Making Of 'The Destroyer'
Hello, I'm Edvige. Welcome to the Making of The Destroyer, which is an image done completely in Photoshop. This was a personal project where I just wanted to have fun with. I will be describing the painting process that I go through to create one of my concepts.
In this case my idea was to create something heavy, massive and menacing, like some big mechanical machine that looked like a mechanical spider. I thought to set the machine in a dusty environment with a dense atmosphere to give more sense of drama to the whole scene, so I started to fill the canvas with a light color to set the background tone, using a simple default Photoshop brush and beige and earthy tones from the color tablet. It's always good to consider the atmosphere of a scene at this stage as it will make the image stronger and more realistic.
Here we are on the most important step in the whole process. It is here that you define everything: composition, shapes, balance, angle etc (Fig.01 - 02).
As you can see I started with a classical centered composition, which concentrates the view onto the most important object: the Destroyer. Notice the proportions: the robot silhouette is filling almost all the canvas space available, which makes the subject even bigger.
I really wanted to work quickly so after I'd established the general values I started to have fun with Photoshop's other brushes to better define all the machine and the other objects in the scene, like the burned machine relic. I have hundreds of brushes, but basically I always use the same bunch of favorites. Some of them have interesting textures that can, sometimes, naturally generate three-dimensional effects.
Another relevant aspect I needed to consider was the sense of depth, otherwise the objects in my scene would seem too flat. By simply adding a big arm of the spider in the foreground I rapidly obtained that feeling of depth and values did the rest (Fig.03).
At this stage I started to integrate some textures to add detail to the robot and get some color variation. I used some mechanical element pictures, which I manipulated and distorted with level style like Screen, Multiply or Luminosity mode, and then with the transformation tools. With this trick Photoshop will keep all the details of the image you are manipulating without losing the information of the image below, which is really useful when you need textures.
Brushes will help you to push details of the textures forward, defining better light and shadow (Fig.04 - 07).
In the meanwhile I had to take care of the environment too. Adding simple elements like buildings and flying vehicles silhouettes gave the illusion of a city under siege. I needed to match the robot design with the design of the city's building, so I went for futuristic shapes. I used the Square brushes to define the basic shapes and then created interesting edges with the square Eraser tool (Fig.08).
Now it was time to add lights on the armor and on the legs of the machine. This is the step I love the most as working with lights bring your image to life! We should always be aware of the source and direction of light during the whole painting process. For that reason it is important to define principal lights sources in the early steps of the process and consider how different surfaces react to light. For example, shining surfaces or sharp one have completely different reactions (Fig.09).
In the final steps, I did some post-work here and there. I added some dust to the finished buildings in the background. Then I used Curves to adjust the image colors to warm tones in order to obtain an oppressive and superheated atmosphere. I also brought up the light's incandescence and highlights, creating a black level and set it to Color Dodge mode. By choosing an airbrush tool and selecting a color you can influence the tone of the incandescence. In this case, I thought a warm color was appropriate.
By this point the light on the robot was making it stand out even more and the atmosphere seemed interesting to me as well. And with that the work was finished for me (Fig.10).
I had a lot of fun creating this image, particularly because it was just a free expression of my imagination and a moment to paint and have fun with brushes.