In Fig.11 you can see more grit in the way of snowy/rainy overlays, as well as a subtle texture overlaying the whole image. This just gives the whole image more texture or grip. It adds pixel information, which is what you see in any real-life image and which is often absent in digital imagery.
Fig.12 shows the addition of lights. These needed to be dodged in using a nice trick I picked up. You take the Gradient Fill tool and set it to your Foreground Color + Transparent rather than the default Foreground Going to Background. You then set it to Radial Gradient rather than default Linear and set it to Dodge. Drop the transparency down and then just click and drag on areas you want to glow. Note that you have to have your foreground color set to something bright and the image/Photoshop file itself has to be flattened.
The cobble effect was just a few planes with a cobbled stone displacement. You can see in Fig.13 where I hastily placed them at the mouth of the street.
Overall I was keen on keeping things messy. It sounds strange and is quite counter-intuitive to most work you'll do, but this was never intended as a 3D piece and was more of a paintover. So I always knew that whatever I made in 3D was just a starting point that would get manipulated in Photoshop. So I didn't need the cobble to run all the way down the street as you won't even see it due to all the rough texturing, shadow and fog.
Here is the final image (Fig.14) and a close-up, to get a better idea of the level of detail (Fig.15).
In the main image you can see there's a subtle change in the sky. My initial HDR image was too low res so for the final image. I rendered the scene on black and saved the image as a .tga file with transparency so I could insert my own photograph behind the buildings.
The final render was 3000px wide which I then up-scaled to 4000px. It would have taken way too long to render those extra thousand pixels and seeing as it was going to get painted over anyway, I just went for 3000.
There are a few improvements that could be made to this piece. For example, a few photography-type people aren't keen on the perspective pinch of the buildings on the left and I would like to have spent more time on the Victorian people in the scene, but there comes a point in these mammoth painting projects where you have to call it finished or you'll be tweaking forever.
This piece took over a week of solid work but it all paid off as it's been my most successful piece in years of creating digital art. It proved to me the importance of careful planning if you want your work to get recognition. All the elements need to come together; composition, values, color, concept/story and so on. On the whole, this is not a technical piece. As such it's fairly simple to make - you render some basic building shapes and overlay your images/textures. The hardest part is in deciding how you want your lighting and composition etc., to create something evocative. That comes with studying the pros and I still have tons to learn.< previous page