'Digital Painting'

'The Corridor'
by Richard Tilbury

Introduction :

This particular scene was designed with the intention of making a 3D version (This tutorial can be seen here) which would hopefully have a little more clarity after having been explored as a 2D digital image first. My aim was to create a scene that relied more on light and textures as opposed to geometry. I therefore opted for a simple corridor environment using some basic one point perspective and ending with a doorway. I started by drawing a rough sketch of a scene with some pillars along both walls which I then used to make an alternative version but this time suggesting a more Sc-Fi orientated environment with some pipework. The perspective and vanishing points in both sketches are consistent along with the proportions of the space and it is only the details lining the walls that differs.

By doing a digital painting I was able to explore various lighting effects and the impact these may have on the scene as a whole. I find it is very useful to rough out ones ideas in the form of sketches and concept paintings as it is a far quicker way of working and can save much time further down the line when transposing the ideas into 3D. Anyway without saying too much more I will get on with the tutorial in which I shall endeavour to break down and outline the process and techniques involved.

Step 1 :

The first stage as already mentioned is to do a basic sketch of our scene which we can then scan and import into Photoshop (see the image below). You can see from the drawing that I have decided to raise the pillars of the floor in order to give the scene a bit more interest. You will also notice that the ceiling has two vents or skylights cut into it which will be our light source in the image. There will be no artificial light just natural sunlight filtering from these two openings. This will afford me the opportunity to use some high contrast between the light and dark areas and create some drama through the pools of light along the floor area and shadows cast by the pillars.


Step 2 :

With the drawing now scanned and imported into Photoshop we can begin by breaking down our image into areas that will recieve varying degrees of light and then creating selection areas around these, filling them in with a grey colour and saving each out as a different layer (see the image to the left). These layers when complete can be saved into a sub-folder and named accordingly by creating a new set which will make it easier to navigate through our file (see the image to the right). You can see from the diagram that by altering the layer opacity we can alter the lighting quality very quickly but more importantly it will enable quick selection of parts of the scene throughout the painting process when boundaries are blurred by numerous layers and lighting effects. It just means that we can edit our image right up until the very end if need be and have access to crisp edged selection areas when we want to draw in finer and more precise details etc.

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