Please ex­plain how to cre­ate a misty en­vi­ron­ment

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A -

Bri­anne Bur­ris, Canada

Sara replies

The first thing I do is to ob­serve ref­er­ences of misty land­scapes. Mist is translu­cent: in some places thick, in oth­ers thin enough to re­veal ob­jects. De­pend­ing on the time of day in which it oc­curs, it will in­flu­ence all the colours in the scenery – damp­en­ing dawn’s vi­brant colours or turn­ing a sun­set into pas­tel shades.

Mist usu­ally de­sat­u­rates colours into shades of cold or dark grey. So when I paint a misty set­ting I’ll work in greyscale. I use a sep­a­rate layer for each el­e­ment in the en­vi­ron­ment, which en­ables me to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the shades and sug­gest depth and aerial per­spec­tive.

The fur­ther away an el­e­ment is from the viewer, the more it’ll be af­fected by the light grey translu­cent patina of the mist. As such, tree trunks in the dis­tance will as­sume this colour and lose de­tail, for ex­am­ple, only ap­pear­ing as sil­hou­ettes. The kind of light­ing is a cold am­bi­ent light, with­out strong con­trasts, but I in­crease con­trast when I paint el­e­ments clos­est to the viewer. I also in­crease the level of de­tails to give depth to the im­age.

The mist ap­pears at ground level, so to sug­gest fog banks I cre­ate a layer on top of one of the el­e­ments painted (here the roots of the oak), and with a light grey colour and a soft brush I roll out some brush­strokes. If the scene is too opaque I can ad­just the layer’s Opac­ity.

I add de­tails such as fallen leaves, moss and shrubs be­side the tree to fin­ish off this misty scene.

I need to be happy with the sense of depth I’m cre­at­ing in the com­po­si­tion, be­fore I move on to colours.

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