How can I quickly cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing en­vi­ron­ment for con­cept pur­poses?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - ImagineNation -

Julie Tidby, Eng­land

An­swer Mark replies

Art di­rec­tors of­ten ask me to mock up some­thing quick to es­tab­lish an over­all di­rec­tion for a scene. For this I’ll use pho­tos and matte paint­ing tech­niques to comp a scene to­gether. It’s much faster than sim­ply paint­ing ev­ery­thing from scratch.

The most im­por­tant task is to find the best source ma­te­rial, so I usu­ally spend half my al­lot­ted time gath­er­ing the ex­act ref­er­ence pho­tos I want to work with. I then cre­ate some rough scrib­bles of the over­all com­po­si­tion; th­ese help me to visu­alise my idea. I then try to find a base im­age that roughly matches my com­po­si­tion and has a sim­i­lar mood or light­ing setup. Af­ter this I col­lect ex­tra ‘ key’ and ‘enhancer’ images. The en­hancers can help to push the base im­age fur­ther, while the key pho­tos can ei­ther make the fi­nal art look unique or add ex­tra story el­e­ments.

It’s cru­cial to match the light­ing, colours and val­ues of the dif­fer­ent source ma­te­ri­als, which then cre­ates a uni­fied look. I do this us­ing layer ad­just­ment op­tions such as Color Bal­ance, Curves and Se­lec­tive Color. I also use the Match Color op­tion (Im­age> Ad­just­ment> Match Color...), which can match the colour and value struc­ture of two lay­ers con­tain­ing dif­fer­ent ob­jects.

Some­times the eas­i­est and fastest way for pre­sent­ing a cer­tain mood to an art direc­tor is to cre­ate a dig­i­tal col­lage from dif­fer­ent photo plates.

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