CthulhuCon 2015 – Poster Art

Aside

For the last few years I’ve been attending the Lovecraft Film Festival here in Portland and have wanted to contribute my art to their campaign, whether it be poster art, or something else they could use to promote the festival. During the first year I had my piece, “The Innsmouth Look” shown on the big screen along with dozens of others’ art – and while that was pretty cool I definitely had my sights set higher.

So, I approached the organizer, offered my services and was given the opportunity to create the poster art for CthulhuCon 2015! I started by creating some mockups, or quick sketches to get an overall direction.

The sketches were created in Sketchbook Pro, and after the direction was figured out I went right into modeling Cthulhu in Zbrush periodically rendering out tests to figure out composition.

render_test_02

I then created a preliminary render test, adding colors and the background to get a better idea of the end result. This is where I ended up after about 2 hours of work. I really like how turned out, the atmosphere is foreboding and the subsurface scattering while wildly excessive turned out great. This initial test was low resolution and not print quality, so I rendered everything out again…

cthulhu_passes

 

Like my previous illustrations I rendered out various passes using Zbrush’s BPR render feature then layered the passes in photoshop using a variety of blending modes. The color was added in Photoshop, as well as the background (from NASA photography) and effects. Finally, I added a little chromatic aberration to create an other worldly feeling.

cthulhu_stephenkick

Here is the final poster! My work was also featured in an article for Oregon Live!

cthulhucon_poster

The Innsmouth Look

I recently re-read many of H.P Lovecraft’s more famous works and after visiting, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” I was inspired to create a portraiture of someone showing the later stages of their transformation. This is the result:

Click here to view the high resolution image

Zbrush, Maya, and Photoshop were my weapons of choice. I created the base head using zspheres and all the other accessories started as cubes in Maya. I used the GoZ feature to quickly get them in the scene in the correct scale to the head.  Here are some early wip (work in progress) shots that show a bit of my process

Innsmouth WIP 01

early stage of sculpting

Innsmouth Look WIP 02

defining the major details

Innsmouth Look WIP 04

polypainting progress

I decided to go for a still image so I didn’t have to worry about poly count and I could just let myself have fun without worrying about technical constraints. I also decided to try a new method of rendering out multiple passes and layering them in photoshop. This allowed me to tweak them individually which gave me an amazing amount of control over the final image.

I also modeled some addition props such as a brooch, and a pendant, but unfortunately I didn’t feel like they added anything so I left them out. They are supposed to resemble some of the strange golden jewelry the citizens of Innsmouth would receive from Dagon and his Deep Ones.

Here is a brief tutorial I put together on how I achieved the final results.