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Making of 'Spider's Web'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Next I inserted the monster into the background of the matte painting (Fig.12 & Fig.13) and added the fog. I increased the saturation of the light, with gave me a warmer atmosphere.

Fig. 12
Fig. 13

At this point, I stopped for a moment and took a step back so that I could examine the image with fresh eyes. The result of this was that I found that the image wasn't quite legible and that it was overloaded with content. So I removed the monster and everything else that was bothering me (Fig.14).

After removing the monster, there was an empty space in the painting that I decided to fill with a large rock (Fig.15). To add further balance and break up the symmetry between the light and dark areas, I added some new textures and increased the atmosphere of the image. All of this helped me to find a better composition.

Fig. 14
Fig. 15

Fig.16 shows another rock that I added to enhance the light and give a feeling a depth.

Fig. 16

Fig.17 shows how I integrated textures within the image. The rock was flat, so to make it three-dimensional, I applied soft light to one of the textures. The images that I used were a combination of high-definition images that I purchased from Shutterstock and pictures I took with my own camera.

Fig. 17

I created the cave with black paint and then added a texture of an actual canvas (Fig.18). Frame 1 gives the impression that the canvas is artificial, whereas Frame 2 is much more natural. I worked the light into the canvas so that the fabric was not too loud or too discreet. For Frame 3 I wanted to use fireflies to give a little life to the cave. The image is a photograph of the stars that I applied using screen mode, which I find is more natural than trying to produce the specks of lights manually with a brush.

Fig. 18

Fig.19 shows the various layers that I used for the light:

  • Layer 1 - an image that I applied the following to: layer style, colour overlay, dark green colour, opacity 51%
  • Layer 2 - air brush, opacity 60%
  • Layer 3 - sky brush, opacity 36%
  • Layer 4 - a technique that I often use for light and fog; I create a layer and apply the clouds filter, a black colour and white soft light with an opacity of 30%
  • Layer 5 - red, grey, black, 31% opacity
  • Layer 6 - aerograph brush, opacity 28%
  • Layer 7 - aerograph brush overlay, opacity 28%

Fig. 19

Fig.20 shows the image without global illumination.

Fig. 20

I then applied four adjustment layers to the whole image, the settings for which can be seen in Fig.21.

Fig. 21

The final image can be seen in Fig.22.

Fig. 22

As you can see, there is a clear sequence of steps in my work, and that is because I always record each step in jpg format. This is for two reasons; the first is that it allows me to see how a piece has progressed from concept to the final image and the second is as a back-up.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Making Of and I hope you found it interesting and useful!

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