Can you help me achieve depth in a sparse en­vi­ron­ment?

Ch­es­ney Loaf­less, US

ImagineFX - - Your Questions Answered... -

An­swer

Mark replies

In this im­age I want to show the sparse rocky desert home­land of a hunter who stalks pass­ing car­a­vans or space­ships that have crash-landed. Usu­ally, you can add sev­eral depth cues to your im­age, such as plac­ing the same man-made ob­jects in var­i­ous dis­tances to show dif­fer­ences in scale, or adding strong per­spec­tive lines with roads or build­ing. Be­cause the rock desert is an or­ganic en­vi­ron­ment I can only ap­ply aerial per­spec­tive and the main prin­ci­ples of hu­man per­cep­tion.

The key for cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful aerial per­spec­tive is to break up your paint­ing into as many space seg­ments as pos­si­ble. Then, once you’ve de­cided on the main colour scheme of your fore­ground, slowly blend it into the colour of the sky at the hori­zon line. Ap­ply­ing a slight gra­di­ent from a darker to a lighter tone to­wards the sun also helps. Try adding an ex­tra level of sub­tle haze or dust closer to the ground.

You can sep­a­rate your space seg­ments fur­ther with the amount of de­tail­ing you choose to use. The aerial per­spec­tive not only uni­fies the val­ues, but also flat­tens out the shapes. In­tro­duc­ing more tex­tu­ral de­tails and con­trast to your fore­ground will help it feel closer to the viewer.

In ad­di­tion to the aerial per­spec­tive on the ground level, you can also try adding per­spec­tive cues to your sky and clouds. Use more blurry edges to ob­jects that are close to the cam­era and more com­pressed shapes with harder edges for el­e­ments in the dis­tance. Adding gra­di­ents to the sky to­wards the sun and paint­ing your clouds with more sat­u­rated colours in the fore­ground will both help to give an ex­tra level of depth to your il­lus­tra­tion.

Ap­ply more de­tails and harder edges to your clouds to­wards your hori­zon. More con­trast in the fore­ground also helps. Use scale ref­er­ence to strengthen depth. Add per­spec­tive clues to your sky and dif­fer­en­ti­ate your space seg­ments con­sciously.

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