862 1031 2181 works in total. Source: 1.
Francisco Goya
(1746-1828) 82
Spanish Romanticism, Rococo Art 700 1000 plus 300 prints. Source: 1.
Eugene Delacroix
(1798-1863) 65
French Romanticism ? 6000 Over 9000 works of art, including several hundred paintings. Source: 1.
Jackson Pollock
(1912-1956) 44
American Abstract Expressionism 363 ? Source: 1.
Jan Matejko
(1838-1893) 55
Polish History painting 300 ? plus "few hundred drawings and sketches". Source: 1.
Rembrandt van Rijn
(1606-1669) 63
Dutch Baroque Era 250 2000 plus 300 prints (etchings). Source: 1, 2.
El Greco
(1541-1614) 72
Greek Mannerism 137 ? Source: 1.
Diego Velazquez
(1599-1660) 61
Spanish Baroque Era 120 ? Source: 1.
Albrecht Durer
(1471-1528) 56
German Northern Renaissance 60 1000 plus "some 350 woodcuts and about 130 engravings and etchings". Source: 1, 2.
Georges Seurat
(1859-1891) 32
French Post-Impressionism 47 500 plus "several sketchbooks" Source: 1.
Johannes Vermeer
(1632-1675) 43
Dutch Baroque Era 34 0 "He left no drawings or preliminary paintings behind." Source: 1, 2.
Hieronymus Bosch
(1450-1516) 66
Dutch Northern Renaissance 25 14 Source: 1.
Leonardo Da Vinci
(1452-1519) 67
Italian High Renaissance 20 4000 "Almost 4000 sheets survive of Leonardo's drawings and notes." Source: 1, 2, 3.
Gustav Klimt
(1862-1918) 55
Austrian Art Nouveau ? 3700 Source: 1.
Maurits Cornelis Escher
(1898-1972) 73
Dutch undefined 0 2000 plus 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings. Source: 1.
Wassily Kandinsky
(1866-1944) 77
Russian Expressionism, Abstract Art ? 1236 plus 38 sketchbooks. Source: 1, 2.
Peter Paul Rubens
(1577-1640) 62
Flemish Baroque Era ? ? "Around 10,000 works of art." "Approximately 1,500 of his works still survive". Source: 1, 2.
Georgia O’Keeffe
(1887-1986) 98
American American modernism ? ? 2029 known works in different mediums. Source: 1.
Salvador Dali
(1904-1989) 84
Spanish Surrealism ? ? 1000 pictorial works. Source: 1.
Caspar David Friedrich
(1774-1840) 66
German Romanticism ? ? Over 500 works. Source: 1.

Biotech base and biodrone sci-fi illustration
Biotech base and biodrone
29 October 2017 • permalink

A remotely controlled biodrone investigates the lake area near the base.

Isaac Asimov on the book cover
Isaac Asimov quotes
27 September 2017 • permalink

A few months ago I read an interview with the famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov who passed away in 1992. I liked his answers in that interview, so I did a little research about him and decided to read his fourth (and last) autobiography - I.Asimov, A Memoir.

I just finished reading it and found most of it interesting. The autobiography is honest, surprisingly immersive, and quite funny at times. My mood often improved while reading this book because the writing is frank, insightful, and lively. Many different topics are covered, including: personal peculiarities, early days of SF magazines, prolific writing, avoiding writers block, censorship, religion, politics, well known SF writers and editors, and much more. Here are some quotes from this autobiography:

I just work on the principle that of all the virtues gratitude (next to honesty) is the greatest, and that has helped me on numerous occasions in my life.


It's much easier to find reasons to consider oneself superior than inferior. But one is just the mirror image of the other.


I never found true peace till I turned my whole working life into self- employment. I was not made to be an employee.


The truly important parts of life develop slowly with experience.


Now, when I read constantly about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that the door is closing and that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.


After all, one meets so many phonies in the world, so many sleazeballs, so many people who lie and twist and whose word cannot be trusted, that one sometimes gets the sick feeling that life is a garbage pit in which people are rotting banana peels. Yet one honest man refreshes the air fouled by a thousand devious rascals.


When I have felt depressed and unhappy, the only anodyne I had (since I have never smoked, drunk, or drugged) was to write. It was only writing that dulled my anxiety.


Continued success at anything tends to breed arrogance, if you are not careful.


Of course, the reader might argue that I was as stubborn in my viewpoint as they were in theirs. Yes, indeed, but I was right and they were wrong and that made the difference.


How does one become a prolific writer? The very first requirement is that a person have passion for the process of writing. I mean he must have a passion for what goes on between the thinking of a book and its completion.


Being a prolific writer has its disadvantages, of course. It complicates the writer's social and family life, for a prolific writer has to be self-absorbed. He must be. He has to be either writing or thinking about writing virtually all the time, and has no time for anything else.


It's easy to believe that no one should depend on society for help when you yourself happen not to need such help.


As it happens, the vicissitudes of time have greatly increased the literary standards of my particular medium and I am very well aware (as I frequently say) that if I were starting today as a teenager, with only the evident talent that I actually had as a teenager, I could not possibly break into the field. It is so important to be in the right place at the right time.

mountains, landscape, spaceship, planet, stars, nebula
Vacation on planet Zicon
1 August 2017 • permalink

How about a nice vacation on a planet far, far away...

Foggy mountains space landscape with nebula, planets and stars
Foggy mountains
19 July 2017 • permalink

I recently cleaned up my whole artwork directory and thus reduced its size from about 60GB to 30GB. There was a huge amount of unfinished artwork that I thought I will get back to someday, but this rarely happens, so I deleted most of it. I also implemented a new directory structure for storing my finished artwork as the old one was getting impractical. As I was going through the unfinished artwork I found some nice pieces that I should certainly finish, like this space landscape concept dated 14th December 2006:

Space art landscape with nebulas and stars
Celestial tide
25 June 2017 • permalink

Here is some interesting information about this space landscape for the technically inclined: the high resolution image consists of 27.388.800 pixels and 1.895.034 unique colors; the uncompressed bitmap file is 82MB; maximally compressed PNG file is 42Mb; there are 44.040.192 polygons in the landscape and two procedural textures; rendering at 6340 x 4320 took 30 minutes and 11 seconds on a dual core Intel I3-2330M 2.2GHz CPU...

Alien spaceships fly above surface of a desert landscape
15 June 2017 • permalink

Alien ships explore the surface of a newly discovered planet by slowly flying above a desert landscape with patches of growing crystals...

I recently read some quotes by Isaac Asimov and here are two that I especially like: "Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today - but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all." And the second quote: "In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate."

space landscape with big blue stars and a big moon
Starry evening space art
6 June 2017 • permalink

Today I came across two interesting quotes by Carl Sagan that describe the size of the universe: For as long as there been humans we have searched for our place in the cosmos. Where are we? Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a hum-drum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. And the second quote: The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding.

huge monuments in a desert with spaceships flying by
Alien monuments
28 May 2017 • permalink

Enormous alien monuments erected thousands of years ago by a civilization long gone. New explorers survey the area from the air in an attempt to uncover their mysteries.

Alien spaceships fly above snowy landscape, sci-fi artwork
Alien hunters sci-fi artwork
16 May 2017 • permalink

Alien hunting ships slowly fly above the snowy landscape while scanning it for creatures to hunt.

sci-fi illustration of outpost, mountains, spaceships
Outpost rangers scifi art
9 May 2017 • permalink

My favorite sci-fi art is from the 1970s to 1990s period. Perhaps it's because I grew up during that time, or perhaps sci-fi art was in fact better back then. Time will tell... A few years ago a bought a used copy of a book called Tomorrow and Beyond: Masterpieces of Science Fiction Art edited by Ian Summers and published in 1978. I recently browsed through this book and it reminded me how sci-fi art used to be back then. In some ways it was somewhat simpler, but the thing that is most noticeable is its calmer feel. Much of today's sci-fi art is excessive and has a restless feel to it. Perhaps this is merely a reflection of technological progression. Anyway, if you like old SF art books then this one is worth getting and is available on amazon.

spiky space landscape with big stars
Spiky shore
29 April 2017 • permalink

It's been a while since I have done a digital space landscape, so Spiky Shore is long overdue. I have been busy doing sketches and experimenting with different drawing media and techniques, and papers. I have also been wondering how to make better use of my sketches in my digital artwork. Doing them in 3D can be a lot of extra work. But some of the sketches I could simply scale up and paint on top in 2D. To do that I would need a new wacom pad as my old one stopped working. Anyway, here is a sketch I did recently that I should make good use of:

Blue ice spikes landscape sketch
More space landscape sketches
1 April 2017 • permalink

I continue to sketch and have uploaded some of the new space landscape sketches to the gallery. Because I enjoy sketching just as much as doing finished artwork, I have been experimenting with different color pencils and papers. I want to determine the ideal combination of pencils and paper. Since I do a lot of sketching, these materials need to be relatively low cost. But at the same time their quality should be sufficiently good for my needs.

Recently I bought the Faber Castell Eco pencils which are unusually good for their price. They contain more pigment than the similarly priced Staedtler Noris Club pencils, and are also smoother to draw with.

Paperwise, I prefer smoother papers that are not too thin. By using thicker papers I can draw on both sides and save in paper costs. So far, my favorite paper is Winsor & Newton Smooth Cartridge 220gsm. But since there are so many different papers on the market, my search for the ideal sketching paper is far from over.

Space sketch
Space art sketches and pencils
13 February 2016 • permalink

I have been doing more space art sketching lately. I use graphite, colored pencils and black ink. At first I used Polychromos colored pencils by Faber Castell and although they are nice to draw with they are expensive for doing sketches so I started looking for a cheaper alternative.

First I tried the Norris Club 144 colored pencils by Staedtler. They have very good covering power on different papers, but unfortunately they are not pigment rich so the colors are on the weak side. Furthermore, only 12 of the total 36 colors are available as open stock. They are very inexpensive though.

Later I tried the Polycolor colored pencils by Koh-I-Noor. They seem to have just as much pigment as the expensive Polychromos and yet cost about 70% less. They don't break, and all colors are available as open stock. They are smooth to draw with and they don't smudge. So I draw with the Polycolor pencils at the moment and enjoy using them.

I have done so many sketches during the past year or so that I decided to put some of them online in a new space sketching gallery. Hopefully I'll have the time to further explore at least some of these sketching ideas as digital artwork.

blue and red abstract artwork
Discos and working habits
20 May 2015 • permalink

This abstract image took much longer to render than I expected. The first high resolution rendering did not take long, but there were problems with anti-aliasing. Some areas did not anti-alias well enough, so I set the anti-aliasing to the highest possible and started the rendering again. This increased the rendering time to several hours, and fortunately everything now looks completely smooth.

Last year I read Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. It is an interesting and enjoyable book which describes the working habits and many eccentricities of well known painters, writers, philosophers, scientists, musicians and other creative types. Recently I was re-reading the book, or the highlighted parts of it, and here are the most common habits that were of interest to me: drinking coffee and tea was popular among many and so was eating eggs; some liked sugary foods; many worked only few hours a day; most followed a daily routine; many liked to work in the morning.

Caffeine and sugar is bad for me so I don't consume it. Eggs I do eat as they are high in brain performance boosting nutrients like sulfur, selenium, choline and vitamin B12. But one food that works really well for me are sardines, which are mentioned once in the book if I remember right. Whenever I feel that my creativity is lacking I eat a small can of sardines in sunflower oil with bread. That helps the creative ideas start flowing again. I think it's a combination of the nutrients that sardines are high in: vitamin D, vitamin B12 and especially selenium. Unfortunately, I recently learned that now even plastic particles are found in the tissue of many fish. So I will have to stop eating sardines which are still considered relatively safe to eat by many health experts. Another food that helps improve my creativity is organic pork liver pate. But it's also bad for me in some ways, so I was thinking about trying organic beef and chicken liver instead.

My working habits changed over the years and I worked at different hours of the day. Some 15 years ago I was freelancing from home and for several months I worked during nights. I did this because I was curious how working during nights would be like for me. So I slept with earplugs during the day and enjoyed the calming silence of the night while working on Unreal 2 . Working nights helped me concentrate much better, which increased my productivity and the quality of my work. Unfortunately the nocturnal life was not good for my health. It's simply too unnatural for my body to be awake during nights, so I went back to a daily schedule. But I still use earplugs or earmuffs whenever I need to reduce noise and improve concentration.

I know that following a regular schedule is important for my creativity. Briefly planning what I will work on the next day is also important, as that makes the work flow with less effort. I think having a habit of doing the same type of activity at the same time of the day makes it easier for the mind to prepare for it, and bring forward the ideas which the subconscious has worked on.

Anyway, here are some abstract crayon sketches I did lately:

abstract crayon sketches

a violet space landscape with stars
Starry isles 2
10 May 2015 • permalink

A few years ago I made Starry isles, which I like a lot mainly due to its very pleasant fantasy mood that is so otherworldly and inviting. Recently, I was looking through the work-in-progress directory of that image and the idea came about to do a sequel. My goal was to make the sequel even more visually appealing. I started by doing a sketch, shown here at the bottom of the sketchbook page.

As is usually the case with my workflow, the initial idea evolves a lot as I work on it. So what I have initially imagined may be quite different from the actual sketch, and the final artwork may also be different from the sketch. This is partly because sketching is a brief process. Thus I can draw many sketches that explore the initial idea and produce different visual variations of it in a short amount of time. Furthermore, once I start working digitally, it's easy to experiment and make big changes quickly. Thus the initial idea may end up looking very different once it has gone through the whole creative process.

blue space landscape with water like liquid and moons
Tranquil shores, space art sketches
3 May 2015 • permalink

I noticed that I rarely depict liquids that look like water in my space artwork. I'm not sure why I haven't used liquids more frequently, but I plan on including exotic liquids more often from now on.

Shown below are some space landscape sketches from my sketchbook. I may start by drawing at least several tiny sketches like the ones shown in the photo. The purpose of these is to create many different, rough ideas and then select the best one(s) for further work. These are approximately 4,5 x 3,5 cm (1.7" x 1.3") each and because they are so small they are often called thumbnail sketches. Each takes less than a minute to draw. I use a soft pencil, like 4B or 5B, as that makes the sketching flow nicely.

Once I have at least one thumbnail sketch that has good potential, I then draw a bigger version of it with more details and in color. The ones below are about 11 x 5 cm (4.3" x 2") each, and are drawn using wax based colored pencils and black ink pens. I begin by drawing the main features using a black pencil, then I ink over the black pencil drawing, and then start coloring. A sketch like that takes me between 10 to 30 minutes, or longer if I can't make up my mind about the colors. I may draw a few of such larger sketches or until I'm satisfied with at least one of them. If I like one of them enough to create a fully detailed high resolution rendering, I proceed to the digital tools.

So sketching is a brief process that leads to a rough representation of how the final image can look like. For me, sketching is also a gratifying drawing exercise because of its simplicity, visual appeal, and all the interesting ideas that sketches can lead to.

colorful abstract shapes artwork
Interwoven, canvas prints and sketching
13 April 2015 • permalink

Interwoven is a new funky addition to the abstract gallery. Another news is that most gallery images are now available as canvas prints and you can even customize each canvas print to have multiple panels. Pretty cool!

For the past couple of years I have been sketching much more. I use traditional drawing tools because they diversify the creative process and make it more fun. That way I don't have to sit in front of the computer to do the sketching and can enjoy the reliability and simplicity of traditional tools - all I need is something to draw with and paper. Such tools almost always work and are easy to get started with. So sketching is great for getting the ideas flowing. Traditional tools change very little, which encourages their use and makes it a safe investment of time and effort to learn how to use them. Thus traditional drawing tools quickly gained my trust, something which digital tools are lacking.

I find the digital art tools less trustworthy because they change a lot. Any functionality can change with an update - ending up working in a different way or producing a somewhat different result. User interface changes and so does the location of buttons or their names. Sometimes useful functionality disappears. I'm not against change, but change happening too frequently gets tiresome and discouraging - especially after many years of using multiple art programs. Thus digital art tools lost some of the appeal they used to have for me. I continue to use them because of their many advantages, but their use is now done with some reservation.

I have been creating digital pictures for over 22 years, so for me traditional sketching is an interesting way of creative expression that is exciting and stimulating. I use pencils, inks, crayons, colored pencils and any paper that is not too thin or too rough. Here are two abstract crayon sketches I did recently.

space art video
New space art video
7 April 2015 • permalink

This new video features most of my best space artwork and the music is from the latest Anosphere spacesynth album Flight to planet 5.

scifi dezert landscape with spaceships
The mission
17 December 2014 • permalink

I created this new sci-fi image using Blender and Gimp. Its been now about two years since I started using Blender and 11 months for Gimp. Overall I'm very satisfied with both tools. For my needs I can do the artwork just as well as I did with 3DSMax and Photoshop.

After years of using 3DSMax it took some time to get used to Blender, but Gimp is practically like Photoshop so there was minimal time spend on adjusting. Gimp is very stable, more stable than Photoshop and generally it feels just as fast with the exception of many filters, some of which can be quite slow. I have not done any typical 2D painting with it, just regular image editing and adding details at resolution of up to 6000 pixels wide. Although some of Gimp's functionality is a bit lacking, usually there are ways around it.

I should add that I use a 64bit Linux workstation where both tools (especially Blender) run faster compared to my 64bit Windows 7 laptop which actually has faster hardware. This goes for general use of the tools, not 3D rendering.

Finally, I have also added several new concepts to the air and spacecraft vehicles gallery. Hope you will enjoy these as well, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Recon vessel concept art
Concept gallery update
25 March 2014 • permalink

For easier browsing I have split the concept gallery into the following sections: air and spacecraft, land vehicles, buildings, exteriors, interiors, robots, and weapons. Besides that, I've been busy doing concepts of buildings and spaceships, and have added five new concepts to the gallery: Recon vessel, Patrol vessel, Intel building, Apartment building, Military HQ. Concepts like that are great fun to make and I plan on using them in one of my future sci-fi images, but I still need to make more buildings. I try to keep the geometry of each building relatively simple, so once I put them all together, the scene won't be too heavy to work with.

Solid buildings concept art
Buildings 140218
21 February 2014 • permalink

These concept buildings are part of my new project to create enough buildings for a scene that will show part of a future city. I want them to look like they could be built today or in the near future. I plan to have a good mix of skyscrapers and lower buildings of various type. I like solid looking buildings like those in this concept. The building on the left could be a government agency building and the other one a research institution.

Blue evening space landscape
Blue evening
12 February 2014 • permalink

This is my first space landscape created using the Blender & GIMP combo. Overall all went well. The only thing that bothered me a bit was that in Blender (v2.69) I was unable to adjust the amount of horizon and zenith colors visible in the image in relation to each other. There is either no way to adjust this or I couldn't find where to do it. I have fixed the colors in GIMP, but things like that should be doable in Blender. Rendering time at 5760 x 3240 on a dual core 3GHz Intel E6850 CPU, 4min 3 seconds.

As for GIMP, I'm impressed how much faster it got. In the past, my main objection against using it has been that working with high resolution images is too slow. This is no longer the case. So far it seems as fast as Photoshop. I wonder if GIMP works faster under Linux?

Sci-Fi corridor concept art
Corridor segment 131209
22 January 2014 • permalink

This Sci-Fi corridor segment shows tanks of fluorescent fuel located at the back of a spaceship. This concept ends my recent series of interior designs as I now plan on doing a few exteriors.

Another news is that I now use Linux on my graphic workstation. A few weeks ago I started thinking about buying a new workstation, mainly to speed up my 3D rendering, as the one I have now is well over 5 years old. I have a dual core 3GHz Intel E6850 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and nvidia GeForce 9600 GT gfx card with 512MB RAM.

While doing research about which CPU and gfx card to get I came across information that CPU Blender rendering is much faster under Linux. I decided to test this. I created a simple scene with various objects and applied different materials that take long to render. Additionally I set various rendering settings to further increase rendering time. After rendering that scene under 32bit Windows XP using 32bit Blender 2.69, I installed 64bit Slackware 14.1 (my favorite Linux distro) and rendered that scene again using 64bit Blender 2.69. To my amazement the Linux version of Blender rendered that scene 46% faster compared to Blender under Windows XP. This is a huge reduction in rendering time, especially if one works on images that take long to render.

Other programs also run faster under Linux and are more responsive, especially Firefox, and the desktop (I use Xfce). Because there is no Photoshop for Linux, I now use GIMP for all my 2D work and so far it works well for me. Thanks to Linux I will keep on using my current workstation for a year or two. I love efficient solutions like this one that saves time and money :)

[UPDATE: 9 Feb 2014] On the downside, the Blender GPU viewport performance is somewhat slower under Linux, even after I installed the latest nvidia drivers - which did not provide any improvements over the open source drivers.

Sci-Fi corridor wall segment concept art
Corridor wall segment 131202
6 December 2013 • permalink

I plan on making this corridor wall segment part of my future whole corridor design, but I first have to create the opposite wall, a ceiling, and a floor. I already have some ideas about the other wall and the ceiling but the floor is still in the works. It's great fun to make concepts of interior sci-fi designs like these and I already look forward to make the other parts of the corridor.

Another news is that I'm about to set up a small rendering farm using my computers at home. I calculated that my rendering time will be reduced by 60-80% by using the two other computers I have.

Sci-Fi corridor wall segment concept art
Corridor wall segment 131120
29 November 2013 • permalink

Making this Sci-fi corridor segment concept was a good way of exploring Blender's rendering options and materials. I think that materials in Blender are a bit easier to set up and work with compared to 3DS Max, but I yet have to find out how to create a material library. Rendering is pretty straightforward, just like in 3DS Max. Rendering time on my dual core 3GHz Intel E6850 CPU was little over 5 minutes at 1248x702. And I have to say, so far, Blender has been very stable and very responsive for me. The startup time is a couple of seconds and it shuts down even faster. Though to be fair, I should say that I run it under Windows XP - for speed :)

Spaceship fighter sci-fi concept
Fighter 131104
14 November 2013 • permalink

This spaceship fighter is my third concept project done recently. I started by drawing several small outlines of one wing seen from top. Then I picked the one I liked best and have drawn a bigger version with some details in it. I did the same with the cockpit, except I did the cockpit from the side. Then I did the modeling and texture mapping in Blender and added some more details in Photoshop.

Doing concepts like these is a great way of learning a new 3D program, like Blender is for me, and at the same time getting some practice in doing concepts. And I even may use this spaceship in one of my future sci-fi images. My next project is either going to be an interior or exterior environment. Perhaps a corridor or a building.

green camouflaged lightweight cannon concept art
Lightweight cannon 131022
23 October 2013 • permalink

This remotely controlled lightweight cannon is my second concept project completed in Blender. I did a basic procedural texture with some green color variations and painted the yellow camo stripes and some more detail in Photoshop. I often add more detail in Photoshop because some things are easier or quicker done in 2D. At other times I get more ideas while in 2D and don't want to go back and add things in 3D.

I'm getting more used to Blender but I read the UI might get changed soon. I just hope the changes won't be too dramatic and the shortcuts will remain the same. Anyway, my next concept project will probably be a spaceship.

Sci-Fi concept of a camouflaged reconnaissance vessel 131002
Reconnaissance vessel 131002
4 October 2013 • permalink

I have been learning Blender (a free 3D program) on and off for some months now. I can now do enough modeling to do concepts, but I still need to experiment a lot with materials and rendering. So far I have not had any major problems with Blender and I enjoy using it, and it looks like it will satisfy my needs. Nevertheless, it does take some time to get used to and learn how to do things the blender way.

This reconnaissance vessel is my first concept done in Blender and it was a good way to learn the type of 3D modeling functionality that I use a lot. Initially I wanted to do all texturing in Blender, but unfortunately there is no way to draw a straight line on the surface of a model. Hopefully such functionality will be added soon, which is essential for a lot of texture work.

Anyway, I still have a lot of learning to do and my next project is going to be either another Sci-Fi vessel or a space cannon.

blue sci-fi landscape with a spaceship
21 March 2013 • permalink

A spaceship approaching a home base on a far away planet... This image is a little bit of an experiment. I wanted to do something relatively simple without sacrificing the overall visual impression.

I noticed that as I get older I tend to appreciate simpler images more often. I wonder if this is due to the aging process, or if it's due to my growing experience as an artist and human being. Perhaps it's both.

Simpler images are quicker and easier to process visually and they probably communicate the main idea more effectively due to their simplicity. They are not necessarily easier to make, but the creative process is somewhat different. Which makes me want to experiment some more with this in my future work.

Three spaceships fly above a landscape with moons
Cyberian flight 2 - new sci-fi image
28 February 2013 • permalink

In 2010 I did the first image in this series, and I decided to do a second one as I really like the idea of spaceships flying above a terrain. I actually plan on doing more sci-fi work in the near future. I'm also experimenting with various techniques as I want to change my style a bit. In the past I did some complex and time consuming work, but now I want to simplify certain aspects of my work and at the same time make better images.

Another news is that I'm in the process of lowering my costs of operation. Because of this I decided to learn Blender, a free 3D program. Last time I used Blender must have been at least a decade ago and the program has progressed tremendously since then. So far I have only been exploring modeling and texture mapping and a little bit of rendering. There are a couple of things I can't get to work quite right and I'm not sure if that is due to a bug or me not doing things the right way. Overall, however, I really like Blender. The new user interface is great and there are shortcuts for everything. Nevertheless, after years of using 3DS Max it does take some time to get used to a somewhat different way of doing things. I don't have anything to show yet, but hopefully will have something relatively soon.

space landscape with blue fog an orange sky and two moons
One evening
11 February 2013 • permalink

A new addition to the space gallery: One evening on a planet far away. The following text is just filler, there is no need to read it. Every time I post a news item it gets send to the subscribers of my newsletter aka. email updates. Unfortunately a newsletter email must not be too short or it may be considered spam and get automatically deleted. Therefore I have to write more text for this news post because spam evaluation mechanisms will not let me send a short email to the newsletter subscribers, so I'm writing some more text. Hopefully this is enough. But just in case let me write some more.

Fantasy Artist magazine cover issue 38, October 2012
Fantasy Artist magazine
7 October 2012 • permalink

Some of my artwork is featured in the current issue of the Fantasy Artist magazine (October 2012, issue 38) in the Sci-Fi section. There is also a five step display of how I create space images. The magazine is available at newsstands but can also be purchased online.

colorful abstract art poster
New abstract art
16 April 2012 • permalink

I have just added a new piece to the abstract gallery - Reflections. I completed it early last week but first today had the time to put it online. Actually I made some minor tweaks to it today as well. I always let the artwork age for some time, and then look at it with fresh eyes days later. That way it's easy to spot things that need improvement.

abstract art
Traditional vs. digital abstract art
18 March 2012 • permalink

For the past couple of years or so I have been experimenting with acrylic painting. I'm mostly doing abstract work and eventually plan on doing space art and perhaps even sci-fi. Although I did some drawing and painting when I was a kid, for the past 19 years all my work has been digital. There are of course trade-offs to both approaches, and personally I prefer digital because I have been doing it for so long and find it far more practical.

One thing that became very apparent to me is the amount of experience I have as a digital artist. I take this for granted because I have been doing it for so long. This is especially true for techniques on how to do things. Nearly all of my digital techniques and methods of working are of no use in traditional painting. Of course the fundamental aspect of a picture are the same - composition, lighting, colors - but the actual process of getting things done is very different.

For me the process of creating digital abstract art offers many advantages over the traditional methods. There is no smell of the paint fumes and possible toxic side effects from inhalation; no paint build up on the canvas allows for endless modifications; no need to buy paint or canvases; much better and easier control of the composition and colors used; but perhaps the biggest advantage is the undo functionality that every digital art program has built in. I really missed that!

The biggest disadvantage to digital abstract art, or any digital art, is the lack of guarantee that a digitally made artwork is the only existing original. Countless and perfect copies can be made of the original artwork. Therefore there is no way to guarantee a potential buyer that he will receive the one and only original artwork. Perhaps in the future, new technologies will be developed that provide a guarantee of original.

For now I'll keep on experimenting with traditional painting methods and see where that will get me. But digital work is my primary choice and it's unlikely this will change. U3SJM5248T5E

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