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Tips: Manuel Robles

Concept artist Manuel Robles offers advice on finding inspiration and organizing your ideas, as well as a quick cheat to help with perspective...

Concept artist Manuel Robles offers advice on finding inspiration and organizing your ideas, as well as a quick cheat to help with perspective...

Tip 1: Ideation and inspiration

Software: PureRef (Free Software)
Sometimes it can be difficult to find fresh ideas, when you find that happening try different ways to find inspiration, such as going out for a walk, or looking for inspiration in movies and books. Once you have an idea you can compile a bunch of reference images to help you. PureRef is a great way to view them; you can resize, move, rotate your images and more, and you can copy and paste directly into Photoshop.

Some inspiration images from Predator and Jurassic Park movies

Some inspiration images from Predator and Jurassic Park movies

Tip 2: 3D and good composition

Software: 3D-Coat
I think that composition is one of the most important parts of design. There's a few good ways to improve your composition skills: you can study movies, do small black and white thumbnails, and so on. One very useful way the use of 3d software, you can use 3D-Coat to sculpt a quick 3d base geometry like a sketch, and then look the composition at the same time that you are sculpting.

From the viewport you can try different views and compositions

From the viewport you can try different views and compositions

Tip 3: Camera and light in 3d

Software: MODO
You can export your scene from 3D-Coat to Modo; here you can change your camera view to a long or wide lens, change the lighting, change the ratio and apply textures. You can improvise on your ideas with different cameras and angles to find the best composition for you, then just hit render and open the image in Photoshop for the next phase of your project.

Render from MODO with light direction and a wide lens

Render from MODO with light direction and a wide lens

Tip 4: Photobashing with fundamentals of painting

Software: Photoshop
When photobashing its important to look for specific photos, you want images that will evoke the idea you have mind, and that are going to work well in the render. Its essential that all your photos are high resolution and have the same light direction as your render. Having good painting fundamentals and an understanding of how light behaves is essential at this stage. Two techniques you can use here are Match color and overpaint to get the image together.

Photos together with basic color corrections and matching the perspective

Photos together with basic color corrections and matching the perspective

Tip 5: Painting fundamentals and references

Software: Photoshop & PureRef (Free Software)
Painting and fixing the structure of the image is crucial. Its important to make the focal point visible, painting fundamentals are really important; you also have to be confident enough to know that if you didn't find the right photo you can paint and make it yourself. Remember; you get this by using a lot of quality references to work from.

Finished Image, you can use PureRef to view your references

Finished Image, you can use PureRef to view your references

Related links

Check out Manuel Robles work at his page
Brush up on your painting techniques with Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Characters
Take it to the next level with a copy of Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 8

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