The Images

I've been asked to provide a little information on the images I've created for this site, so if you're interested, read on.
Incidentally, each of the images in the Son of Suns trilogy contains a picture of a wolf somewhere within it.
Have you spotted them all?

I should add of course that I mean no infringment of any copyright in using these images, nor do I make any money; it is, as ever, just for fun.



Into the Storm

All the images are multilevel with individual layers taken from varied sources. This image is seventy-two layers, which is about average for me, including titles.
I use a number of bundled drawing programs like CorelDraw and Webimage.

I've put a few of the layers below, with a little text explaining what they are.


The two sabers stood upright to contain the center image are Luke's and Vader's, but of course Luke never made his second saber in this AU (he now has a red Sith blade), so I had to make one up based on my description in the story, but I also wanted it to be recognisably Luke's, so the final image is an amalgamation of Luke's second saber and a created one.


The Luke I used is a well known image, with minimal changes, save for giving him an Imperial military suit (and giving him two real hands; although he still lost his hand, he never wears a glove because it was never damaged). He also has a younger head-shot taken from a pic of Hamill during TESB, rather than the original image which is ROTJ, since I wanted a marked difference between images of him as the stories progress.

  I used an image of the beautiful Famke Janssen for Mara Jade. I know that Lucasfilm have their own version of Mara, but Jannsen's always been in my head when I've written Mara, so she's the one in my pics.




In Shadows and Darkness

This was an intricate pic, with a lot more layers on it, because I was playing around a lot more with the images I was using rather than just tweaking colour. I desaturated it and took out the mid-tones when I'd finished because I wanted it to be dark and bleak, but I did add spot-colour in specific places.


I think this Luke had a lot of changes to it. The pic on the left is the original, before the half-tones were removed, then I wanted to add the scar so that people reading the story had an image of him in their heads. I also wanted to link him closer to his father, so I took the looser, longer hair from an Anakin pic and added that (with a quick trim). the final decision was to remove the eyes and replace them with those of a blue-eyed wolf, which I trawled the internet for. I was a little worried about this because Hamill has distinctive eyes, but I wanted to put the viewer just slightly off-kilter without them knowing quite why. To emphasize this, it was the only part of the image which retained colour.

The other pics used are all well-known ones, except for the Vader head, which I took of the helmet I own with my own camera. Decent Vader pics which don't have half the image lost in black are hard to find!

I think I mainly flipped images then desaturated them. I added in Palpatine's eyes and picked them out in color, because eye colour eventually becomes an important plot point, and of course I colorised Mara's red hair.



At the Brink of the Dawn and the Darkness

This was the most time-consuming of the three but the most fun to do for me. It probably has well over a hundred layers, each element of which was worked on separately until I was reasonably happy with it then combined into a single file.



Luke was a very complex design in this pic, but very enjoyable to do. All I knew was that I wanted to have a pic of Luke as Emperor; the pay-off of the first two books.

Originally, I had intended to do it as the pic described at the end of the second book, but as the third story progressed, I knew I needed a separate pic of Luke, to suggest that he's becoming more confident and comfortable in his role, and because the pic is carried around by somebody, it needed to suggest age and wear, which was behind the decision to make it a sepia photograph, badly damaged - a point relevant to the story. I wanted Luke to look quite dashing in this pic, but quite distant too; a little unapproachable. Again, I used Anakin's hair to link him to his father, and chose a head-shot of Hamill from ROTJ so that he was more mature.


The original pic was of an English King (Edward VIII) in full regalia, and as you can see I calmed it down some by removing a lot of the finicky detail. I liked the degraded quality of the pic, so played around a lot with pixel size and adding noise and de-interlacing to tie in the various source images which made up the pic such as the Coruscant background and Luke's head, plus any additions I made to paint out and simplify the regalia. The hands (which are on the finished image) were lost on the original due to their now incorrect positioning, so they were replaced by mine (fame at last!). The insignia on the cloak was changed to an Imperial insignia, as was the medal on the shoulder, though the pic's so compressed for the 'net that a lot of the detail is lost. The scratches and damage were from an original 1940's photo which I scanned in and isolated, then added to the pic for age.


Mara is again Famke Jannsen, in a headshot from the 'net. The dress is a fashion shot with a little gauze added for modesty (I just don't think Mara would go that far!). I regret now not giving her a gun partially visible in her right hand - I may put it in one day.


The face of Kiria is actress Zhang Ziyi. Due to the image of the gown, I had to look all over to find something in the right 'looking back' pose, but I was lucky enough to get something eventually though there was a lot of cheating around the shoulders (the cheats eventually hidden by the dress). To this, I added the tiara and some heavier make-up to match the dramatic dress, as well as hands (mine again; hermaphrodite hands!). The red gown is an original Padmé gown in dull brown, which I recolored and restyled. I was aiming for oversaturation in color and trying to get a true blood red, to have the draped gown reminiscent of a pool of blood.


If you'd like to know where the wolves are on each pic, then run your cursor over the white section below to highlight it.

On Into the Storm, it's a shadow on the moon above Cruscant.

On In Shadows and Darkness, it's just below Luke's head, dissolving into his jacket.

On At the Brink of the Dawn and the Darkness, its a carving set into the base of the pillar that Luke's hand is resting on (difficult to see because of the creasing effect in the photo).