The Making of “ Renaissance”
By Marco Bauriedel
Software Used: Photoshop
The base image needed to be cleaned up first before anything else (Fig.01a). The second stage was to create an extension of the image, following the concept of leading onto a matte painting in which the National History Museum would be set in a natural environment, as if in existence sometime in the future. I started off by taking the base image of the National History Museum and painting/Clone Stamping the people out of it (Fig.01b). The Lasso tool was used to select parts of the image, which were then copied, rotated, flipped and scaled to fit into another location (Fig.01c). Making selections of a shape by guessing how it would continue in a covered/extended area, then Clone Stamping in some noise from a similar part of the image and color correcting it, is another nice way to work (Fig.01d).
It is important to give some visual variation to duplicated parts. You can easily achieve this by painting some dirt, erasing things, or using the Sharpen brush. The idea is to imitate the colors, and the overall sharpness and grain of photography. After cleaning up the image, perspective lines were used to extend the image (Fig.02 – 03).
I created some concepts in order to get an idea about how to put the museum into a natural environment. Clone Stamping some photography into your painted concepts might also help to imagine the desired look very early on in the process. For the concept to work it was important to color correct the building in a way that it could be integrated into the background scene (Fig.04). To be honest I should have spent more time thinking about perspective issues in the concept phase. As you can see here, I didn’t take a lot of care with the rocky shore concept (Fig.05); I wanted to sort of zoom out of the building to give the viewer a glimpse of the surrounding landscape, although I did expect to encounter a lot of problems with the lens distortion of the original photograph with this idea.
I decided to continue with the rocky water landscape concept, because of the drama that it expressed to me. And so I started by extending a rocky shore photograph (Fig.06). Sharpness, shapes and colors were imitated, without copying elements one-to-one from the landscape image, by painting and Clone Stamping. After extending and color correcting the image, a sky and several objects were then added. The National History Museum was roughly adjusted into perspective and shaped to match the look of the concept. Adding some rough reflections and shadows helped me to tie the image together at this stage, and allowed me to spot any problems (Fig.07).
I chose to get away from the dark mood and went for a warmer color instead. Adding the sun and lighting, the whole scene was done by painting light on different layers, with some set to Dodge blending mode. To achieve the glossy look of the stones, I painted sharp highlights, such as on the water’s surface. I used a custom brush that scattered the tint depending on the pen pressure, and used a motion-blurred noise layer for most highlights (Fig.08). I was then able to add all of the really fun details.
Finally, some more perspective correction of the building was done, without destroying the drama of its alignment in the whole image. Seaweed and water movement were painted around the foreground rocks to get some more variation in the whole piece. The cityscape on the right was also added at this point, and the background rock beside Big Ben was given a more realistic, hazy look to set it further into the distance. The stairs of the National History Museum were then broken down into pieces, and the lighting was adjusted accordingly (Fig.09 – 10).
And here is the final image. Sometimes it’s hard to keep photorealism in photographic parts when color correcting and painting. Of course, the perfection of those skills comes with time, and I’m always personally learning and trying to improve and hone my techniques. I’d like to thank Dave Edwards for providing the photo for this matte painting; I hope this tutorial can give you an interesting insight into how an image such as this can be created.
Excerpt from Digital Painting Techniques by 3DTotal.com © 2009 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.