Hello guys! My name is Jakhangir Zeynalov and I am a junior Concept Artist. I really love sci-fi Movies and Games and try to make my artwork in a photo real cinematic style. I want to tell you how I created my latest fan art concept for the Star Wars Universe. As I mentioned before I really love to make sci-fi stuff so I was having an idea to make a sci-fi environment; something huge and grand! I use the same methods as much people so there's nothing too special here, but you will get to see the methods most Concept Artists use!
"Remember, you can be inspired by everything around you!"
Step 1 - Reference
Every new work usually starts from searching for References on Pinterest or Google or the like (MattePaint is a great place to find inspiration as well!). But usually I already have some references and the mood of my future artwork in my head. That can be some frames from a Movie I watched before or maybe artwork that I saw on Artstation or even a real life photo. Remember you guys can be inspired by everything around you!
Here is a small Mood Board that I did during the planning phase:
Step 2 - Concept Thumbnails
After I find the references that I want to follow in mood and design, I start sketching the ideas and camera angles as most artists do, but sometimes I also start to play around with assets I created in Blender and search for different camera angles, and find that also helps a lot. Then I try to add some atmosphere and extra lighting to the sketches and see which Frames work best for me.
Step 3 - 3D Modelling
When I am happy with the sketches, I usually continue with Blender. My 3D knowledge is really primitive and so I usually use 3D as a base and for perspective for overpainting and photo-bashing in the future. The best way for Concept Artists to work this way, is to experiment with base 3D Models by adding modifiers. Usually after I have a few base Models ready I start to duplicate them, merge them and then use the mirror modifier.
"Changing the axis sometimes can give very unpredictable and creative results"
The Mirror modifier in Blender is a very powerful tool and gives a lot of options to experiment, especially when you are still in the creative process and trying to experiment with changing the axis of the Mirror modifier. Changing the axis sometimes can give very unpredictable and creative results and is a great tool to experiment and play around with. From here I start to add some very primitive textures to see how they work on my environment and how they work with my lighting in the whole scene.
Then I add another camera and make a RAW render with Eevee render to see how my light source and how all of the objects and architecture work together in the scene.
"What if Darth Maul wasn’t killed by Obi Wan Kenobi?"
Step 4 - Finding A Composition
After all of the technical work is done and I have a 3D base with an atmosphere and light source that I like, the most fun part of the work starts!
Usually it’s really hard to see the final result in your head but when you can, it’s the best thing you can do because you have such a large field where you can roam in and experiment in with different photos and ideas! I really love Blade Runner the Movie and also the Star Wars movies and so I decided, "What if Darth Maul wasn’t killed by Obi Wan Kenobi and he survived and has his place of shelter, I can mix these two great Worlds and Universes as well as my idea together and make something amazing out of this!".
Actually I can’t draw well guys; so I know my weaknesses and I am trying to use more photo-bash techniques as a result. I am also trying to add extra lighting with brushes to make my artwork more atmospheric and moody.
So from here I start adding some extra details by photo-bashing with different images to create these details:
After all of the elements are added and fitted to my Render I start to add some atmosphere! I then add fog and maybe clouds if needed to separate all of the objects in my scene.
After all of the clouds and fog have been added and are ready I make my final touches using the Smudge and Mixer Brushes and also make some parts of the scene darker if needed. That's it, there you have it; my final scene!
More images from the same series of Jakhangir:
Thanks to everyone for reading this and a big thanks to dear Conrad Allan for this opportunity to write an article and share my technique and experience with all of the Matte Painting Community!
~ Jakhangir Zeynalov