Q&A: mir­rors

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

Shan­non Schofield, Eng­land

An­swer Alix replies

Cre­at­ing an im­age with a mir­ror shat­ter­ing can be chal­leng­ing on sev­eral fronts. The main el­e­ments to con­sider are es­tab­lish­ing light sources and an­gles of the shards for the re­flec­tions to make a be­liev­able bro­ken mir­ror, and cre­at­ing mo­tion and ac­tion in the scene that doesn’t over­whelm the fo­cal point: our sin­is­ter re­flec­tion and the re­ac­tion to its at­tack.

Af­ter de­vel­op­ing a thumb­nail that com­mu­ni­cates the story within the frame, I take some photo ref­er­ence in front of a mir­ror to get a bet­ter idea of how the light and re­flec­tions will work. Ref­er­ence and thumb­nail in hand, I start work­ing up a value sketch in Pho­to­shop with some ad­di­tional plan­ning help from Sketch­Book Pro for cre­at­ing a sym­met­ri­cal out­line of the mir­ror de­sign to lay into the scene.

With a value sketch com­plete, I ap­ply some base colours and be­gin ren­der­ing. As I ren­der to fi­nal, I keep a close eye on edges that be­gin to dis­tract from the fo­cal point of the scene. I use a soft Blender brush on edges that draw at­ten­tion to knock them back, as well as mo­tion blurs and ra­dial blurs on shards of glass to give them mo­men­tum while soft­en­ing them from fo­cus.

For the sin­is­ter re­flec­tion, I largely left the sketch ver­sion in­tact. The looser brush strokes and harder-to-parse form can add to the creep fac­tor.

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