All the towers, including the small one in the background are painted in by hand using Photoshop. I used the rubber stamp tool for the closest one. I didn't have any specific architecture in mind. The main idea was to increase a lot of the height of almost every important building (Fig.08 - 09).
Every 3D element in this case, can help to blend with the original photo. 3D elements are always sharp, clean and most of all, they follow the perspective lines. The war ships were done by my friend Kami.ca. He did this 3D model in 3D Max and then, I exported it in Softimage XSI which is the 3D Software that I use on a daily base (Fig.10).
Each 3D antenna was color-corrected and the brightness/contrast aspect adjusted according to their positions with the sun. The next step was adding details such as highlights (Fig.11).
I decided to blur the ships at the end because they were too 3D looking, which made them too different from the rest of the image. Instead of working hard to re-texture them, I chose to blur them. It's a question of priority! In this specific artwork, the priority was cityscape more than the ships (Fig.12).
Last but not least, here is for me, the funniest part of every matte-painting. Defining the details, is the final touch that you should keep for the end. On top of every layer in your Photoshop file, you add layers only for drawing over. You add all the small detail that makes the overall look more realistic and rich in colors. I painted small lights, signs and billboards, reflections, kick light, highlights, windows, etc (Fig.13).
Color-corrects and adjustment mode are very useful to reproduce the same effects that you want to reach when you do a good photo. You can play with the white balance, brightness and contrast, the hue, etc. This is what I do at the very end, on top of everything else (Fig.14).
Well that concludes this making of and I hope you found it of very informative.