Thanks go out to Anton Egorov for this tutorial. See more of his work at www.behance.net/egorov, and see Part 1 here
Step 13 – Add Contrast
In order to put the fighter in the front plan we should hugely enhance its contrast on the nearest details. Create a new Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer clipped to the 3D render. Reduce the Brightness and lift the Contrast up to get a really contrast plane. Then make a fully black mask for it. Grab the Brush tool and paint contrast places using a soft white brush on the mask.
Step 14 – Texture
We have a problem with the fighter. It is still too clean. So let’s add dirt! Go to www.cgtextures.com
, search and download a image ‘ConcreteLeaking0118’ or other dirty texture, then place it into the scene. Convert it to Smart Object. Turn the layer mode to Overlay. Unhide the guides group and hit Cmd/Ctrl + T to activate the Transform tool on the texture. Rotate and move the points with Cmd/Ctrl to lay the texture to the plane. Reduce the Opacity twice. Duplicate the layer and cover all the fighter.
Step 15 – Cockpit
The cockpit is located in the center of the illustration and truth be told it’s deadly dull and clumsy. We should remake it completely. Create a new group and name it ‘Cockpit’. Choose the Pen tool and outline the glass with a path (by the way the top separator of the cockpit shouldn’t be there, so it’s a chance to remove it). Create a vector mask for the group using the path. Place the file named ‘cockpit-base.png’ from the CD and align it with the fighter.
Step 16 – Gauge Panel
Don’t concentrate upon minute details, do the most noticeable ones. So next task is remaking of the screen on the gage panel of the fighter. Create a new group for it. Grab the Pen tool and outline the frame of the screen. Fill it with a gray color picked near. Add a new clipped layer and paint highlights with a white brush. Then draw a shape for the glass of the screen. Fill it with a blue color and add some reflections with a white strokes.
Step 17 – Pilot
Go to a photo stock website and collect as many pilots, thumb-up hands and seats as you can. Try to place previews into the scene. Choose one that you like (or just download 35116366, 33404702, 35321320 and 32214514 from iStock). Use adjustment layers to settle the parts into the environment as you did it with the plane. Feel free to reuse parts of the body making the pose. The original helmet of the pilot looks a bit strange so you can replace it with the other one. Paint shadows using a soft black brush.
Step 18 – Glass
Paint the needless cockpit parts behind the pilot with a dark gray brush. Get images ‘render-Reflection.png’ and ‘render-Specular.png’ from the CD. Align them with the fighter and turn their modes to Screen. The first one is a pass which shows only reflections. Enhance its contrast to get nice result. The second one is a pass which show highlights. Use a Levels layer to get more white (set the right slider at 170). Create a new layer and mask it to show only the top glass. Add some highlights using a white brush.
Step 19 – Fog
The fighter is flying from the mist so let’s add some fog drawn on the wings. Create a group above the fighter and drag into the same ‘Smoke0403’ image that you used for the landscape. You even can use the same adjustment layers. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + T and place the fog on the right wing. Duplicate it and place the copy on the other wing. Then create a new layer and draw some small pieces of fog on the shoulders of the plane using any rough white brush.
Step 20 – Fighter Trail
Let’s add some effect of motion on the illustration. Unhide the guides and create a group beneath the fighter. Name it, say, ‘Fighter trail’. Create a new layer in Normal mode and just draw trails using a soft black brush. Check direction with the guides! Then create another layer and draw some trails using a white brush. Change the mode of the group into Overlay. It’s too intense so set the Opacity of the group at 30%. Create a mask and hide some parts of the trails using a black brush.
Step 21 – Missile Trail
The missile also needs a trail. In this case we need a photo. Go to a stock website and find some photos of starting rockets, shuttles and so on. Choose one or just get image 18769121 from iStock. Create a new group for it and place the file into the scene. Rotate and transform the image checking with the guides. Then remove the sky from the photo using a mask and the Quick Selection Tool. Apply some adjustment layers to reconcile the image with the scene.
Step 22 – Light Effects
Let’s start with missile trail reflections. You can use the same image but it’s quite pale. So go to CGTextures and find image ‘Flames0002_M’. Lay it upon the top right side of the cockpit scene using Screen mode. Do the same for the helmet of the pilot. Also add some yellow tones on the nose of the fighter. Now let’s add a bright flare on the missile. Get the file ‘light-effect.png’ from the CD. Place it into the scene in Screen mode. Feel free to experiment with it using adjustment layers.
Step 23 – Particles
In order to make the illustration more dramatic we can add some particles flying into the camera. Go to CGTextures. Find and download the first out of images group ‘Fireworks0008’. Open it and remove the black background using the Magic Wand tool. Place it into the scene. Rotate and move it to the left bottom corner using the Transform tool. Create a Brightness/Contrast layer and hugely reduce the both sliders with checked ‘Use Legacy’. Use a Hue/Saturation layer to desaturate them twice and change the color.
Step 24 – Final Touches
Congrats! This is the finish. But there is one thing that you can improve. The fighter is a bit merged with the landscape. You can pull it out using lighting. Create a new layer in Overlay mode beneath the fighter and brighten space before the plane with a huge soft white brush. Then darken space behind it with a black brush. At the end darken corners of the scene with broad strokes. Now it’s finished!