• CGNetworks Feature :: Reader Project
    The Making of The Flying Saucer

    Marc Simonetti, 22nd June 2005
    My 2D digital illustration ‘The Flying Saucer’ was made for the contest “Flying Machines” organized by the CaféSalé forum, a French CG board. I chose a UFO to represent a flying saucer shape in a world based on the angle, looking up at my kitchen window. I found the challenge to be quite hilarious and I had a lot of fun doing the work, because behind it all,
    there was a view of
    my kitchen, unseen
    (until now) by anyone
    else. Here is how I put
    the vehicle and surroundings
    together, broken down into steps,
    each defining the composition and
    colors of this image.

    Download Full Size Image 491 KB

    Although I really appreciate futuristic styles, I’m not used to this particular genre, so this was a good way for me to experiment and train myself. Based on the shot from my kitchen, I cut my image into several parts that I generated with as much detail as possible.
    At this stage, the picture wasn’t dynamic enough so I added a character to the foreground, which also increased the depth of field effect.

  • Blocking

    To help me while coloring, I drew the main lines of the structures on each of the scenes so that it was easier to find them. I must mention here that I learned a lot from Sparth‘s (Nicolas Bouvier) tutorials. I used one of his techniques here:

    I began coloring in a range of greys. It’s a good way to adjust the contrast of the whole image, and to establish a logical and effective lighting pattern for the scene. This is very important to me. On a new layer in overlay mode, I started placing colors with very big brushes first,

    moving slowly into the details, from the shadows to the highlighted areas.
    The depth is enhanced in the traditional way by using saturated and warm values in the foreground, in opposition with the cold (greyish) tones of the background.

    As I flattened my layers at this stage, I began working from the background to the foreground. I started painting and defining volumes, then marking the small details by softly highlighting some edges, for example. At the end, I drew very small point lights on each building to give it life and a sense of scale.
    For the closest part, I also used textures to obtain a more realistic touch.
    Final adjustment
    I adjusted the color balance to get warmer and more saturated values. I also added some grain by using a very light texture overall. I had a lot of fun doing this illustration.

    About the artist

    My name is Marc Simonetti, and I was born in 1977 in Lyon, France. After a very short engineering career, I studied art at the Emile Cohl School of Arts.

    I now work as a freelancer, dividing my time between creating illustrations for books, RPG, and collectible card games, and making 3D backgrounds (modeling, texturing) for video games. Another of my illustrations can be found in EXPOSÉ 3.

    Related Links:
    Marc Simonetti
    EXPOSÉ 3

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