I created the mask of the fire pattern first by selecting it and drawing within the selection - this way I was able to keep within the lines (Fig09 - 10).
Adding the Sparks
I painted in the details of building on the right-hand side, added the columns and decorations to the museum, and increased the brightness and contrast of the whole building in order to enhance the overall lightness (Fig11). I then worked on the sparks under Prime's feet, being sure to pay attention to the reflections on his feet and making them spray outwards, as if he's skidding at a high-speed (Fig12).
After all the other building work was basically done (Fig13 - 14), I hand-painted the explosion and added the reflections of the flames to the car in the lower right corner. The buildings in the far background and the sky were also tinged with the colour of the flames (Fig15).
To add more texture to the picture, I added many brush strokes - more like a foggy or dusty kind of stroke. This thickened the feeling of a battle field and also made the perspective more distant (Fig16 - 17).
The centre of attention should be more in the middle of the picture, so I moved Prime and Megatron a little to the right (Fig18).
Problem Solving for Optimus Prime
The biggest problem I came across with Optimus Prime was handling his appearance and comparing my design to the originals. I took two pictures for comparison (Fig19); the left one was before and the right one was after. Originally, Prime was not as eye-catching as I wanted him to be, and that really bothered me. Moving him closer to the middle, there were many more problems that then needed to be solved...
The first problem was 'the look'. Prime's outline was definitely the key point; it determined whether he looked like Prime, or not. His waist and thigh on the left side were thicker. His broad shoulders, thin waist and the curves of his thigh also need to be indicated. His ears seemed a little short, so in the right picture I made some adjustments, making it closer to the original design.
The second problem was the design of light and shade; the shadows had to effectively push the main character out from the background. I purposely painted a white highlight on Prime's left side, not only giving him a more 3-dimensional look but also adding the metal tone to it. I also had to pay attention to the reflection under his feet, which was another key point. The head was too dark before, so I increased the brightness and also brought in the light of the flame from the explosion to add more contrast, making his head much more noticeable. The glass on Prime's chest should have had a brighter reflection, too, so I emphasised the contrast more on the chest by giving it a better perspective.