Pressure in an Empty Space – Album Artwork

Buchanan - PIAES - Album Art by Michael Wentworth-Bell

Year: 2016 – Q1
Client: Buchanan 

I was commissioned to create the cover art for Buchanan’s 2nd album – “Pressure in an Empty Space”. The brief was to convey the feeling of intense pressure and the symbols in this cover art each relate to a song or motif throughout the album.

This project went through a large brainstorming stage with Frontman Josh Simons. We explored many possible directions for the album before settling on the idea of a ‘Vacuum wrapped’ explosion of shapes. First the basic “composition” was put together using multiple meshes made in 3ds max. These were all retopologised in Zbrush.
I then used Autodesk 3ds Max and the “Lucid Physics” plugin by Ephere to ‘drape’ a ‘cloth’ over the top of all the objects. The Lucid plugin is a unified solver – it can do rigid bodies, fluids, cloth, etc. So i added a few forces (Gravity, vortex) behind all the collision geo so the cloth was ‘sucked’ into the geometry. I was trying to achieve the effect of a “vacuum wrap”. I had seen this idea attempted here on the CGTalk forums by Josef ‘spacefrog’ Wienerroither.

I played with the settings to make the cloth stretch and crumple. The edges of the cloth were pinned in place so they couldn’t move – the cloth would have to stretch. The result was then exported to Zbrush to sculpt in extra details and clean up any penetration issues.

The resulting high-poly mesh was exported from Zbrush back to Max using Decimation master & meshlab. It was then rendered in Vray. Final composite was completed with Photoshop.

Below are some extra WIP images from throughout the project:

Pressure in an Empty Space Album Artwork - Progress Pressure in an Empty Space Album Artwork - Progress

The Album artwork was developed and rendered at high-resolution, suitable for printing on A2 posters. Some Crops of the Album Art are below.

Pressure in an Empty Space - Album Artwork Design - Crop Pressure in an Empty Space - Album Artwork Design - Crop Pressure in an Empty Space - Album Artwork Design - Crop