It's very crucial for a creator to foresee the image in his own mind and be able to know if it will make a good artwork, or not. I wanted to create a scene filled with tension and drama, just like a still from the film itself.
Designing the Movement
Planning the work, I wanted to bring out the tension and conflict as a priority, which led me to an explosive duel scene that would draw audiences into the work. What troubled me was deciding whether the duel should take place during the day or night. In the end I picked daytime, meaning that my background would have a strong contrast and variation of lights. First of all, I started with a sketch, designing actions (Fig01). Because the first character pose designs were not very good, I decided to re-design the composition and drafted the sketch of the surrounding buildings. It was at this moment when I began to think of where the source of light was coming from (Fig02).
I re-designed the poses and polished up the buildings. Even though Transformers is based on science-fiction and they come from outer space, the story is set on Earth. So I wanted to bring in architecture that has a traditional feeling, something like a museum, in order to emphasise the contrast between high tech. machines and classical images (Fig03).
In the film, Megatron is pictured as the destroyer, and Optimus Prime as the protector. Therefore, if Optimus Prime is placed closer to the camera when defending the attack, it would create the feeling of "being protected" for the audience. I was imagining Megatron dashing out from the explosion, lunging at Optimus Prime with a "crackdown". Optimus Prime is prepared for the attack; he raises his fist and slides forwards - causing sparks on the ground - ready to give Megatron a death blow. The aim of this composition was to create a complete frame filled with drama and action.
To enhance the tension of the scene, I chose a radial composition that was similar to the basic perspective. The whole composition would therefore look like an explosion itself, or an extending radiation (Fig04).
Painting & Progression
Colour-wise, it took me a long time to consider the colour of the sky, and it also went through a lot of changes. Originally, it was sky blue. However, after many adjustments, the colour of the sky became much closer to yellow, which makes the whole tone of the picture more unified.
First of all, I polished up the sketch a little and increased the position of Megatron on the canvas, in order to strengthen the feeling of him about to "crackdown" on Optimus Prime (Fig05). I then painted the base colour using a brush, under the Color brush mode. This was done in order to create the basic tone of the colour (Fig06); by detailing Optimus Prime first of all, paying attention to the reflections of the sparks, it was strengthened (Fig07).
Altering the Arms
Since the pose was designed by myself, it was difficult making sure that Prime's parts were true to his original design. I did a lot of research on the Internet; some were public still photographs from the film, and others were character designs for marketing purposes. But these sources were all done in various stages, so there were a lot of differences. For instance, Prime's head and arms already had many different versions; I had to pick the most suitable one that would look good from the angle I had designed, and of course added some of my imagination, too. So Prime's arm went through many adjustments before it was complete (Fig08).