The first of three tutorials create by Alex Ruiz and reworded by Lloyd Harvey (with permission of course) for this blog.
1) Starting off in Photoshop and in greyscale, Alex created the character silhouette up close and roughly, not worrying about details at this point. Next he added a bluish green gradient, set to multiply and then started adding detail to the character. He did this by setting the paint brush to colour dodge and added light to parts of the helmet, body suit and in the background.
2) Next he extended the canvas out to the right and painted in some no non-descript textured light using big shapes. There is no detail at this stage but the brush strokes will serve as a basis for when story elements are painted in. Sometimes, painting abstract shapes like this can create bodies or entities that can be transformed into something that wasn’t originally planned.
3) Detail is now added and if you look closely in picture 2, you can almost see the faint lines that served as compositional guidelines for the perspective and the buildings. More detail is added to the character and distant lights to the buildings using the same colour dodge technique from before.
4) The Canvas is extended again for a more epic view and more work is spent on the buildings. What now appears to be a shoreline was created using some photos that were blended together and orange tones are worked into the character’s attire that serve as a nice contrast against the blue.
5) The painting area is widened once more with the intention to give it a cinematic feel. The details of the buildings are worked further, making them scaffolding like in appearance. This was done using numerous custom shapes, circles and rectangles that were warped to different perspectives and angles. More characters are painted in also (just over the closest characters shoulder and middle distance) and the colour palette is changed to more green yellow tones and reflective detail is painted onto the gun the main character is holding.
6) Using a colour dodge layer, more light is added to the painting and numerous ships worked into give a sense of movement. The painting is now complete.
7) Looking at the details added to the mask, you can see the design elements in the blue goggles and also on the gun. The close up of the shore line you can see how simple but massively effective the photo references have been blended into the painting and how it conveys lots of smaller buildings. In the final close up, you can see the amount of custom shapes used and how they were used.
For more of Alex's work, go to his website.
Also see www.shrunkenheaddesign.co.uk