How can I show a creature smashing a wooden gate?
Corey Hoffman, US
You can create a more engaging image by implying what’s going to happen, instead of showing it. I decide to paint the actions of the creature as seen from within the castle courtyard, depicting the moment when the gate is still intact, but it might break on the next impact.
The key to showing dynamism and movement in an image like this is to show the strength of the attack, not just on the gate, but also on the surrounding areas. Depicting the shaking ground, the flying dust and wooden shards is just one technique. There are some simple painting tricks as well to help you sell the scene.
Tilting your horizon line is one of the most basic options, giving the feeling that it’s been caused by the force of the smash in this case. Adding more details to the focal area and leaving softer edges outside pulls in the viewer and adds movement.
You can also strengthen this feeling by applying some zoom Radial Blur (Filter> Blur> Radial Blur) to your final image. This adds motion blur to the sides but keeps the central area of the composition clean and sharp.
It’s better to indicate the ferocity of the attack rather than showing the actual hit. The brute force of the smash affects not just the gate, but all surrounding areas. Beside the flying debris, I add more effects to the ground to suggest that even the earth is shaking because of the force of the attack.