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2.3 Designing a Desert Landscape

In this lesson we'll be covering topics such as points of interest, shadows, contrast and lighting, while creating a desert landscape piece.

2.3 Designing a Desert Landscape

Hi, my name is Brian Lee and welcome back to Designing Landscape Concepts, Feature Film and Games. In this lesson, I'll walk you through my process when creating Sci-fi desert landscape, as I would in a real world gaming or film production environment. So, again to get started here, we'll just go ahead and pick a midtone value. This one is going to be a little more deserty, as I said, and so it's going to be a little bit more kind of a sandy color. We will bring some of that blue sky in towards the top. Not quite sure on my color palette yet, I just thought it'd be nice just start with the blue up there and see how it goes. It's a kind of the concept I'm going for here is kind of like a Grand Canyon or Arches State Park in Utah kind of feel, and maybe we're going to have some caverns and these kind of things. It's kind of features, basically kind of what you'd see in like a Star Wars or Mad Max film, just like a wild place that could be used in a sci-fi film. So you wanna just make a lot of different interest points that we could potentially fly something through or or run a rover through or something like that, but again I want to add that element of danger to it. So I don't want to be a really easy desert that we can walk across, I want to be a little bit more raw. So let's, so just kind of like building in these different mountain peaks. Places like Grand Canyon and Utah, there's actual salt basins underneath the soil, which makes the soil erode into these huge shapes and arches. So I'm just going to kind of see how far can push that idea. And I'm just kind of getting the extreme lights, its extreme colors, both the darkest values and the lightest values at this point and that sky was just seeming a little too dark to really get all I could out of the color. So I'm gonna push a little bit into more of a aquamarine color and that's going to play really nicely up against our sand here. Again just kind of explaining where the top Surface of the ground is versus where it falls off into a canyon style. And I'm just going to play with the shadows and just basically explain where the light is coming from again. In this particular situation, it's coming from the left. You can see in most of the paintings that I have a pretty direct light coming from either the left or right side of frame, which really helps to build emotion into the piece. It gives it that kind of magic hour, 5:00, 6:00 PM kinda look, when all the shadows get really long and just It makes for great color. The lighting is just it bounces all around, so even your shadows aren't going to be very dark. They're still going to have a lot of bounce light coming from other objects. And it just builds a lot of great emotion into a piece. Okay, so we're just kinda defining these structures. Careful, trying not to add too many repetitive Structures or designs. Which is definitely something that our minds are programmed to do, when one thing is looking cool, we we try to, without even knowing sometimes, duplicate it over and over again. And just makes for a very boring design when you do that, so it's important to catch yourself when you're doing that. And so, I'm kind of working with, especially around the ground plane, very horizontal lines and then very vertical lines. Which again adds contrast. Which as we know from previous paintings, the contrast is good. It really makes for a lot of interest, whether it be contrast for color, or contrast for shapes, or contrast for even brush strokes, right? So, just try to always be aware and try to contrast whatever you can. The human eye loves that. See I would just, I'm kinda liking how this this ground plane and this canyon is wrapping around in between this large structure over here on the left. This big arch which is basically becoming our interest point. And just build, sculpt out these left rocks here, just to get a bit more interesting. Again, it's going from dark to light, dark to light, dark to light, and we'll try to build that canyon right into us over here on the right side. And again we're going to work with that framing that I was talking about in the previous lesson. Very important to help your viewer stay engaged. And again just pushing certain areas back with just a very light-colored brush, same colors as the sky usually, just helps to create a lot of depth, a lot of atmosphere. And basically what we're describing is what water particles in the air, which makes visibility more difficult as things get further away. Actually, struggling a bit with this left rock, just trying to fit the detail in there and figure out how it's been formed and just how the rocks are laying. Finding it kind of difficult to see just to give the certain areas weight. To make them feel heavy. And a lot of that just has to do with how one rock lies on top of another one. Whether it looks balanced, whether it looks like it could fall over at any moment. So these are kinda that's part of the challenge to some of these rocks. But hey that's the beauty of sci-fi. Could be a completely different gravitational pull on this planet or wherever we are here. Yeah, it's kind of nice to just open up a the ground plane there a little bit and just see how deep this canyon goes and it's almost like it goes into infinity over there. So it's just a nice, a nice part of the painting. Lets the eye escape down below the canyon. Just going to build these highlights in and really make these rock pop and really explain where the light is coming from. it's kind of nice to work in all the midtones as as much as you can and then just get the roundness figured out between the midtones and the darker tones and then come in with a really heavy brush with the highlights. It's a real nice feeling, just makes your piece pop. Just build in our cave a bit more, maybe there are little campsite here or something. Anyway, that's that's pretty much it for this piece. I think we established a pretty nice concept. I think if I were to change anything, it would probably be the center arch right in directly in the middle of the screen. I'd probably shift that over the to the right or something. It's just a little bit too centered in the frame, but on the other than that, I think it's got a lot of interest and it tells a story that that we're trying to tell. So, in the next lesson, I'll create a final landscape concept that will focus on building a scenic oceanside cliff face. That will be lit by a blazing sunset, so thanks again for joining me and I'll see you next lesson.

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