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The making of ‘NortWinder’

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Date Added: 29th September 2017
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Massimo Porcella reveals the process behind his image NortWinder, sharing top tips for using SketchUp for concepting.


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In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to create a quick fantasy mood concept, starting from the initial concept sketch using SketchUp and explaining the use of colors and textures steps-by-step.

Step 1: SketchUp (blocking composition) and base colors

The very first step for this concept is to use the 3D program SketchUp to obtain some shapes and blocks as a base for the composition. To draw a simple rectangle shape in SketchUp simply click on the dropdown box on the circle icon on the toolbar and select Rectangle. You can then create the rectangle by clicking onto the canvas to anchor the first corner then you can set your second corner to create the rectangle. You can then use the Push/Pull Tool to pull the rectangle up into a 3D shape. The Line tool allows you to draw other shapes in the same way.

Then, I use a render to set some mood, playing around with lights and shadows. You can do this in SketchUp using the Shadows Toolbar (View > Shadows).

Once I am satisfied with my composition, I export the file into Photoshop, go to File > Export > 2D Graphic which will bring up a dialogue box of options and save as a JPEG. In Photoshop I start to put down some base colors with the Gradient tool in color and Soft Light ? these subtle tones will be the main color palette for the mood.

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Step 2: Texturing base

Once the base colors are set I start to add textures to the entire scene. I add in theses textures in Soft Light and Normal mode, using the Eraser tool and a soft brush set to the Transfer option (creates a fade on both ends of your brush stroke) and erase some parts of the textures where necessary. Then taking a texture brush, I mix the two techniques together. Finally, I trace a line of clouds and roughly sketch out the sky.

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Step 3: Background, sky mood and details

I now begin to work very intensively on the background, adding little details to the mountains and sky, strengthening the light by adding shades in Soft Light mode and increasing (painting over) the texture on a Normal mode.

I also add the atmospheric mood of the sky (painting in normal mode with active transfer option) to give more depth and movement to the scene.

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Step 4: Details and contrasts

I accentuate the light and contrast further with a Curves mask to increase the mood which characterizes the scene. The next step is to refine the entire environment, so I proceed using a brush in Normal mode, painting all the details in the foreground.

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continued on next page >

 
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