How I Make Art – Space Battles Part 5

On with the battle!

Last session/post I had just finished up on the main body of work, now it is time to start adding the details from lighting to the action!

Before I can add any light and shadow to the image to start blending the image together I need to add in all of the light sources, namely big bangs and phaser fire! To start with I paint in the main big explosion in the centre of the picture. I want it to look as if the ship has just gone bang! This means I get to add in bits of derbies scattering through the sky, it also makes it a little more dynamic.

To paint the explosion I use one of my favourite custom brushes, it is great for everything from clouds to smoke, to texture, and general blocking. I start with black, move to a deep red then orange, then yellow and finally an off white. As I go, using the same brush, I block in some bits of shattered spaceship and once finished with the explosion I add some detail to the debries.

One big bang done, now on to the rest.

Working on all of the smaller explosions at the same time, it is a quick way of getting multiple similar things done, I add one large blast and several 'flack' explosions. Now I know that in Star Trek you don't have any anti-aircraft cannons that blow those really cool explosions in the air like something out of a World War II film, however they look so cool though that I'm adding them anyway.

Next, explosions out of the way I start to add in some battle damage to the ships. First off I set one the the USS Honor's engines on fire. The fire is painted in the same way that I painted the explosions. The only difference is that I paint in some electrical 'lightning' with a standard paintbrush and use a similar method to crack the front of the engine a little.

While I'm setting things on fire I set the the side of the battle cruiser aflame too and add in some photon torpedoes flying about. Before I move on to the phaser fire I want to add a sense of speed to the 'bugs'. To achieve this later I will add some blur, for now though I add in a stream of cloud from the tips of the craft. It is a bit like when you see a jet fighter cutting through the air at high speed.

As I just said, phaser fire next. While I'm adding in the phaser fire I also add in the shield 'bounce' as the energy of the phaser is absorbed by the ships shields. I always think this looks cool in the TV shows and films when they pull it off right.

To paint the shield bounce I use an airbrush to gradually build up the colour and then use a custom brush to add in the crackles.

Switching on the SFX layer that I used to plan out the big bangs and fireworks it all seems to have landed as I intended – cool!

Now the hard bit: detail, detail, detail! And let's not forget it all has to blend together too!

For no reason other then I feel like it, I start at the top left with the 'bugs' and add in lighting effects, shadows, etc with a standard paintbrush and using my most awesome custom smudge brush to get blending away!

I wasn't long before I ran out of time and had to stop. However, I have made a lot of progress on the painting in this session and I am confident that I will get this one done in the next.


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