FREELessons: 6Length: 36 minutes

Next lesson playing in 5 seconds

  • Overview
  • Transcript

2.1 Designing a Snowy Volcanic Mountain Range

In this lesson I will cover how I go about creating a volcanic mountain range for film and games. We cover topics such as black values, directional light, and environmental falloff.

2.1 Designing a Snowy Volcanic Mountain Range

Hi, my name's Brian Lee and welcome back to Designing Landscape Concepts for Feature Films and Games. In this lesson I will walk you through my process, creating an icy volcanic mountain range as I would in a real production environment. So keep in mind, I've sped up the footage in this video in order to cover more topics throughout this video and throughout this course. So to get started here in Photoshop, I'm going to just go ahead and start with a flat color, basically the sky color that I'm thinking. This helps me to kind of determine just the overall mood of the image I'm starting to create. So now we're just going to go ahead and build the composition and continuing laying in the color values. You'll notice I'm using kind of a rule of the thirds here which to, if that's a new term to you, it's basically splitting up the canvas in two thirds, both vertically and horizontally. And where those lines intersect, that's where your interest points should be It's basically my go to when I'm starting a new thumbnail sketch or just a new design. So here I'm just kind of laying in again the composition. We're going to build an icy, we're trying to build our icy landscape here so also working in the colors. It's gonna be a very limited color palette. We're gonna use just a lot of gray tones and then that hot white is gonna help us determine or lay in the snow. So you can see at this point I kinda already have an idea of just the atmosphere I'm going for. It's kind of just setting the mood and it also has determined kind of like the environmental fall off. You can see how we have the dark blacks up here in the foreground, and as we go back in the space, it just gets lighter and lighter, and closer to the color of our sky. So you can see I'm trying to mix a lot of horizontal lines with kinda vertical spouts and it just helps to add interest to the piece. And I'm gonna just kind of work in that mountain range back there, also adding a little bit of light. Which is kind of an atmospheric light. And we're also gonna go ahead and just lay in the directional light as well which is coming from the left into the center. And having that directional light in there is, it really helps you to quickly get the, quickly understand the lighting scenario. Atmospheric and bounce light can always be added afterwards. But you'll see, over the course of this, of all four of these paintings that it's, the light is just a key factor in concepts as a whole. And the goal with this piece is to get it to a point where it's telling the story we want it to tell before we go ahead show it to a producer or an art director. We want to be clean, we want them to be able to visualize everything that's happening within the canvas itself. So I'm just gonna build out some of this, some smoke just to give us a little bit of motion in the piece, just to show that it's a live volcano, too. And just keep this mountain range going back into depth, I really like to do that with landscapes. Just to kind of push it as far back as I can, as far as the eye will take us. Here, I have actually switched the values to complete black, which helps me determine the black values, making sure that my black values are smooth, from foreground to background. Sometimes you may find that you become a little heavy handed with the black values in the mid ground and background. And just kind of taking all the color out of the image helps you to better read that. If that is the case you just want to go over those areas with a white brush, soft brush and push them back a little bit more. I'm just gonna try rough out this ice a little bit better. It's kind of a cross between a reflection of the mountain behind it and determining where the snow is lying on the ice and where the ice is separated. It's a bit tricky and again in this course we're just gonna be focusing not so much on details, but just on creating the concepts. So here we're just working in those reflections again. You can see how adding a little bit of dark value to that mid-ground rock structure, separates it from the mountain. And it's definitely something I want you guys a take away from this course is, black values alone can really give you a lot of depth. If you ever want to push something deeper into the background you just need to add some of the sky value to it as we have in the back screen right, rock formations. And if you ever want to bring something forward you just add a little more black value to it. So to end here, we're just going to go ahead and bring some of the color back into the foreground, making these structures a little bit more readable. We're gonna shape out these back mountains a little bit better, just to show that there is some volume to them. And again here we are with that soft, white brush just pushing certain areas back. So that brings us to the end of the first piece. In the next piece, we're going to go ahead and talk about more of a lush jungle mountain range situation that we might see in movies such as King Kong or Pirates of the Caribbean or something like that. So, thanks for joining me and we'll see you in the next lesson.

Back to the top