advanced photoshop

Feature preview: 15 tips for striking sci-fi

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Latest issue, by Anna-lisa Saywell

Industry experts explain how to master landscapes, creatures & vehicles

Feature preview: 15 tips for striking sci-fi

Blend 3D and Photoshop

Eddie Del Rio

This image is a concept illustration for a personal project that Del Rio is working on. This is one of the ‘speeder mechs’, each of which has their own aesthetic. Del Rio has a rough storyline in his head before he begins working on preliminary sketches and referring to all the research that he has gathered. “[At the end of that process], I had a 3D model (in Maya). I rendered it out with realistic, dramatic lighting and took that render into Photoshop. I used Photoshop to help pump up the drama and atmosphere and take it from a photo-real render to something that had a little more soul. At this point, I also added all the background details and characters to the scene.

“Painting metal and reflective objects really just means looking at your sky and surroundings and painting them reflected in the scene. Working with a 3D render means you often get a lot of detail, and sometimes too much – especially in reflections. I often find myself editing out detail in reflections. What I try to do is balance the look of reflections so that they don’t overpower the shape language that I worked so hard to incorporate. My job is to find the design in the story that a 3D program will take out of it, and that is usually when my painting and Photoshop skills come into play.”

Read more in Advanced Photoshop 117, on sale at and from 27 December 2013.