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Daily Deviation
Daily Deviation
October 14, 2017
Shai-Hulud and the God Emperor by ErikShoemaker features an epic sense of scale
Featured by TsaoShin
Suggested by cosmicbound
ErikShoemaker's avatar

Shai-Hulud and the God Emperor

EDIT 10/14/17: WOW, I had always hoped for a DD on this, but didn't think I'd get it after all this time lol. Thanks so much to cosmicbound for suggesting and TsaoShin for featuring it!
Unfortunately I still haven't gotten around to fixing the 'thopters' and adjusting the worm design. Here's an alternate version that might please the die-hard Dune fans a bit more :)

God Emperor Leto II by ErikShoemaker

My tribute to the inspiring scifi saga 'Dune' created by Frank Herbert. This is a fictional setting not depicting any specific scene from the books. The foreground shows one of my favorite and for me most inspiring characters of the series, the God Emperor Leto II.

Creating the worm turned out to be a really challenging exercise. I went through so many stages, completely overhauling the worm's design several times with new textures and poses. My first idea was to use a caterpillar as a reference, which turned out to be horrible. I even considered a seashell in between. Can you guess the reference animals of the final version? It's a mix of three if you count the teeth as well. ;)

Stock credits:
model: vishstudio
Lunar Force by vishstudio
Grinmir-stock | FairieGoodMother | GloomWriter | darkrose42-stock | Parides | AJK-Original-Stock | naradjou14 | demontroll | 

Thanks a lot for stopping by! ;)

© Erik Schumacher
This is no stock image, so don't use, copy or manipulate the original artwork without my written permission. 
Visit my website:
Image details
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juniejunie's avatar

So good 😍 ----- Hey! My name is Juniper. This little bit of text just appears on all my comments. I'm a queer artist in Scotland, really looking to find a lovely creative community here on dA: if you check out my work and think it's cool then I'd love to be friends 🥰🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ Thanks for reading!

ErikShoemaker's avatar
MviluUatusun's avatar

If you re-read the stories, the worm is, basically, described in very generic terms. Other than size and the plates on its body, there is virtually no description of them other than their size. (I just finished reading the original trilogy.)

ErikShoemaker's avatar

It's been a while since I read the books and created this scene but what I remember is that the worm was usually depicted in the media (book covers, movies, TV series) as having a flower-shaped mouth. I didn't know of these depictions when I made my own work though so it turned out like this lol. I think this is why a lot of people complained about the worm back then.

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to the movie and also considering re-reading the original books! Thanks for your comment :)

MviluUatusun's avatar

You're welcome. Frank's son, Brian, has written numerous books based on the Dune universe, including a prequel trilogy, House Atreides, House Harkonnen, and House Carino. Those three are pretty good, too, even if very little of those stories take place on Arrakis.

As for your depiction of the worm and everyone's reaction to it, that's about normal. If someone has seen a movie based on a book and you tell them where the movie got it wrong, they'll go ballistic and tell you that you don't know what you're talking about. A good example, to me, is the "John Carter" movie which is based loosely, LOOSELY, on the Edgar Rice Burroughs book, "A Princess of Mars". When I told everyone about all the changes that Disney made, they tried to tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about even though I've read those books a minimum of 15 times each.

What are they doing to the sand worm in the background?

ErikShoemaker's avatar

spraying water on it :)

MviluUatusun's avatar

Because water kills the worms of Dune. If they are attempting to capture the worm, they are going about it the wrong way. The best way was shown in the ScyFy channel's version of the story (a scene never described in the books by the way). Entice the worm past a dry qanat and then fill it with water. The worm can't cross the water because it's poisonous to them.

thank you for the info

MviluUatusun's avatar

You're welcome. If I hadn't just finished the original trilogy, I probably wouldn't have been able to give you what I did.

ErikShoemaker's avatar

It's been a while since I read the Dune series but the sandworms were described as extremely weak to water in the story. So the people here are spraying water on the beast in their attempt to tame/kill it.

thank you for telling me

JamWisme's avatar

wow you reall ygot deep deatiled critics on this (and other works). This must make you very proud and hyppy, this is so worthy, much more than just "awsoem work, great stuff" and so on. But cmon, this piece is a great scifi action picture with some reall ycool texture work. I dont give it a ten, but a solid 7 for the execution and an extra point for the worm. This one was tough i guess. I like it alot and is put to favourite!

ErikShoemaker's avatar

Yeah for sure it is nice to get comments beyond "awesome" and "nice". Although works like these also attract many entitled fans who don't like it one bit when someone strays away from their favorite original material (been there myself with Game of Thrones :D). I stopped counting how many complained that I used a Helicopter instead of the Ornithopter described in the book. As mentioned in the image description I addressed some of the concerns a few years later in the portrait format picture. Thanks a lot for the fave too!

kwijiboenator's avatar
:star::star::star::star: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star: Vision
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star: Technique
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Impact

Narrative is one thing, framing is another.

What I love about this piece is that it has been framed to give a sense of the impressive scale of this giant creature - perhaps it could play on the scale a little more - although it's nice to see the artist taking framing seriously.

With that being said, you might be thinking that the frame is a little wide - it isn't. It's angled upwards for sense of scale, and it is wide so that you can see the ground, and can use the characters standing or walking in the sand under the creature just to emphasize the scale a little further.

What else makes this picture amazing is the use of compelling and photo-real textures in the sand, rocks, the creature's scales, and of course, the clouds.
catafest's avatar
I don't like :
1. the Stillsuit dune costume (because it does not look like a life-saving outfit) ;
2. the crowbar (nonsensical) in the story of Dune;
3. is Ornithopter  not helicopter
4. clouds on Dune from where ? is just dew morning . 

Anyway . Good idea to revive a page from a book that won a science fiction award.
MviluUatusun's avatar

I know this is almost 4 years after you're original comment but, since I just finished reading the original trilogy again, please allow me to address your concerns.

1-The stillsuit you're seeing isn't a stillsuit. At the time implied here, Leto II is wearing "skin that is not my own". What he's got on is a skin of sand trouts. They protect him from the burning rays of the sun and prevent water evaporation from this body because they surround any water they find due to the fact that water is poisonous to worms.

2-The "crowbar" is a maker hook. It's used to expose the muscle below the scales of the worm causing the worm to roll away from the abrasive sand that would cause injury and pain to the worm. In so doing, the worm would pull the person holding the maker hook up and away from the sand where the person could ride the worm in relative safety.

3-You are quite right about the helicopter. Although Frank Herbert wasn't overly detailed in his description of the ornithopter, he does mention that they have wings that, occasionally at least, flap.

4-Clouds at the time of Leto II are a common sight on Dune much to the chagrin of Leto and the Fremen. At this time, Dune is slowly becoming more habitable to humans and less and less habitable to worms. Near the end of "Children of Dune", Leto himself says that the worms are going to go extinct and there's nothing that can be done about it.

ErikShoemaker's avatar

This is kind of late (3 years!) because I only saw this comment now :)

It is not a Stillsuit actually. The character only makes sense if you've read at least the third book of the series, which is what I'm referring to. Regarding the other aspects - yup, a lot of people have mentioned them and I will adress it whenever I get the chance to fix it.

kwijiboenator's avatar
The clouds are in the sky, not on the dunes.
ErikShoemaker's avatar
thank you for the critique and appreciateing the composition! I'm glad you like it :)
kwijiboenator's avatar
I don't just like it - I love it.
mgafm's avatar
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Impact

The piece overall is beautifully rendered and laid out, but could be improved with some small tweaks.

The scale doesn't seem quite right. The helicopter nearest the camera seems too small as compared with the body of the figure. The rocks by the figure are rendered extremely sharply, with high contrast, which draws the eye out of the edge of the frame. The shadows in these rocks seem to be going in a different direction than that of the main figure and the creature. All of the shadows are pretty soft within the landscapes, which makes the harsh shadows feel awkward.

Likewise, because everything is in focus, there's no sense of distance. A little more aerial diffusion and some cheating to blur a little bit of the details in the less relevant areas of frame (including the sky) would make it look more realistic.

Finally the horizon is dutch, which makes it look like everything is falling to the left slightly. Because you've got good weight on either end of the frame, the image would probably be well served by just slightly rotating it.
ErikShoemaker's avatar
Thanks for the great critique, it's really helpful!
I tilted the frame intentionally at the end to make the scene more dynamic. The equal weight on the ends as you pointed out, bothered me a little actually.
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