The Blue Max Project

© 2016 Thomas Emme Some Rights Reserved

Behind the Scenes of the Blue Max Project

There is a little gap before the next issue is published so I thought I would share some "behind the scenes" galleries to show how I create the images in Rupp's Skizzenbuch.  It is great fun to try and create simulated photo's, newspaper articles and sketches from scenes in the original book "The Blue Max" by Jack Hunter.  

Fabian's Crash

I was looking for an image for Fabian's crash, when I found a crash image of an Albatros.   During my search I ran into a second image with a make-shift cross made from the prop of an aircraft.  I combined the images and added Fabian's name to the cross.  Finally I aged the image and put creases in the paper to try and make it look like an old photograph.

Stachel's Truck

When Stachel arrived at Jasta 77, the truck that dropped him off got destroyed by an attack of Sopwith Camels.  I knew it was winter and that the office was an old railroad storage building.  I ran into an image of a German barn in the snow next to train tracks and combined it with a badly damaged  WW1 era vehicle.  

Dogfight Sketch

When I sketch I don't like committing to a composition without cartooning it out first.  If I can find images to base my sketch on, I can clip them out in Photoshop and play around with the composition until I get it right.  My favorite view is always different than what I expected so I like the flexibility I get using Photoshop.  In this scene Bruno Stachel stumbles on the Red Baron chasing a Bristol Fighter.  Von Richthofen is not aware that there are three more Bristol's high above hunting him.  Stachel dives in to break up the fight from an even higher elevation.  I tried to create a sketch with a deep depth of field to capture the levels that occurred during this dogfight. I used this mock up to develop the ink sketch.  I scanned the sketch and removed all the white background to make the image transparent.  Finally I overlaid this image over a photograph of a page from the journal to make it look like it was an original sketch in the journal..

Squad Photo with VonRichthofen

This one was bit over the top, but I was trying to get a classic squad photo posing in front of VR's signature red biplane.  I was using the first image as a guide.  I posed the aircraft from the flight sim Rise of Flight to get the background image.  I found a video on You-Tube of some WW1 era pilot reenactors and captured multiple images to get the squad members.  I stole VR's head from the original image and placed him in the aircraft.  I pulled a copy of a Berlin paper from the right date and spliced the picture along with a simple newspaper article into the final image.  A lot of steps and the final product is not great, but okay.  A lot of this effort is pushing my skill level to see what I can accomplish.  In later chapters it gets better.

I generally start with an idea of where I want to go, but let the random search for images take me where it wants to go.  I try to use Wikimedia Commons because the images are typically not copyrighted.  If you are ever interested in the sources for the images, check out the "Chapter Credits" at the bottom of each chapter.  The blue text is a link to a pdf document where I provide descriptions and web links to my sources.



Watch for the next chapter to release on April 27th.