The making of ‘Ghost Ship’

Ishikawa Tomoya reveals the thought process and workflow behind his atmospheric image, Ghost Ship

In Japan, my job is to make architectural perspective and having always wanted to draw a perspective freely outside work, Ghost ship was made.

My concept art always starts by building up rough images in my head, not on paper. This will be my base to start constructing my visual. This makes my painting speed swift and more efficient. My ideas are inspired by daily visits to the 3dtotal homepage and looking at different artists' work.

Step 01: Paint

As I mentioned above, a rough idea is built up in my head, so I can start painting right away. The final form in my head is a ghost ship that appears into the shore, lit by the moonlight glowing in the dark. First, I decide the overall perspective and the darkness of the atmosphere.

Step 02: Photos and lighting

Secondly, I start to add each part. I gather images that are suitable for this work from and Thinking about direct moonlight and diffuse reflections from sea surface, I add details of highlights which should appear on the ship's corners and surfaces.

Step 03: Atmosphere

I add fog between the ship and rock, creating the unique atmosphere into the scene. At this point, I felt a little emptiness in the perspective, so I added more rocks to the foreground.

Step 04: Balancing the image

When the work starts to come together, I lower the intensity of the whole scene. By doing this, I can check the balance of shading. From this I noticed that:

1. The ship and the rock are too close; the ship isn't balanced with the rock.
2. The moonlight on the rock placed on both sides of the scene is not enough, which made it impossible to recognize the shape.
3. Less shadowing on the foreground made the scene flat and didn't create enough depth to the scene.

Step 05: Adding in final highlights

From the points mentioned above, I moved the ship and made the rock smaller, creating more space in between. Thinking about the direction of the moonlight, I added more highlights to objects. Also I added highlights made by the reflections from the sea's surface, which appears on the rocks.

Adding highlights in opposite directions to foreground objects, makes them stand out more which creates depth to the scene. The strong highlights from the moonlight to the ship help it to stand out as the main object.

 Final image

Final image

Related links

Check out Ishikawa's webite
Take a look at Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Sci-Fi and Fantasy from the 3dtotal shop

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