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Home E Project E The Magnificent Main City of Alatia, Number 1 in the Galaxy

The Magnificent Main City of Alatia, Number 1 in the Galaxy

by | Jun 3, 2021

This concept art representation of a city environment is actually the main city of Alatia, where we live. Hi, this is Jara Mabey telling you about my homeworld, also called Alatia, and my city. It is a subterranean city. I had to do this project for my survival training so I might as well share my findings with you.

Yes, we live underground in Alatia. I have not been to the surface, but no young one, under 20 can do so. You need 6 years of training and I am in my 4th, not enough. It is barren, but full of danger, both alive and no so much! And you need a lot of knowledge for survival there.

Mr. Vargas, which some say is a human (but I don’t belive it), started the sketches in traditional form, with pencil and paper. At lease that is what we are told and taught in Alatia. If you asked me, I would imagine that you had to be an Alatian Engineer for that, but hey!

He then scanned those sketches (multiple ones) and started working on Photoshop – I don’t know what that is, but seems to be a drawing tool or something. Later the file was transfered to the iPad and Procreate was used, again, no idea what are those. But I read this on a historical document at school: “The iPad, and for that matter the Surface and Android tablets have made mobility impressive. Very affordable for professional artists.” What are those? I wonder. It continues; “But most still have to be used with proprietary software. Open source is still not very well supported, and the iPad cannot even run Krita, our current main workhorse!” I wonder who wrote that quote. But, never mind.

The document contines with “But the fact that we can connect the iPad now to the Mac” That sounds like a robot or machine! “…and use it as a Cintiq, which we have in the studio, is an amazing technology. It means that now we have a mobile studio and a static studio where the workflow is not interrupted.” What is that about a studio? Anyone knows? Oh, well.

Location Board illustrating the Main City of Alatia for the film Traces Retraced.

The Process of the Concept Design for the Main City

So, in my research for school, I found out that the process started with unrecognizable sketches. That is, “unrecognizable by other’s standards” they said. “The artist looks for composition at this stage and use colors to balance the work.” They sound serious.

They explain that some times this stage takes minutes. Other times it takes days. “But it is a fun and necessary phase on concept artwork.” If you say so!

As you can see on the sketches, many ideas were explored. Color combinations for main sections of the city or cities were used to test importance and points of view.

The first sketch in this series gave Mr. Vargas an idea of a cave. That was not the initial option, according to the documents I found. That is an idea born from the sketches phase. On the second image you can see more relevance of how to make an expanse for the city sections. The fortshortening of columns to the left of the view to emphasise distance. On the third sketch you can see the process of separation of sections by colors and importance of line weight. The rest of the sketches are the color experimentations.

After working on regular paper and pencil media the sketches of the main city ended as scanned files on the computer. I read on the historical documents that many new artists — I guess they mean back then — “do not scan, they just work directly on the computer because technology has made it easy to use tables with stylus, digital pens, and many other tools that feel close to the traditional media of pencil or even brushes.” I would love to have seen those computers, sounds like fun!

“There is nothing wrong with etiher approach” — they continued — “and it is up to the artist in question to make that desicion. Here at Daca Daguao, Mr. Vargas gives the artists freedom to use their own prefered method. As long as the job is done, he ‘[do] not care of form, just get it done.'”

Here, on the second image of this series, you can see the start of the tracing of the scanned art and some shading of areas. Once it was digital, Mr. Vargas used Sketchbook Pro to organize the lines and make some precision marks. This historical document is a bit confusing but hey, seems that the birth of my city was quite interesting.


On these images, you can see work with contrast, textures, and clarifying outlines that will most likely be gone on the last step, but that help to finalize the overall look of the main city of Alatia. These guys knew what they were doing. I mean, this was mostly Mr. Vargas, but the file says they all had similar skills.

I read on the historical file that once Mr. Vargas was satisfied with what he saw, he then would get busy with color palettes. Still, on this ocasion, “this one was to be muddy, and obscure.” What was he thinking? My city is one of the brightest in the known universe. This I do not like. If they were still alive I would complain.

Any way, it is quite impressive the process they followed back on the “studio” they keep calling Daca Daguao on these files of history.

So, in Mr. Vargas own words, found on the historical document of the city; “First I set all dark and light, then refined lines and blocked some with colors and shapes. Fixed highlights and set blues on shadows. Then added the extra colors without overwhelming the muddy tone.”

Again with that muddy stuff. Gosh!

The file continues to tell us how the studio took Mr. Vargas sketches and final concept art, the last image on this series, and ran with it to make the city. I guess that this studio they keep mentioning most be architecs and civil engineers because it makes no sense that anyone else would be the ones creating my beloved city!

Any way, this was the process the files I found on the library state as the method that the main city of Alatia was created and built. I will be back with more if I find more documents. I heard there are videos somewhere, where you can see them working on the city with a tool called Blender. I don’t know what that is, but hey, looking forward to find out. See you later!

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