Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Radio Times by BWS Radio Times by BWS
We guys tend to hunch over things and grunt at each other. It's wired in; once upon a time it might have been "Check out sophisticated flaking technique on stone axe of Gronk!"

Lately it's been guys bending over engine compartments and nodding to each other, pretending that an automobile engine is still something you can understand by looking at it.

It's a bonding thing.

Someday, in the Future That Never Was, it'll be exactly the same.
That's why we see Rusty the Robot failing to find the right instructions in his Ray-O-Zap Broadcast Tower Manual, while Henry looks sagely over his shoulder, and everyone is wondering why it doesn't work, and nobody really minds.

I blame the manual. It claims the proud owner will be "Broadcasting in Twenty Seven Minutes!" which sounds a bit dodgy to me, and I bet they said that just to make the Proud Owner figure it's somehow his fault. As always, there is no customer service number, and this is all happening late on a Friday.

This picture's title is taken from a great old tune performed by Henry Hall & the BBC Dance Orchestra in 1934, which was one of the best years we've had for dreaming about the future. In fact our nearest spaceman in this picture is named after Henry Hall. Which just goes to show, uh, something. I'll figure that out in a minute.

As always with these, I rendered the original image in 3D Studio Max and then retouched and modified it in Adobe Photoshop. This was an unusually difficult image to render for reasons you don't really care about, involving lots of memory, unstable displacement maps, and four computers. Just pretend you're listening, at this point; I won't notice. But it all worked out in the end.
Add a Comment:
OutlawStudios Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
I like all your pieces but I love this one its really well concieved for the guys
kilby808 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2006
OMG! Your work is just truly amazing... wow...
Just inspiring stuff, excellent, your style is so :-? Modern/Dan Dare/Flash Gorden/Celtic... I dont no? Uneak. :worship: :D
drawerx Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2005
Another beautyful work, your artwork its really impresive, thanks for sharing it :)
Oh and certanly your website its also really great.

:clap: Happy hollidays.
Eolhin Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2005   General Artist
Very cool image. I notice you left it to the robot to try to read the instructions, as male humans tend to try everything else first. :) I bet you somewhere in microscopic fine print at the back, in a foreign language, it says that the tower only works line of sight, and so they shouldn't have constructed it in the canyon. Or something like that.

Really nice spiral stairs and rock formation. Your work recaptures the feel of those old sci-fi magazine and comic book covers like nothing else I have seen, yet at the same time, the rendering makes the images more realistic then those old drawings. It is a great style, the way you revive the pasts view of the future that never was. :)

It reminds me of the old Doctor Who episodes as well.
dragonmun Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2005  Professional General Artist
The picture is incredible, but the comment to go with it is what I fell in love with. It just made the picture mean so much more for me... and it made me laugh greatly.

Awesome work on both. An instant fav.
LaHorde Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2005   Writer
Very nice picture. Colors, composition, ideas, all gice the feeling of the SciFi golden-age !
Rickbw1 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2005

VERY GOOD :thumbsup:
cogwurx Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2005  Professional Interface Designer
Beautiful scene! I can totally relate.
Centercore Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2005
Without the description this wouldnt really make as much sense to me, but there is a description so good work nice inspirtation behind it.
Champoi Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2005
Dude, it sounds like you need a PowerMac Quad processor with 16GB of RAM. That'll help you out with that rendering! (if you have 11000 for the RAM alone!!!)

This is really cool. I haven't seen you in a minute and was hoping you didn't fall off the face of the earth or anything. Good to see your still ranking out wonderful retro-future chic pics (that's a mouthful!)
BWS Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
Well, that wouldn't help me one heck of a lot, since my software doesn't run on a Mac. :). But I wouldn't turn down a quad Opteron or Xeon, if you've got one of those lying around!

I had a lot to do late this year outside the retro future, but it looks like I'm back now. Working on more rockets at the moment.
Champoi Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2005
Oh, darn!

In any case, I'm glad you're back in the game!
foxvox Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2005
Fantastic! Your story-telling is as wonderful as your art!!

SkyWookiee Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome... and I've been thinking of retrofuture too.
willb Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005   General Artist
Fantastic work, I love this, the detail and especially the info you have shared with us about making it. Thanks.
mindofka Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005
It really worked out, beautiful narrative piece, love always your retro sci-fi style :heart:
transmissio Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005
Tres Fantastique!! Classic Sci-fi goodness (!) and now the secret's out. Wink, nudge, say no more, eh?
Really, outstanding.
horai Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005
Truly awsome man, another great alternative future pic. They so remind me of some of my early science fiction books from E.E Doc Smith and his lensmen series. :D
AdamDPalmer Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005
utterly superb work, and yes, I am interested in all the nerdy technical details if you should be so generous as to post a tutorial or something like that. Of course, all in good time.
BWS Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
Most of the interesting technical stuff has to do with the terrain, and actually the best thing I could do on that one is to point you at a tutorial by Peter Asberg that I read early this year - [link] - which gave me a lot to think about, especially about using vertex colors as a mask, and about displacement mapping.

The only thing I added to that was first, using the excellent Ground Crew procedural textures on the terrain - in displacement and the other channels - and I also did a trick with generating the vertex colors I wanted to use as a mask for teh terrain textures. Notice how there's one sort of sandy, dusty surface on the horizontal bits of terrian, and then the rocky cliff face texture on the more vertical bits; then they blend together on inclines. I set that up by placing a light above the terrain model and baking that lighting into the vertex colors. The light lit the flat surfaces, but not the vertical ones, and that gave me a pretty great vertex color mask that I only needed to tweak slightly to get what I wanted.

This is almost exactly the same terrain I used in my "Warrior Tools" contest entry. This picture got its start because you could see so little of the terrain in that picture, and there was some really great stuff out of the frame :).

Where things start to get unstable seems to be in using Mix maps in displacement; very handy - in fact, brilliant - but adding more than one is really asking for trouble, at least sometimes. I've started to think that Max is trying to allocate a lot of *contiguous* memory for those composited maps. That's the only way I can explain how it may just bomb out when there seems to be enough RAM available. Anyway, by the time the scene was really shaping up, the only way I could render it was as a network rendering project even though I'd be rendering it on my main machine anyhow.

And naturally enough it got more difficult when I wanted to render the final scene on three other machines with less RAM. Fotunately the trees and boxes in the foreground don't really interact with the other elements, so I was able to render them separately, and I used a low res environment map for the sky at render time. I saved the frame out as a TGA, so the sky area ended up completely transparent, and then I was able to composite it into the image in Photoshop.
Eolhin Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2005   General Artist
Nice to hear the details. :) Unfortunately, my poor computer is lucky to be able to manage the large photographs I want to manipulate in photoshop. I fear anything more then the most basic 3D rendering would be beyond it.
AdamDPalmer Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005
Thanks so much, I may one day understand that...

...haha, no I am facinated by procedural textures actually and the technics of texture mapping...amazing how edwin catmull and others got started developing this stuff and awesome how anyone has access to it today. That's a really creative idea to use a render of the lighting to generate a mask that creates variety in the terrain, I really appreciate the tutorial.

I love your world and can't wait to see more.
Inakan Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2005
Wow... great job!
Add a Comment:
  • Photo
Download JPG 615 × 820


Submitted on
December 16, 2005
Image Size
197 KB


77 (who?)