The DSP Archimedes prepares to depart orbit of Gelden. Its destination is the outskirts of the Dollaev cluster visible at far left. Gelden orbits a hot blue binary star system, seen partially eclipsed in this view. The planet and several minor satellites were colonized 125 earth-years earlier. Gelden has become a hub of galactic exploration and gate building to extend interstellar routes. It lies at the center of a loose cluster of hot, massive stars that are gradually nearing the end of their brilliant lives. The Archimedes' current survey will establish a network of fold-gates and open up hundreds of worlds to exploration and colonization in the rich open cluster in the distance.
I used Adobe Illustrator to lay out the design of the Archimedes, and then Photoshop to generate the image.
Above: Line work in Illustrator used to design the ship and explore basic layout of the image.
Above: Detail of the ship design and shading.
Above: I was toying with what a Vacuum Energy Tractor Drive might look like—way too distracting, so I left it out of the final.