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The making of ‘Future of Dubai’

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Date Added: 16th June 2017
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Fathel F. Jasim leads us through the thought process and techniques he used to create his sci-fi environment in Photoshop.


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I usually like to create Sci-Fi environments imagining how the world could be in the future, especially in Dubai, because it has outstanding revolutions of construction and technology in the last twenty years.

Though the architecture in Dubai right now is outstanding, I believe the future holds more amazing surprises of towers, bridges and breathe taking high buildings. Transportation alone is a whole other-worldly area; flying cars, personal planes and futuristic bus transportation with portals.


Step 1: The best inspiration photo

Usually when I visit any place I take hundreds of photos to use as reference for my concepts. This photo from my visit to Philadelphia state was a perfect angle for this concept. Then I extended this photo to be a wide image to include the rest of the buildings and details that I decided to add.

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Step 2: Perspective

The perspective grid is very important when creating good concept art (you can draw one in on a separate layer in Photoshop to easily check your perspective), the information built from it helps you a lot in finding the right position of the new buildings and the elements.

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Step 3: Building design

Here I started to use some photos for the façade of buildings following the perspective grid and painted over them with the new style I wished to convey.

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Step 4: Depth

It?s really very important to take care of the depth in your concept, layering the background into foreground makes the image more realistic, the more middle layers you add in between strengthens the meaning of depth. I enjoy this step the most as it brings my drawing to life from a simple sketch on a paper.

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Step 5: Lighting

The lighting is a very crucial part in any concept, so I placed my warm light source on the right behind the shadowed architecture. Dubai has warm weather in the summer with some dust sometimes. I added some blue lights in the foreground to give an interesting feeling of the contrast between the warm and cool lights. Lighting is the key to magic; always give it your best.

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Step 6: Adding details and values

I added a lot of details in this step such as landing ports, more windows, doors, flying cars and spaceships with motion.

I check my values in a black and white scheme to see the range that I have used. Having the image in balance where the darkest and the lightest areas are used more conservatively, guarantees the concept to have the best impression.

Rechecking your piece over and over during different times of day and mood will always help you to see different angles to it. Don?t be afraid to retouch your work and always trust your eye.

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Related links

More of Fathel F. Jasim's work here
For tips on matte painting, check out our e-books

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