Thursday, 17 May 2018

Kyla: The Hunting of the Snake


The title of this piece, The Hunting of the Snake, is a horribly bad pun. I got the idea from Lewis Carrol's poem The hunting of the Snark.

There are many different interpretations of the poem. Lewis Carrol was once asked if it was an allegory for the search for happiness, and he wrote in a letter that it was.

I have always been fascinated by the last two verses:

 They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
   Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
   Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
   In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away—
   For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

Happiness is a Snark. We hunt for it, but when we catch it, it may well turn out to be a Boojum.

Well, unlike the Baker, at least most of the time, we can survive the Boojum, and live to hunt another Snark. Some of us even find it.

In case you wonder, I made the picture first, and came up with the title, and thus also the interpretation, afterwards.

I suppose, it is a case of cause following effect.

Technically, I created the original picture in Daz Studio.


I used three lights for this picture:
  • The default DAZ HDRI environment, set at 0.3 strength. This gave me a basic low level ambient lighting. The level you can see in the background.
  • A spotlight with 10x10 m area, placed 10 m straight above Kyla and the Constrictor. This gave me a fair amount of light on the trees beyond the large fallen one, and brightened Kyla and the constrictor a bit.
  • A smaller spotlight, 5x5 m, 8 m up, with a more narrow beam of light, focused on Kyla and the constrictor.
The end result is that the further away you get from Kyla and the snake, the darker the picture becomes. Some of my recent pictures have had to flat lighting, and I wanted to fix that.

I painted the picture using Dynamic Auto-Painter.

Here is the first version. I wasn't quite happy with it. I think you can see why:


In this version, the background trees are almost obliterated by the muddy, brown underpaint. I had decided to leave reduce the detail in the background, but the DAP default was a bit too much.

Simple solution: I did a bit of post brushwork in DAP. The reason I mention it, is because if you do the same, do set the opacity of the brush down a bit. The postprocessing brushes have higher default opacity than the same brush used while DAP is autopainting. This can trick you into making postprocessing effects too strong.