Please show me how to cre­ate a Star Wars-in­spired en­vi­ron­ment Edith Wa­ters, Scot­land

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Bram replies

An im­por­tant thing I al­ways con­sider when start­ing a new illustration is the over­all com­po­si­tion. It helps to make up your mind up front about where the big shapes in your im­age will go. Adding build­ing struc­tures and an Im­pe­rial shut­tle to a moun­tain ridge can sig­nif­i­cantly change your com­po­si­tion, so be aware of the traps you can get caught in, and keep a close eye to how the im­age changes when you start in­tro­duc­ing new shapes to your art­work.

It can save you time if you work with a 3D pro­gram such as Blender or Modo, in which you can cre­ate a back­drop of your moun­tain ridge and then quickly block out the big shapes of your struc­tures in front of it. That way you have max­i­mum con­trol over the scale and place­ment of each in­di­vid­ual part. Fur­ther­more, it be­comes quick and easy to du­pli­cate and move parts around to build up your im­age. I see it like a big puz­zle, and when every­thing falls into place I sort of feel it ‘click’.

Af­ter­wards, I drag my ren­ders into Pho­to­shop, ready for paint­ing. If you’ve set up your cam­era in your 3D pro­gram cor­rectly, then the struc­tures should fit into your moun­tain ridge per­fectly.

3D pro­grams can help when you need to add struc­tures to an ex­ist­ing im­age or paint­ing. Sim­ply add your im­age as a back­drop and start build­ing in front of it.

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