Ques­tion

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

Please help me quickly paint an aban­doned fu­tur­is­tic city

Rod­ney Beavis, US

An­swer

John replies

This in­volves cre­at­ing a com­bi­na­tion of fu­tur­is­tic, ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy with mod­ernist ar­chi­tec­ture and cor­ro­sion, de­cay, veg­e­ta­tion over­growth, blight, and crum­bling or col­lapsed struc­tures. You have to ask your­self, why was the city aban­doned? Was it from war? Dis­ease? Alien in­va­sion? De­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances, you’ll have to think about leav­ing ev­i­dence be­hind of the sud­den aban­don­ment. Con­sider adding bul­let holes, over­turned ve­hi­cles, emer­gency evac­u­a­tion signs and other in­di­ca­tors.

My process in­volves cre­at­ing a 3D model of the ma­jor struc­tures to use as a ref­er­ence. Mod­ern and fu­tur­ist ar­chi­tec­ture con­tains wavy lines and curves in­ter­min­gled with straight-line grids, and this work­flow saves me a lot of time try­ing to achieve an ac­cu­rate per­spec­tive by draw­ing count­less van­ish­ing points on my own. I can also move the cam­era to try dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives to quickly find the com­po­si­tion I like.

Then I ren­der an im­age from that an­gle, draw over the im­age, and then paint in the de­tails. I also take the time to make lasso selections to sep­a­rate back­ground el­e­ments from the fore­ground so I can ad­just colour and tone for each area separately.

No mat­ter how tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced a so­ci­ety be­comes, if a place is aban­doned it doesn’t take very

long for na­ture to re­claim ev­ery­thing and take over.

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