Next I added more detail to the ship, which was all hand done. I also added a band of clearer sky near the horizon and started to detail out the edges of the cliff. I kept my main design but refined the drawing. In the close ups you can see the loose brush strokes of the block in and then the more tattered torn edge I got later by reworking it with a scatter brush (dynamics turned on) (Fig.06a - b).
I needed to address the very ambiguous edge of the ship itself. This idea was working in the sketch but as the image got more refined and finished it wasn't working as well. I made a path and carved out a cleaner edge to the underside of the ship. I also made a few more mesas, pulled out the lower cliff face and added waves to separate it from the water. When I say "pulled out" I mean making a quick selection and doing a transform/warp. That way I keep all my drawing, but modify it so it fits in with the overall perspective better. I also added a few more windows to the ship (Fig.07).
I made some value adjustments and added some clouds in the upper right. The plane of the sky is just as important as the ground plane in giving an image depth. Adding some larger cloud shapes it and reinforces this (Fig.08).
The ground seemed so bare that I ended up adding a city to break up the flatness. The ship was coming together and that revealed the blandness of the ground. I was careful to make sure the perspective of the streets and buildings conformed to my established perspective. This is the difference between a good and great image. It's taking the time with the details that makes a piece look professional (Fig.09a - b).
The side of the ship was looking a little too simple so I found some images of ocean liners and warped/transformed them to fit into my shape. The scale was working better after that I think (Fig.10).
I finished by adding more lights under the ship and some subtle warping on the underside of the ship's cowl. Then it was time to sign it and move on to the next one... (Fig.11).
Fig. 11 - Click to Enlarge
To see more by Robh Ruppel, check out Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
and Digital Art Masters: Volume 7