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Painting an Imaginary World

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Date Added: 9th September 2014
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Painting a fantasy world based on a story is always challenging work; in 9 steps Rabie Rahou will reveal his key techniques to achieve this.

In my spare time I imagined a fantastic world that I named the "World of Tosor" ('in a parallel future exists an immortal powerful lord named Tosor. Both discreet and fair, he guarantees the peace and harmony
of the world.').

In this article, I will show how I painted the first piece of the series, World of Tosor. I will walk through different techniques for the lighting and shading. Also, I will discuss the framing and the compositing of a
successful scene.

Step 1: Framing and the composition

First, I painted a good composition in grey value. This step is foundational for the rest of the work. It determines if this work has potential to become a high value piece or just another sketch in the hard drive.

In order to have a decent composition, we have to correctly order the elements as the ?foreground', the ?subject', and
the ?background'.

To create depth, elements closer to the viewer should be darker and elements further away should be brighter.

I paint only the most important elements, I try to convey the story with minimum details

Step 2: Lighting

The composition is good. At this point I start to give some shading to the model. I will try different lighting from different directions. The character lighting will determine how I will paint the lighting for the rest of the scene. After a few years of painting you can develop an instinctive reflex to know what kind of lighting will be the best. In this case, I knew that if the key light reflects on his back I will achieve a mystical effect, creating a sense of mystery with his face unlit.

I try different lighting in order to define the best suitable setup for the main character and the story

Step 3: Coloring

Let's not get too crazy. I know when it comes to coloring we want try everything. But let's start in the red/yellow spectrum.

I choose to color the main character with the red. This choice will affect everything in this image. As we see in the first image, the result is not very exciting. But in image 2, when I added the fur on the creature with a more contrasting color, I start have some results.

In the next step I will show my techniques to paint hair and fur.

The first choice of colors will affect all the work later

Step 4: Painting hair and fur

Basically, there are two steps: hair creation and hair brushing.

In the vignette A, I painted some hair in different directions with the Dune grass brush. Afterwards, I start brushing and styling with the Smudge tool using the flat angle brush.

In the vignette B, I brushed it and added an ambient light to look fluffy.

In the vignette C, I wanted to have smooth hair. So I added more contrast and eliminated the thin hairs.

In the vignette D, I wanted to try a curly effect so I brushed in curly/circular motions. I added some lighting to make the hair look fluffier rather than smooth.

In the vignette E, the hair is thicker and denser. It is the kind of fur that I want on my creature.

The lighting and brushing are the keys to creating believable hair and fur

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Rabie Rahou on Sat, 20 September 2014 2:04pm
Hi Javier, thank you for the comment.
Javier on Wed, 10 September 2014 11:06pm
Good job. A detail your comment about Fibonnaci sequence, this man is everywhere.
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