In this stage, I defined the design elements and pushed the details further. The skulls were done in a separate document and brought in separately, and I added a stroke around the girls to separate them from the background.
Black hair seemed to be more dramatic so I used the Desaturate sponge to take the colour out, and also used a multiply brush with a black to get the desired effect. I use the Sarsa Brushes , to blend and add hair strands. Try using the Sarsa hair brush with varying opacities as well as using them as a dodge/burn tool on top of the hair layer. Although not evident in this piece, using a small airbrush and adding single strands of hair is the most effective way of getting realistic hair. For the splatter beneath the girls and on the skulls, I used splatter brush. Using red, and colour burn mode.
Defining the Background
Easy as pie hot glows! Once again, I took the image into Painter and added some interesting circular halos.
I also used a off white blender brush and literally scribbled around to get the cloud formations. The colour variations in the clouds were done with overlay mode in Photoshop. Before bringing back into Photoshop, the halos mainly consisted of low contrasting pink as seen in the outer rings. Once brought into Photoshop, I used an orange flesh tone colour airbrush set as colour dodge to create the pretty glows in the halos. Let's see how the colour dodge mode works. Oh snap, how easy is that? Colour dodge is a wonderful way to make some really impressive glows!
Satisfied with the background and overall appearance, I decided that I wanted the image to have a darker theme as well as make the girls pop out, so I took the reddish background and desaturated it with the Sponge tool. I also used the burn tool to darken certain areas. It is important to notice the options when using the Dodge/Burn tool. You can choose to affect three levels of an image - the highlight, mid tones, and shadows. Make sure to choose the appropriate option before burning or dodging. And that's it.
Some key tips I want to stress in creating images are: Always seek critiques from artists and non artists. I frequently post my images while they are in the progress stages to get advice from other viewers. Sometimes working with an image, you can become blind to mistakes that might keep the image from being better. Check out 3DTotal's Forum http://forums.3dtotal.com/. There are many others, and most of them have professionals that hang out that have real world experience, and can offer sage advice. Don't be afraid to experiment. Some of the coolest things I've learned were accidents. Serendipity is sweet! Practice, practice, and practice some more. This image was actually created when I was in an artistic slump. Although I was in a slump, I was making myself practice figure drawing on autopilot when the idea came to me. So out of practice, one of current top ten images was created. Always strive to become better. You are your fiercest enemy. Thanks for looking!