Paint a ma­jes­tic un­der­wa­ter city

Take to the ocean depths with Raphael La­coste, who re­veals how he uses light and at­mo­spheric per­spec­tive to cre­ate a moody fan­tasy scene

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Dive into Raphael La­coste’s en­vi­ron­ment work­shop.

The aim of this work­shop is to ex­plain how I go about cre­at­ing an in­ter­est­ing ar­chi­tec­tural com­po­si­tion set in an usual land­scape – or seascape! By the end of it I hope to have pro­duced a mem­o­rable im­age of a fan­tasy set­ting – de­pict­ing a mo­ment that could be taken from a movie or video game.

You need to have an eye for a good com­po­si­tion and a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in en­vi­ron­ment de­sign, if you’re to turn a sim­ple sketch into a de­tailed im­age. Key points in the cre­ative process in­clude us­ing con­trast­ing shapes, ap­ply­ing the golden rules of com­po­si­tion such as the Rule of Thirds, and util­is­ing an in­ter­est­ing colour pal­ette. Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of your early sketches. They’ll help you iden­tify strong and weak com­po­si­tional el­e­ments, and which colours are work­ing or not.

Your check­list should in­clude the fol­low­ing: an in­ter­est­ing topic; a good bal­ance of shapes, pro­por­tions and con­trasts in the vol­umes; and in­spir­ing ref­er­ences. The lat­ter can be pho­tos, the work of other painters, or even master­pieces that you see in mu­se­ums. I pre­fer to use my per­sonal photo data­base as much as pos­si­ble to avoid copy­right is­sues, but if you’re look­ing at ref­er­ences purely for mood ideas, then the world is pretty much your oys­ter. Watch­ing films is also a great way to pick up light­ing and mood ideas.

Tack­ling the de­tails is part of the paint­ing process, but in my ex­pe­ri­ence it’s not key to the cre­ation of a re­al­is­ti­clook­ing scene. In­stead, I’d say get the ba­sics right and the small stuff will fol­low. So have fun and en­joy this work­shop!

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