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The Clouds Will Soon Roll By by BWS The Clouds Will Soon Roll By by BWS
Here's a new large image from my world of Retropolis: it's called "The Clouds Will Soon Roll By", after a song from 1932 (Woods, Dixon/Lawrence). Because that's just the sort of future it is.

I spent about six weeks on the image. It started as a rough little animatic that used the existing monorail and city models. I did this as part of a pitch I was hired to work on, for a series of station IDs meant for a renamed and relaunched satellite channel. Unlike 99% of the pitches I've ever worked on (or heard of) this one was greenlit. Amazing! A week later, the network decoded they didn't want to rebrand the channel after all. Typical!

This scene never even appeared in the final pitch, but I'd gotten sort of intersted in it and I kept working away, thinking it'd turn into a print at about 18 x 24". But it started working so well that I decided to make it even bigger, which meant that I had to up the resolution on almost all its elements, and so like I said I ended up working on it for about six weeks. Even though I have an aversion to posting works in progress I did post a few updates on this one at my blog - [link] .

There are (I think) 21 characters in this final version. We see a group debarking from the monorail - and at least one passenger about to board - while up above, a construction crew is overseeing a couple of "Big Lug" robots, and in the foreground, we've got a pleasant evening party getting started on an art deco balcony. Retropolis itself fades off into the distance and we see that what we may have always suspected about this sort of City of the Future is true - it's a terrific playground for the birds.

As always, 3DS Max and Photoshop. I used guruware's free gwIvy plugin to generate some ivy, and also a plugin called "Info Overlay" to do quick composites as I worked on the scene - it was rendered as four separate layers. Another plugin called "ZTint" proved useful, too, in a couple of ways.
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jannadann Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013
tonio48 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
Fantastic CG Art !!!!!
LustaufMeer Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
giant resistors soldered on buildings? honestly, i love that freaky stuff, reminds me of flash gordon (with buster crabbe)
El-Jorro Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012
Retropolis?...I am intrigued
ancient-warrior Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2012
A touch of Metropolis ! Awesome !
PhotoshopJedi Featured By Owner May 11, 2011
nice, I am recruiting for a new compilation book of fantasy sci fi art. I am looking for a few hundred pieces all together. If you are interested let me know

craig musselman

(ps. if I don't get back to you in 48 hours try again)
leseraphin Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011
Awesome job :D
Ariel-X Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is fatastic. Love the retro style!
RTPHARTY Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2010
Somewhere we took a wrong turn, why isn't MY life like this?.
TeeVee lied to me...
SkyColossus Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing detail, great design, like how it is so colourful. This will feed my inspiration on my own project, I thank you.
Sanaryelle Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2010
This is just too cool. The birds are a great touch, and I dig those stripey pants.

What would robots drink? Motor oil? Battery acid? Doesn't matter, as long as it's in stemmed glasses!
Asmodeus88 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2010
KeystoneMan Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
Love the style, the world...
Naitachial Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2010  Professional Photographer
Really great work - I love the feelings it makes. really looks like future and show the emotial worlds that they had in the 30s when they think at it.
Neurovore Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2010
What about nuclear energy? I know that nuclear fission (Even fusion for that matter was theorized about and well-known back then but everybody was at a loss on how to actually make a self-sustaining reaction out of it and still are) for electricity generation was theorized about during the mid-40's and they quickly got around to building nuclear powerplants during the early 50's...I do not think that it would be too out of place to have your various trains, water vessels, large vehicles and even rockets run on some sort of nuclear technology.
BWS Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Fission reactors were theorized in the period, but referring to them creates exactly the wrong associations in the viewer because we know enough about the waste problem. If I had to pick a nuclear power source for Retropolis I'd go with fusion.

Where power's concerned, though, I tend toward technologies that we need to be thinking about in the future we actually live in. You can make that case for fission, but like I said, the emotional result is completely wrong.
Neurovore Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2010
I see. Keep working on your project, as I am impressed about what I see so far. I have always liked how the art design of the 30's made even simple household appliances a stunning synthesis of form and style. Contrast that with many things now that have the same sort of generic white or black plastic boxy appearance. Sorry for the post dumps but I get enthusiastic about things easily.

(As an aside, not all fission reactors are created equal. You might want to take a look at a reactor design called a liquid fluoride thorium reactor. It used thorium as fuel rather than uranium

Neurovore Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2010
I have to ask...

I know that you have been working on this "Art Deco" world of yours for some time, but is it a world that is based on the technology that was available during the 1930's, early 1940's with the same style, or is it technologically advanced future with computers, nuclear technology, etc. wrapped in a 1930's asthetic? Honestly, I think the latter would be even more impressive than the former as I have been trying to imagine what the world would be like in the future that never abandoned the art deco art style direction but refined it even more and was miles beyond us from a technological standpoint.
BWS Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I've never felt comfortable adding technology that hadn't been imagined after, say, the 1940's - though that does cover a lot of ground. But every now and then there'll be something like a space elevator: I'm still not sure when that was originally proposed but I'm interested in that, or in other ideas for getting in and out of orbit while moving slowly.

And I've never put a recognizable computer in Retropolis, except inasmuch as we have to assume that the robots have computer-like brains. But anything like a computer ought to still be running on vacuum tubes. No microprocessors!
Hindorf Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2009  Student Artisan Crafter
:wow: amazing!
dystopia-in-blue Featured By Owner May 31, 2009
I love the detailing on this - nothing's missed out. Really good. :)
ChazKemp Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
This is brilliant! Very very well done - it'll take me 6 weeks just to look through all the awesome detail!
NKVGBD Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2008
Featured here :[link] :)
sevenofeleven Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2008
Well done.
IgnisFerroque Featured By Owner May 15, 2008   Digital Artist
The frame is probably a bit huge, but the picture itself is great, nice colors and modelling :+fav:
jon1963 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2008  Professional Artist
This is the world as you think it should be...the 30's at taken to that future look we're told was coming. This look and the 30's feel would make a great game or even a movie. I know ..I...I would watch Has a feeling of wonderment and it. I give you many pats to the Benny Hill, friend....job well done....:)
porkshanks Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Professional General Artist
you have such an eye for dieselpunk! I really love your work :)

LOL, one of my friends linked me your T shirts for sale and I bought one last week, so I wanted to stop in a see what else you've been up to... simply stunning how your vision is coming along!

Like the others, I wish I could move to Retropolis post haste.
BWS Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
You know, I wondered if that was you; the sales report just said "Molly F from Seattle", and though there's probably more than one, I had this feeling . I expect you'll rip the sleeves off and mod it into something more your style :).

I've got a back-burner thing going with an airship and I'm thinking I might do a Steamier variation on it eventually. Though what I'm discovering about airships is that there are relatively few compositions that really work well with them. Curious. One way or another, anyhow, I think I may have a couple more of these in me before I try to harness myself back to the big impossible project.
porkshanks Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008  Professional General Artist
I just think your creative vision is astounding in clarity and depth, and the project you are undertaking is beautiful!
OmriKoresh Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2008  Professional General Artist
i loved the way it's designed.. still robotic and industrial but yet it feels humane and pleasant

reminds me somewhat of bioshock.

what does that woman with the turquoise ass is doing?

but i do think that it's frame is quite disturbing.. it looks just a bit too much and distracts from the detailed and pretty image.
Trynnie Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
This IS incredible. I stunned with my mouth opened and watched this scene. Amazing.
BWS Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Hera-of-Stockholm Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2008
You're featured here [link]
kidjet Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2008
awesome futuristic city :)
BigFatTexta Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Love it. you got the feel of your world well and truly nailed.
OutlawStudios Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
as usual a beautiful piece
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2008
You did it again, Brad.
wendyf Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2008
This is just fabulous, I really enjoy all the details in your pictures. Fantastic stuff!!
theRealJohnnyCanuck Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2008
Really terrific piece. Incredible details and a beautiful overall look. Alwys a pleasure to see your posts.

lennan Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2008
Whoa, mega detail. =O
Ellygator Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Love the amazing detail and how lived-in and believable it all looks.
severedscythe Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my god that's gorgeous. I only just got started in animation and I can only IMAGINE the amount of effort and time spent on this. <3 I really, really love that train.
pupasoul Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Love it! :)
Fredy3D Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008   Digital Artist
Oh wow!!! What a magnificent scene! Excellent work!!! Detail overkill! I loooooooove it!
DesignsByEve Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008
Stunning scene! Lots of little details to lose yourself in, but the overall look is super impressive on its own :)
BWS Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
I think one of the main problems when you're doing something this size is to make sure it works both from across the room and from a couple of inches away. So the deeper you go, the more you find when you get there.

One of the weirdest painters of all time was Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Once he ordered an engraving block and took it back to the printer because it was 1/16" too narrow. The printer said something like "Um, okay, sir, but it IS just a sixteenth of an inch", and Rossetti fired back "I could have fit a whole city in there!"
DesignsByEve Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008
Well I'd say you definitely nailed both with this one ;)
Bloodredsangre Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
This image was included in The Best in 3D Manipulations #3 Week of March 1 - 9


Congratulations! It is my hope that this feature opens up your amazing artwork to many new watchers!

Have a great day!
BWS Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Wow, thanks!
cogwurx Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Fantastic. This is a very lively scene.
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Submitted on
March 8, 2008
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