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Create dynamic sci-fi scenes

By Massimo Porcella
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 1st September 2014
Software used:
Photoshop
1943_tid_8.jpg

Master of designing sci-fi environments, Massimo Porcella, reveals a step-by-step break down of his work flow, sharing tips on how to achieve a balanced composition, using color and textures.


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In this tutorial I will show you how I created and painted my sci-fi environment. I will start with the initial concept sketches using references, and then explain the use of colors, textures, and brushes and how to create shapes for a balanced and complete composition.

Step 1. Concept sketch

I started with simple sketching on the canvas. I painted stains and random shapes using the round brush with a slightly softened edge as the main tool. Using the Lasso tool, I drew flat geometric shapes. Sometimes too, as in this case, I will use photos as they give me a pre-made pattern as a base to work on.

I like to work this way at the beginning of a concept because I find that it gives more space to my imagination, and allows me to work without any preconceived ideas about what I'm going to create.

Once I ‘saw’ the final shapes, or started to find a way into what I painted, I used a flat brush and started to build and define them. The flat brush is great for this purpose, as it gives structure to the geometric shapes making them appear slightly architectural.

1943_tid_1.jpg
I create the plans of the composition with pictorial strokes and photos applied in Soft Light

Step 2. Research and texturing

Once I determined the primary volumes, I began texturing the work using photographic research on the internet or gathering pictures taken by myself, with a mix of digital painting. I usually prefer to take the reference material that I need from my own photos, because I think that the final and complete work is more personal, unique
and self-rewarding.

Also, in my personal experience, taking a lot of pictures helps improve my knowledge of the composition of the image, the study of textures and more importantly, the study of light. Pictures are a good guideline to follow in the construction of the concept scene.

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An example of painting and finishing with textures applied on the volumes

Step 3. Lighting and mood

Once I had defined and given structure to the buildings, I focused on the main subject: in this case, I was inspired by a submarine. I studied its rounded shapes and its structure, and slightly modified it, turning it into a space ship. I kept as close as possible its original texture, because I did not want to lose its consistency.

At this point in the work I decided to fix the composition and step towards the study of light and mood, placing color gradients in Soft Light or Overlay.

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The main silhouette of the spaceship, inspired by a submarine, and the final scene

Step 4. Lights and contrasts

To make the environment be more interesting and feel alive, I started to insert artificial light sources (both painted and manipulated) with a layer style-outer glow. I also used pictures of cities at night (in this case a photo of New York City) and applied them in light on various areas. This allowed me to hide the dark parts of the picture without affecting the bright ones.

Once I did this, I contrasted the image using Curves, trying to balance shadows, mid-tones and highlight the best
I could.

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Adding light to the scene


 
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(ID: 156698, pid: 0) Kevin Power on Sat, 06 September 2014 10:21pm
Parisvery nice massimo thanks for sharing your techniques
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