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Frayed Lands
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Frayed Lands

A wiry living alien network dominates the remains of an ancient civilization.

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Update - 6 May 2021

Frayed Knot

A mysterious and ruinous history emerges from the ground upon which the celestial castaways stand.

"Whatever these giant spaghetti things are, it looks like they completely tore open any structures that were sitting around before them. Say, you feel as're being watched?"

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Update - 18 Apr 2021

Chip Off The Old Block

The composition of the key shot is pretty much finalized, and I have begun creating and importing the first pass of the models and materials for the scene, replacing the block-out. My top priority is to fill this primary view, and the plan going forward is to adjust and further develop the surrounding area into a set that can be captured from several additional angles.

ZBrush sculpt | Blender retopo | Substance Painter mat

The Oasis Zone

I've been doing more sketching of shapes and forms for the foliage that will take up the majority of this piece of the Frayed Lands.

This particular area our temporal travelers have come across is lively with flora and Fray activity. Beyond the Fray Tree, there are also Fray Supercells in the vicinity: large Fray Nodes that host a great amount of strands. However, further out into the distance, the density of life withers, leaving only rock formations upon barren, abandoned ground.

Update - 2 Apr 2021

Enter the Fray

From the start I decided that my concept would be primarily informed by a central intelligent lifeform, and express that species' history and reign over this planet, while presenting our adrift explorers a vast unknown. I am an environment artist and prop modeler, and want to use this contest to delve deep into those skills, so I limited myself to avoid humanoid, anthropomorphic, or complex creature shapes for the alien life.

"Frays" are an intelligent living network, often found twisting into tree-like shapes, extending mysterious nodes into the sky. Many of their strands, however, meet incomplete tangly ends. I imagine that the stranded travelers would bestow the name upon these strange tendrils.

I was inspired by the interlocking and wayward paths of rope and wire. Wire specifically is able to carry pulses and data, which led me to concept Frays combining into nervous systems which at first glance appear to be the tallest trees around.

There's more to the Frays' story, and subsequently, the context of this world, that I'll share in future posts.

A Total Block-out

As I experimented with some compositions and camera angles, I noticed that I began boxing myself in to an almost extreme focus on the main Frays "tree" and the surrounding ruins. This left little room to express a feeling of vastness. Taking a step back and pulling the camera further out allowed me to start getting closer to the image in my head:

While the central blocked tree is intended to be a Frays system, the remaining trees will likely become types of flora, and are used for size reference.

Somebody Call The Ref

Concurrent to my block-out and concept sketches, I started compiling my reference board, with entries ranging from direct object images, to games and artists that I wanted to pull from stylistically. I'm still adding more each day.