Step-by-step: Cre­at­ing a city en­vi­ron­ment con­cept

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation -

I’ll be mak­ing a fan­tasy cityscape, so 3D is use­ful for es­tab­lish­ing ac­cu­rate per­spec­tive – the big­gest killer of ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments. I use SketchUp to block out a fan­tasy city by cre­at­ing a few in­ter­est­ing build­ings, and copy­ing and ar­rang­ing them through­out the en­vi­ron­ment. Us­ing the cam­era func­tion, I com­pose a snap­shot to serve as a base for my 2D con­cept. I im­port the file to Pho­to­shop and use the im­age as a guide­line, paint­ing over the base us­ing a sim­ple colour scheme to pre­serve the shapes from my model. I try to avoid de­tail, re­main­ing zoomed out while I block in the build­ings of the pic­ture. Don’t feel locked into your 3D de­sign – this is a good stage at which to add new large el­e­ments to your con­cept. When you’re happy with your de­sign you can start adding de­tail. This can be done by hand or by us­ing photo tex­tures. When ap­ply­ing photo tex­tures, make use of masks in­stead of the Erase tool and start out by us­ing an ad­just­ment layer to make sure the val­ues of the photo match the val­ues of your paint­ing. If these two things don’t match it’ll never look right! I de­cide to add an ex­tra el­e­ment to im­prove the over­all com­po­si­tion. Bright red flags of­fer a com­ple­men­tary colour to make the rooftop gar­dens pop, as well as help­ing to lead the eye of the viewer around the im­age. Af­ter this stage I add two per cent grain and tilt-shift blur to the paint­ing, as well as ap­ply­ing some lin­ear dodge around the skyline to en­hance the sunset.

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