I recently finished this scene design and instead of just posting the final image I wanted to share with you a step-by-step walkthrough revealing how this project was completed. I originally conceived of this shot as story element revolving around the rider who is racing along a road at night on a motorcycle he crafted himself. The bike is made using mostly recognizable parts but with distinct sci-fi/fantasy elements, including a kind of force field that shields him from rain. I wanted this bike to look rugged and utilitarian.
I began this project by focusing on the design of the motorcycle, which was modelled in Maya. After the 3D work was complete I moved into the Photoshop and digital painting phase.
I start in Maya with a very rough layout of simple shapes. Much of the design work is done from this side perspective since I plan for this to be the camera angle in the final image. The arrangement of the piped frame is very important to the overall design and is laid out with curves. And the folded metal pieces near the front of the frame are modelled roughly here.
The rain drops don’t look very good when they’re initially painted so I apply motion blur and play with their transparency. I also mask much of the rain moving around the bubble and mostly leave it visible at the front end where the motorcycle’s headlamp is located. Each wheel is moved to its own separate layer where I apply a radial motion blur.
One very useful technique when digital painting is to flip the canvas horizontally. When I do that here it gives me a fresh perspective and for the first time I see the bike moving from left to right instead of right to left. I add more detail to the rider and start painting on top of the rendered bike in order to marry the style of the bike and rider.
The canvas gets flipped back and I lay more paint over the bike, particularly highlights. I also change the light balance of the entire image to boost the contrast and put a blue-to-red gradient over the scene, setting the opacity mode for this gradient layer to ‘soft light’. The scene is almost complete…