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The Great Race of Yith by GregStevens The Great Race of Yith by GregStevens
The Great Race of Yith is first described by H. P. Lovecraft in his short story "The Shadow Out of Time" (1936). They are an intellectual race that collects and archives information about other races through the entirety of time and the universe. They have vast tomes of data..... in the form of BOOKS about every race in the history of the universe!

From the story:

They seemed to be enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter. From their apexes projected four flexible, cylindrical members, each a foot thick, and of a ridgy substance like that of the cones themselves.

These members were sometimes contracted almost to nothing, and sometimes extended to any distance up to about ten feet. Terminating two of them were enormous claws or nippers. At the end of a third were four red, trumpet-like appendages. The fourth terminated in an irregular yellowish globe some two feet in diameter and having three great dark eyes ranged along its central circumference.

Surmounting this head were four slender grey stalks bearing flower-like appendages, whilst from its nether side dangled eight greenish antennae or tentacles. The great base of the central cone was fringed with a rubbery, grey substance which moved the whole entity through expansion and contraction.

Their actions, though harmless, horrified me even more than their appearance - for it is not wholesome to watch monstrous objects doing what one had known only human beings to do. These objects moved intelligently about the great rooms, getting books from the shelves and taking them to the great tables, or vice versa, and sometimes writing diligently with a peculiar rod gripped in the greenish head tentacles. The huge nippers were used in carrying books and in conversation-speech consisting of a kind of clicking and scraping. [...] From their rate of reading, writing, and operating their machines - those on the tables seemed somehow connected with thought - I concluded that their intelligence was enormously greater than man's.


Technical Details:

This piece was created using my Wacom Tablet with Corel Painter 11, and combines elements of both digital painting/airbrushing and photomanipulation. The background is based on a public domain photo of the famous library of Alberto Manguel, but is heavily painted and manipulated, with a number of the details changed. All of the photo elements that went into the creatures are simple close-up photos of natural living things taken from taxonomy websites (which I assume to be public domain).

Most of the elements that went into the creatures were fungus-based. I felt this was consistent with Lovecraft's obsession with non-animal and even non-plant aliens. So, the bodies are based on the Saffron milk cap, the heads are based on spore puffballs, the trumpet-like appendages are based on chanterelles, and the flowery protrusions on the heads are based on the orange fungus flower. The only animal photo elements are the eyes (which are fish eyes) and the claws (which are primarily painted but are clearly inspired by crab claws). No mammals were used in the creation of this piece.

Full View is 1600 pixels wide, but if you download the original is 4000 pixels wide and shows more detail.

If you have any questions about how I produced any elements of this piece, please feel free to ask. I am open to critiques.

Other Lovecraft-Related Work:

Add a Comment:
 
:iconwhipping-b0y:
WhIppIng-b0y Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2014  Hobbyist
they're absolutely precious.
Reply
:iconbatiemily:
Batiemily Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
This is amazing!!!
Reply
:iconmctalon:
McTalon Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2013  Student General Artist
Excellent depiction of the Great Race of Yith.
Reply
:iconsxgodzilla:
SXGodzilla Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
it is only then that the great race realized their greatest shortcoming... crab claws make reading books excedingly difficult. :D
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
LOL!!!!!!!!

According to a close reading of the original text, it was the green tentacles dangling from their heads that they used to do things like turn pages, carry pens or pencils or whatever it was that they wrote with, and so on.

That sticks out in my memory, because I remember thinking that it was very inventive to imagine a race that evolves two different TYPES of manipulators, specialized for different tasks. We only have hands: but they have pincers for one types of activity and tentacles for another.
Reply
:iconsxgodzilla:
SXGodzilla Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
then how did they eat?? o.o or did they even need to??? XD
Reply
:icontritonyx:
Tritonyx Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
:) HP Lovecraft is an awesome writer. His works in horror are some of the best, I think. :)
Reply
:icondaikaiju-defender:
DaiKaiju-Defender Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
ive never seen such a horrible thing as this
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha thank you so much! What a great compliment! :)
Reply
:iconangelicadonis:
AngelicAdonis Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
To cool man! :D
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconangelicadonis:
AngelicAdonis Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! :D
Reply
:icontrigun666:
trigun666 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i recognized these Yith right away , .....perfect interpretation, especially since they're so supposed to look so ..odd.
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much!
Reply
:icongg-lover:
GG-lover Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Oooo very unique!!
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:icongg-lover:
GG-lover Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Your welcome!! :clap:
Reply
:iconnanoangel:
NanoAngel Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011
god do i love lovecraft. this piece is brilliant!
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! I'm glad you like it.
Reply
:iconsystemcat:
systemcat Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
I've been wondering this since you showed me the piece yesterday. Ok you use Corel Painter 11 while I use Corel Painter Essentials 4. I know how to create a minimal 3D effect on the canvas but unfortunately the brush is tricky to handle (meaning you can only really use it in two directions and the shape doesn't work with the stylist). ...I tend to think there isn't much difference between the two programs with art I've seen from both. Could you tell me which brush or brushes you used to create the 3D effect on this piece on the creatures? It would be really appreciated. It's only knowing of that one (brush) that's why I haven't done more than the two pieces showing the look. And even then both pieces needed extra help from Paint Star after the main work had been done.
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey there!

Present for you: [link]
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I think some of the 3D effect on the creatures comes from the fact that I used the "Apply Lighting" special effect, under Effects -> Surface Control. I had each of the creatures on a separate layer, and so applied the effect separately. I also took a lot of thought to think about where the light sources I wanted in the room were so that all of the highlights and shadows would "match" and make sense with the room: there is one light source from the visible window, and a second light source coming from the front-left of the piece, out of sight but in front of the left-side creature. The overall "Apply Lighting" effect did a good INITIAL job of doing some nice 3D-ish shadowing, although I did go over it some with the Photo->Burn and Photo->Dodge brushes to darken and lighten certain areas: again, thinking carefully about what areas the light would hit, given the sources.

Along those same lines, I added the shadow to the floor (lower right corner), as well. It's on its own layer, just painting with a black solid airbrush on a layer that is set to 15% transparency. Again, I think a lot of the success that I had with the 3D effect was having all of the lighting look realistic and consistent, with all of the shadows in place.

The other trick that I used to enhance the 3D effect was the Distortion brush set. Take the bodies of the creatures, for example: something that looks initially just like striped cones, I was able to use the "bulge" and "distorto" brushes to add waves and ripples, and bulges that produce areas that look like they are coming toward you. Using Distortion->Pinch around the edges, I'm able to get an effect that looks like the edges are "curving away" from the viewer, as well.

I think those are the two main tricks that I used to produce enhanced 3D-ness.
Reply
:iconpureelectronicdesign:
PureElectronicDesign Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011  Professional Artist
I think having a more human like library is an interesting take on it.
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconpureelectronicdesign:
PureElectronicDesign Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Professional Artist
No worries nice take on it!





BTW I am currently involved in the DA T Shirt contest and could use some help (a vote or some feedback). Click here to have a look and vote: [link]

No problem if you are not interested!
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Great job and I like your design a lot... although I'm not entirely sure how to vote. Can you explain (or link me to a page that explains) what I need to do to vote for your design?
Reply
:iconpureelectronicdesign:
PureElectronicDesign Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Professional Artist
You should just need to click the "I'd wear this" button on the right i think.

Thanks BTW!!!
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Done!!
Reply
:iconpureelectronicdesign:
PureElectronicDesign Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2011  Professional Artist
You are a rockstar!
Reply
:icontestament77:
Testament77 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just this night I've re-readed The Shadow Out of Time. What coincidence.
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool!!
Reply
:icontestament77:
Testament77 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your work is pretty similar to the description and creepy (in the positive way), maybe the "library" is too human-like.
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! And yeah, I thought about the library being very "human" and that maybe I should try to make it more alien-looking. However, I also thought about the part of the description that said that one of the most un-nerving things about the creatures is that thing SO obviously human could be doing such "human" things: picking up books, recording events, using satchels and devices, and so on. So I thought that maybe having the very "alien-looking aliens" in a more "human-looking surrounding" might capture some of that creepiness: the unnerving effect of having aliens behaving in ways that we associate with humans, rather than like "beasts". It's not a PERFECT way to capture that feeling, I admit, but that's what I was going for--the incongruity.
Reply
:icontestament77:
Testament77 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
mmm indeed is a good contrast.
Reply
:iconyikyik:
YikYik Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love those... almost as much as the Old Ones... Lovecraft sure had quite some imagination when he created his aliens! :D Very nice pic of them! One of the better I've seen actually. :nod:
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
Reply
:iconyikyik:
YikYik Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! :D
Reply
:icondraskyvanderhoff:
DraskyVanderhoff Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Those Aliens are the most benevolent ones in the Lovercraft Universe, they only want to exchange bodies with us and study while they left us in theirs and after a few decades swap back. That's a good long term cultural exchange (well at least for them... we are only left with big headaches and paranoia :P )
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I know! An absolutely fantastic concept... I love these guys.
Reply
:iconmiha9000:
miha9000 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2011
added to fan art in Sci-fi Archives
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconbleaonenarucat17:
BleaOneNaruCat17 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
I'll say this for sure, those creatures are some creepy looking ones. Though, at the same time, they're pretty cool looking too. LoL
Reply
:icongregstevens:
GregStevens Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, that is awesome! I think, if you are familiar with the writing of Lovecraft at all, you will know that he aspired to both "creepy" and "cool" in most of his writing... so if I've captured that with this image, then I have succeeded!!
Reply
:iconbleaonenarucat17:
BleaOneNaruCat17 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
:) Nice. I haven't really looked at much of his writings. After seeing this drawing, I would like to read some more of his stuff so I can get the feel of his style. It does seem like something that I would be able to get into easily too.
Reply
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Submitted on
November 3, 2011
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