The guys at 3DTotal.com recently asked me to write a Making Of my "Warehouse" image that recently won an Excellence Award in their Concept Art category. So, here it is. This image was not created for a commercial job, but was more of a concept sketch I made as a practice in a single day. I just wanted to try a composition consisting of both photography and a painted element. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to mix a real environment with painted humanoid creatures.
I took a warehouse image made byMiles Pfefferleas the base because I like the mood of industrial environments. Searching for the best reference I picked this one out because of the nice lighting and interesting "through the window" point of view (Fig.01).
Another thing I knew before starting this piece was that I wanted to use a cinematographic 2,39:1 aspect ratio (often wrongly interpreted as 2,35:1). This choice would give me the film screen capture look I was going for and which I could then use in my future film project as a reference. So I comped Miles's photography to the appropriate format in Photoshop and made some light corrections with ImageAdjustments> Levels.
I emphasized the mysterious atmosphere of the view by covering some of the side windows with a black layer. This way I got the isolated space for future character, but the black areas were still part of the building, although they have no visual information (Fig.02).
Next I moved the image to Corel Painter. This was because I prefer to paint inPainter as I have a traditional painting background and I‘ve found the workflow in this software to be more intuitive. On the other hand, the work with layers and various masking effects is more comfortable and clear inPhotoshop, so I tend to use the best of both.
After several rough tryouts the final line art of the creature was made. I wasn't too bothered about details and carefully thought-out anatomy at this stage since it was only meant to be a fast practice (Fig.03).
I split the character into two parts: the first one behind the pure glass and the second behind the structured glass. The body was formed with the Oilbrush at the beginning. With a help of theDropper tool I sampled the whole environment to get the base color palette for the creature while making sure that some part of the original structure of the glass plates and light was kept. The job on this part was finished with a touch of warm tones to the skin and a rim light created by Screenlayer modewith 20% opacity (Fig.04).