Jakub Rozalski Analysis

I love this guy's work - it totally reminds me of the style of the great Russian painters like Ivan Shishkin, but digital and sci-fi.

The painting.

The painting.

Oh yeah!  I believe this is a book cover, but the framing and composition would totally work as a keyframe painting.  There's a LOT going on here.  Overall, his foreground is quite saturated, moreso than many sci-fi painters these days, but it quickly fades back into atmospheric perspective, with the strokes getting looser and softer rapidly.  To me, there are two main human points of interest, the guy in white and the woman in the red skirt.  After that, the background robot, which is pretty ballsy given how loose and impressionist it is.  I love that he hasn't used any rim lighting tricks to amp up the energy!  In fact, the lighting scenario is very flat overall.

2 value read

2 value read

The two value analysis supports my triad of subject matter theory.  Everything else pretty much disappears into one blob, but the guy, the mech and the woman all stand out.

3 values

3 values

Here we see that the man and the woman are almost "flipped" in in tonal range, but both are about the same level of contrast to the mid grey.  The mech has less, but is starkly silhouetted by the sky.  The other characters are starting to appear.

4 values

4 values

Unsurprisingly given how painterly this is, 4 values is almost exactly the same as the full greyscale.  

The foreground ladies

The foreground ladies

The foreground as I said is quite bright and saturated in comparison to the rest of the image.  When you zoom in, you see that it is still quite loose and fresh.  Strokes are obvious, and while there was some opacity used in the brushes, most are quite opaque.  The lighting is very flat, with very subtle highlights.  I love that he didn't render out the faces at all.

The man in white

The man in white

He is looser than the women, and has less saturation, but more tonal range.  There is basically no rendering of materials, just shadow forms.  Like the women, the strokes are very textured.  Lost edges are created via texture, not tonal change.

mid-ground mech

mid-ground mech

Mostly just silhouette, the mid-ground mecha was painted with less textural brushes to push it back into the painting.  The tonal range is also small, and the chroma is basically just cool greys except for a hit of red on the insignia.

The background mech

The background mech

Soft strokes and a fog layer push this back and remove all sense of detail.  Even the silhouette is pretty messy.  What makes it pop is the design choice of its size and location against the sky backdrop.

 

Learnings:

  • Intelligent use of saturation is fine.  Don't be afraid of it in an attempt to match Hollywood colour-grading.
  • Texture is used in the foreground, and then simple brushes as things recede.
  • Don't spend time rendering things that aren't important.
  • Good design can bring something into "importance" even if it is not sharp or high in contrast.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!  You can find more of Jakub's work here