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Making Of 'Pier Duty'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Now is a good time to clean up the background building on the far right. I put in another building on the left to give it more depth (Fig.07).

Fig. 07

I spent some time working out a simple design of the main building. Again still looks rough but we'll get back to that later. (Fig.08)

Fig. 08

Time for some weather effects. This place needs a good strong side wind. I opened up a new layer and quickly indicated some moisture being blown across in front of the main building, as well as added some puddles on the ground. (Fig.9) The good thing about doing this on a layer is that I can still use a big textured chalk brush to lay down a large shape, and come back with a small eraser and erase into that shape to carve out the details. I also threw in a little bit of highlight on the building in the back to make it look like that wave is casting a shadow over the structure. Perhaps the wave is getting a little off scale here. I mean that thing is like...250 feet tall. We'll have to fix that later.

Fig. 09

The sketch is coming along nicely for the most part, but the sky still seems a little too flat. I was hoping to keep it simple and have everything blend into the misty atmosphere, however right now it's just not creating enough eye movement. To fix this I opened up a new layer, and put down a subtle gradient using a large airbrush, (Fig.10-a) then changed the layer option to "multiply". (Fig.10-b) This helped to tone down the background value and emphasize the light source.

Fig. 10a

Fig. 10b

Next I flipped the canvas to check the composition. ( Fig.11) I also decided to crop in on the 2 characters, sort of bring them closer to the center and make them the focus. (Fig.12) The standing figure can be a guard, the shape to the right can be his booth or something, and I sort of like the potential drama between him and the biker chick. Of course the composition would have to be adjusted since cropping in kind of killed some of the depth the piece had before, but at this point the basic "staging" is done. From now on it's just a matter of detailing it out till I can call it done.

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

Here's the image after some polishing. (Fig.13) The actual rendering process can seem quite dull even on a loose piece such as this one. I was pretty much moving all over the place, sampling colors and working on things in no particular order. But it's really nothing special, just the same old things I did during the block-in, only repeated on a finer scale. I'll do my best to sum up some key steps.

Fig. 13

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