作者：Daniel Romanovsky, Canada
Making of Journey Across the Desertby
About the Image – This image was a personal project, I wanted to paint an exotic open desert landscape and imbue with a sense of mystery. The painting was created using Adobe Photoshop CS3, took approximately 8 hours of work over the course of two days.
As you are about to see, I used a direct mass painting approach working without a preliminary drawing. I choose several of Jean-Lean Gerome’s paintings with a similar theme to use as a reference for my color pallet and composition. I highly recommend studying the works of classical painters to enhance your understanding of artistic techniques
Considering that the image is primarily a horizontal composition, I choose a pretty wide aspect ratio. I started by establishing the horizon line, placing it just above center. Using the gradation tool I added in the sky and ground tones choosing somewhat desaturated colors with the intention of adding saturation as the image progresses. I also kept the edge at the horizon line soft to have the flexibility to tweak it later on.
The next step was to block in the sky, I used mostly gray blues with a little bit of earth tones to help blend it with a ground.
Painting the ground plane was a very similar process, keeping it pretty simple. I was looking to paint more of a rocky desert landscape which allowed me the opportunity to reflect some of the sky tone on the rocky planes.
It’s generally a good idea to paint in layers; background first, then middle ground and finally the foreground elements. That way you can tweak your composition later without worrying about overlapping and visual continuity.
At this stage, I put more work into the sky adding some storm clouds to create both drama and interest. To make the process more efficient, I used some of my own custom cloud brushes, which are fun and easy to create. I also added a foreground rock element to help bring the viewer into the picture.
With the landscape established it was time to block in the key elements of the composition. Before starting work on the bones, I studied some pictures of whale skeletons to give me a basic idea of the type of iconography I need.
While I wasn’t trying depict any specific creature, I still wanted the skeleton to look plausible. I used a solid opaque color and a smaller brush to lay in the silhouette, making the bones wrap the terrain in an S curve. It took a number of attempts before I was satisfied with the overall shape. Even though bones are a very organic form, it’s still crucial to adhere to the rules of linear perspective, in order to create the illusion of form in space. The camel rider was painted in the same fashion, starting with the silhouette shape and then adding the lights
建立好场景后，开始勾画画面中的关键元素。在绘制骨架之前， 我研究了一些鲸鱼骨骼图片，这样我就对所需的图像 类型有了一个基本概念。尽管我不着意描绘某种特定生物，但我仍希望这个骨架看起来是真实可信的。我使用不透明的纯色和更小的笔刷画出骨骼剪影，使它呈S形 曲线覆盖在地面上。我尝试了很多次才对大形感到满意。尽管骨骼的形状很有机，但是为了创造物体处于空间中的视觉效果，遵循直线透视法则依然至关重要。以同样的方法画出骆驼骑士，先画出剪影然后添加明暗。
Once I was satisfied with the overall composition, it was time to work out the bones. Since I was pleased with how my initial lay-in turned out, the overall silhouette did not change very much from start to finish. The main challenge here was getting the foreshortening to read correctly.
At this point everything was starting to come together. I finalized the clouds and the camel rider, tweaking him until the scale between him and the skeleton was just right. I added an atmosphere layer using a soft cloud brush loaded with my background color. This helped reinforce my depth cues pushing the background information into the distance.
The last major step was to finish painting and detailing the landscape, I made sure to turn off all the unnecessary layers while painting. I used a lot of particle brushes to get the right effect. Achieving a realistic look, is a matter of studying at a lot of reference material, getting the colors, values and edges right during the lay-in stage and then zooming into specific areas and adding information locally.
For the most part I used two of the standard brushes that come with Photoshop, one is a solid gauche-like brush with a softer age, I use it lay in all my tones, and the other is a chalk-like brush which is great for adding texture.
我大多使用Photoshop自带的两种基本笔刷。一个是带软化边的solid gauche-like brush（译者注：这里不清楚到底是哪种笔刷，还请指出），我用它铺所有的色调。还有一个是粉笔，用来添加纹理相当不错。
Here I wanted to show how you can use a series of large sweeping curves in your composition to lead your viewer’s eye to the main area of interest. Notice how the skeleton, the landscape, the clouds and even the birds are all pointing to the rider.
Another compositional device to draw attention to the focal point of the image is the use of color accents. I placed a daub of red color next to its complimentary which is green, it is a subtle effect, but an effective one nonetheless.
The finishing touches included adding some bone texture to the foreground part of the skeleton, some vultures in the sky that I imagine are accompanying our guy on his journey and the moon in the background to give the scene more of a fantastic feel.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this article and that the insights that I provided will help you in your future artistic endeavors. To see more of my artwork visit my website www.formlanguage.net. Thank you for taking interest in my creative process.