Making Of 'Welcome to 2010'
My brother Surat Toimastov is professional photographer who travels a lot and shoots different places here in Tajikistan. Looking through his amazing pictures sometimes I am really shocked by how beautiful and mysterious these places can be.
So the story of this image begins from this photo (Fig.01), which was taken somewhere in the Pamir Mountains. I was really inspired by this photo and started to imagine some kind of structurs or industrial complex just behind that horizon line.
So I took the photo and quickly put the main forms and ideas down as a quick sketch (Fig.02). I wanted this structure to rise over the top of the mountain and wanted to really emphasize the size of this structure. I also wanted to have the people in the image arriving at some kind of arctic base or something similar and so I put some guards and flying machines along their path.
After establishing the main composition and shapes I tried to establish the mood that I wanted to deliver (Fig.03). I wanted to go with blue-cyanish color palette that could reinforce the cold and snow-filled atmosphere that is common at these high altitudes. I also added some lights and spot lights to make the place come to life.
Up to this point, there were no difficult technical issues in terms of the drawing; everything was simply created by using basic Photoshop brushes. The only thing I want to mention is my use of the Lasso tool (L). To create these sharp and straight lines I selected the desired region with the Lasso tool and painted inside it with a brush.
Besides the mood, I was also thinking about title for this image and I ended up with "Welcome to 2010". You can see it painted on the main building. Why not? I thought that this image could reflect my own wish to move to somewhere more technological and sophisticated in this brand new decade.
Anyway, let's return to the painting. After I was happy with the overall structure of the image, the long process of detailing started. If you are trying to paint some industrial or technical stuff, it is good to plot the perspective grid (Fig.04). For this you can use Line tool (U).
I plotted my perspective grid with different colors. Each point stands out for a vanishing point. The amount of vanishing points depends on the structure and the camera angle you want to go with. Of course at this stage basic perspective knowledge is very welcome. Otherwise you can spend a lot of time detailing the piece, but if perspective is not right your image won`t work.
So I think that in the case of this image in particular, correct perspective was one of the crucial things. Also to reinforce vertical perspective lines, I put some spot lights flashing directly to the sky.
After setting up the right perspective, I started to detail the main building (Fig.05). This was the most time consuming part of the creation process with a lot of selection with the Lasso tool and painting. To make it more realistic I used textured brushes to simulate the concrete texture of the building. To be familiar with industrial buildings it is good to go through some photo references. Look through some factories, nuclear reactors or whatever you can find. Because even if you are trying to create something original, you have to base it on something that people are familiar with.
So I placed a lot of pipes, bridges, containers and so on inside that main structure. Another thing that I included here was the construction site on the left of the image. I wanted this thing to look like it was still constructed.
Now it was time to detail the background (Fig.06). You can see that I put two more buildings in the background to create more depth and reinforce the scale.
To make the place come alive, I also added a lot of lights, smoke, walking people and small details that suggest action and motion (Fig.07).
You can see those details that I added more clearly in Fig.08. Some of the details might seem tiny, but I still like to draw them. Things like smoke, flares and falling particles; to paint these kind of details it is good to observe life around you. There is so much going on around us and what we only need to do is observe and reflect those things in our paintings.
After I'd finished painting the details I added a radial blur (Zoom) to the whole picture. This helped to bring a cinematic effect to the image. I also added a little bit of graining, again to simulate that cinematic feel.
And here's the finished image (Fig.09)!
So there are three important steps that I would advise you to try to follow when you're creating an image:
Try to set up a cool composition and mood. This can come from a very brief sketch, but if it looks interesting as a thumbnail then it will probably be cool when you detail it.
Set up you perspective and make things look proper. If you are working on character design, take your time to set up proper anatomy.
Bring in lots of tiny details that will make your art to stand out.
Of course, these are not rules. These are just suggestions and procedures that can make your art better.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via email. Thank you and good luck!
To see more by Jama Jurabaev, check out
Sketching from the Imagination: An Insight into Creative Drawing
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Digital Art Masters: Volume 7
and Photoshop for 3D Artists