How I Make Some Art: Space Battles – Part 2

Here is the second part of how I am putting together a Star Trek space battle for a painting inspired by the writing of Wayne M. Thomason. In this post it might not seem that a lot has changed by the end of it, however I have now hit the 'fiddly' stage of the art where I am applying a lot of detail and there for there is no big changes to the over all image.

When I left the painting last I was almost finished with the USS Kusanagi a Akira class federation star ship. So this is where I pick up again adding the finishing touches, mostly the warp engine and the deflector dish glow. This is simply done with a mix of a Normal layer setting and an Overlay layer setting. I then just use the standard airbrush to add the 'glow'.

Once I am happy with it I move to the other side of the image and the USS Crusader, a Nebula class star ship. I start as I did with the others, convert the silhouette from black to grey and generate a mask from it to ensure I don't stray outside the lines.

Again, I gradually build up the colours and details until I am happy with the basic image of the ship.

As with the USS Kusanagi I now add things like warp engine glow, etc... I addition I also add a glowing blue ring across the bottom of the main saucer-section. I don't have any good reference images for the class of ship, so it is a little bit of improvisation inspired by a another class of Federation star ship. It is different, but I like it. So for now it stays.

At this point there is a little bit of a jump. My bad, I forgot to screen capture a couple of times. Anyway, You might be able to see that I have started on the Dominion ships, namely the fighters of the Jem'Hadar. The 'swarms' in the background, left and right, were just a simple case of laying on a few splodges of colour in the right place. They are so far of in the distance that there is little to no detail needed on them.

This means that they were finished nice and quickly. Shame I can't say the same for the mid to foreground ones. Now we are moving closer to the foreground and naturally I need to start to add more detail to the ships than I have been so far, and one thing the Jem'Hadar fighter has is plenty of that.

As with the other ships it is just a case of using the silhouette to build up the detail and colours. Once done I grab a nice purple colour from my colour palette and get adding the hull markings.

At this point I am only half way through the painting of the ships and so I'm kinda slapping on the markings – it will make sense later, stick with me.

Hull markings roughed in I now take a custom brush for 'dirtying' create two layers, one as Multiply and one as Overlay. Then using black on the Multiply layer I dirty up the dark areas, and with white I dirty up the light areas. The next step is to start to really detail up the ships. However, I have run out of time at this point and so this will have to be put off until next week.

Taking a look at the whole image, I think it is starting to take shape.

The plan for next week is to finish the Dominion fleet and get started on adding some action in the shape of phaser fire, explosions, and one or two photon torpedoes!


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