One of the main focal points is the beam and the platform in the middle. I wanted to have that as a center piece and the entire painting around it had to make sure it was connected and had a nice flow. I spent quite a bit of time reworking the middle platform, each time adding a bit more detail and new shapes, always looking for a nice rhythm. The entire middle platform really lent itself for some nice, extreme lights, dark at the top - bright highlight - mid tones - dark - highlights and finally the lower gradient. Using the Lasso tool and rectangular brushes with a lot of texture helped me block it in.
Now it's time to do the final balancing. Like I said before I use a lot of tweaking layers including Levels, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance and Brightness/Contrast. All of them to reach maximum dramatic effect. I'm a sucker for super-cinematic dramatic! For this painting I think I used about 20 of those tweaking layers in total, I can get a little crazy!
Lastly I used the Round brush with only the size on Pen Pressure to create some solid highlights and, of course, my trusty scatter brush to add some flavor.
A little composition tech stuff explanation of this image might be in order, so I've broken it down for you guys. For this I used a slanted cross composition (Fig.06), which uses dark/light sources to draw it in (Fig.07).
The highlights outside of the green lines are there to balance it out. On the left side this is not necessary because of the image edge, but on the right there was such a large space that it needed highlights to keep it balanced.
The light coming from below is almost the same intensity as that from above, but due to the gradient and the green color it's not as dominant, giving it that ominous atmosphere. I tried to create a strong composition by using light and dark and a little bit of visual guidance with structures. I think this works quite well if you want to go for really dramatic scenes, but for high detail it's not as clear as it could be.
I love making these paintings; the only tricky bit is explaining how I did it! I hope this gives some insight into how I approach these paintings and I'm always available for questions if you guys have any. Remember that practice makes perfect and making tons of paintings (in moderation, don't overwork yourself!) also ensures you get your own unique style (Fig.08).
Thanks for reading and I'll see you around the web!