Step-by-step: Creating a city environment concept
I’ll be making a fantasy cityscape, so 3D is useful for establishing accurate perspective – the biggest killer of urban environments. I use SketchUp to block out a fantasy city by creating a few interesting buildings, and copying and arranging them throughout the environment. Using the camera function, I compose a snapshot to serve as a base for my 2D concept. I import the file to Photoshop and use the image as a guideline, painting over the base using a simple colour scheme to preserve the shapes from my model. I try to avoid detail, remaining zoomed out while I block in the buildings of the picture. Don’t feel locked into your 3D design – this is a good stage at which to add new large elements to your concept. When you’re happy with your design you can start adding detail. This can be done by hand or by using photo textures. When applying photo textures, make use of masks instead of the Erase tool and start out by using an adjustment layer to make sure the values of the photo match the values of your painting. If these two things don’t match it’ll never look right! I decide to add an extra element to improve the overall composition. Bright red flags offer a complementary colour to make the rooftop gardens pop, as well as helping to lead the eye of the viewer around the image. After this stage I add two per cent grain and tilt-shift blur to the painting, as well as applying some linear dodge around the skyline to enhance the sunset.