What is it?
What happens in this image is basically what the title says. A pick slide is a simple guitar technique which is achieved by sliding over the thick strings with the edge of the pick. It is mostly found in rock music which seems to be exactly the genre a Corelem would listen to. Of course the depicted one has a very unique style of playing his gigantic guitar and decided to surf down the strings right into the ocean.
Why is it?
At the beginning of the process of coming up with an idea for the Rendering Competition I quickly realized: "There's no way I can do something without swords or guitars!"
So I tried to start in a reasonable way by summerizing what kind of assets I could use and what cool stuff my renderer can produce. After some wild ideas I had the first one to refine a little bit: A sword and a guitar both sticking in a rock inspired by Excalibur and a book saying "Choose wisely".
And I liked it until there was the idea of a gigantic guitar so naturally my first attempt was "Put some little monkeys on the strings." And I also liked that one until I realized that I also love water and water can be done nicely in a raytracer.
So after a few tries to transform the guitar into a boat I kind of forgot about realism and used the guitar as a slide. Now the only questions were: Which guitar, who rides it and how does he do it?
And the only possible answers were of course: My guitar, a corelem and (of course) he surfes on my favorite pick.
Building the scene
At first I set up the scene in code by simply using:
an Infinite Plane as the ocean
a single Directional Light as the sun
some dummy models for the guitar, pick and Corelem
Then I started to collect/build my assets:
The Energy-Core-Driven-Golem, better known as Corelem, is the product of my own imagination. It's basically a pile of stones which are bound together and given life by the blue spheres all over its body. Most of the time they wander around searching for stones to eat but some of them also love rock music.
Luckily for me I modeled, rigged and textured them a while ago and so I already had the perfect candidate as a surfer.
I modeled and textured the guitar myself in Blender with a real one for comparison lying directly under the screen. It is a simple but beautiful Stratocaster type with a Tobacco Sunburst color pattern on top and back. So after modeling everything with as much detail but few triangles as possible I created the Tobacco Sunburst texture in Blender too by simply using a wood texture I slightly colored in GIMP and painting the black and dark red parts directly on the model.
Although the image contains some complex geometry I still wanted to achieve a relaxed atmosphere by not cluttering it with effects or other objects. So I kept it simple, there is the guitar, the pick, the Corelem and the ocean. While the first 3 mainly carry the meaning of the scene, the ocean is more a tool of atmosphere.
This is why I decided to use an environment map as a sky and to give the main light an orange color. Together with 2 other ambient directional lights this generated a sunset atmosphere and strongly changed the feeling that is transported by the image. It is not some crazy rock creature sliding into the ground and breaking all his stones anymore but a Corelem playing the music he loves and enjoying the endless freedom of the ocean.
Axure RP (Website): https://www.axure.com/
Environment Map: https://www.outerspace-software.com/images/bixorama/equirectangular.jpg
Wood used for Tobacco Sunburst and dark fingerboard (modified in Gimp): https://www.textures.com/download/woodfine0054/105416
Wood used for maple neck (modified in Gimp): https://www.textures.com/download/woodfine0007/14285