My name is Frank Hong and I'm a concept artist based in Toronto Canada.
The City of Angels matte painting was a personal piece I finished in 2009. It's more of a spontaneous piece since I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted going into the process. As there wasn't a brief, I was free to take the image
in any direction I wanted.
To create an environment, setting the right mood and atmosphere is, in my opinion, the most important part. It's like giving personality to a character; it just needs to be there. In this case, I decided to create a sci-fi cityscape at dawn and to take advantage of the morning fog to get the cold and dead feeling I wanted.
In my research for the piece, I liked the looks of the not-so-perfect cityscape. Tall, old buildings and messy layouts spoke to me better than clean cut matchbox sci-fi. I wanted to use this contrast between the new and the old. I took
a reference image and horizontally copied it three times (Fig.01) making the connection almost seamless. This
filled the left part of the city base.
When I create a new image, I like to go through my research folder and decide which picture I am going to use for what. In this case I already had an idea of the picture that was going to fill the right side of the city. This was a great image that gave me a lot of reflections on roof tops and just the right amount of fog to separate the mid ground to background layers (Fig.02).
I copied the silhouette of the background buildings over from the right side (Fig.03). Because there was such a difference in light direction in the two images I used, there was quite a bit of work to do to make them sit in the same image.
I wanted to find a good mood for the image and the green was starting to look a bit harsh to me. With a Color Balance adjustment layer, I was able to raise the red in the picture, and get something like this (Fig.04).
Next I looked for an image of the sky. Something like the one I found worked great because it matched the intensity of the light. The direction of the light source seemed to complement the city too (Fig.05).