Making of the Illustration ‘Heavy Rain’
1 - The original plate is a Vue render in which I modeled a procedural terrain with some squarrish buildings, combining nodes through noise filters. It’s a long process so I recommend you have a look at ASILE FX Ressources for such modelling processes.
The ship has been modelled in 3Dsmax and then inserted into the Vue scene as an .obj file, to define notions of lighting, perspective and type of action I’m looking for the scene. 3D is really amazing and quite convenient for reaching complex angle and perspectives. You can play with the camera and light very fast and easily.
The final render was really not aiming at reaching a final 3D render, so shapes and lighting are pretty rough  with no passes compositing for this illustration. I completely played the postwork option for this scene.
Nonetheless, I did a couple of renders to obtain two separated plates with alpha set on for the ship, to have one for the background and the other for the ship.
This will help a lot and make my postwork tasks easier to do in terms of selection, texturing and painting.
2 – Starting with the background, I selected the area where should be the sky and used the polygonal lasso tool to get rid of the brighter surface in the very back. Opening the space, I filled with some clouds and sky stocks of mine. Then I painted some thunders and some back lights behind the buildings to start determine the mood.
Thanks to a perspective grid, I placed some sci-fi textures and computer parts stocks to add more lines and cool shapes but still in proper perspective.
Setting a new layer set on Color Dodge, I put some slight blue highlights to strengthen the lighting effect.
I finally applied a motion blur that will help make the viewer uplift his vision with the ship taking off as shown on the left. This effect would be kept for final stage though.
3 – Now let’s try to make the ship sexier. I felt that the wings of my model were quite too short in the end, so I decided to extend them with painting.
I found a pretty cool engine stock in my images so I applied it on top of the ship in front of the big pipes to have something more complex for the eye and realistic as well in terms of mecha.
Just like I did for the buildings, I applied some textures onto the ship, using matte painting techniques to blend everything well with Light adjustments and painting.
I also soften the edges of my model and corrected some little 3D aberrations to make the design more natural and less 3D.
4 – At this stage, I figured out it was time to sketch water drops in the wind, falling down from the structure and refined the rest of the other parts of the ship with painted shadows and little highlights. The windscreen needed a lot of painting as well, as really flooded by water.
During the process, I was confronted to the logic of my design and how the ship was technically built to take-off in a real world so to say. I was then facing the problem that it was rather a traditional horizontal reactors mechanics than vertical ones which were unfortunately those I needed for the coherence of the scene.
I decided then not to model some extra polygons but just paint some kind of vertical mechanism reactors for this type of ship.
5 – Refining  lights effects, I added some curves and contrast to the entire scene for more drama and intensity, and saturated a little the blue colours as well.
Here comes the rain… then I painted with a line brush the heavy drop lines and varied their direction and sizes on different layers following the wind direction I previously defined on my sketching stage above.
For more credibility, I added some little dots near the reactors lights to show pouring rain even more and put close-up water drop with some photos onto the camera glass, to place the viewer as if shooting for himself the scene under this stormy weather.
6 – To finish the image, I added some headlights, red lights, and reactors lights and applied cool flares for more realistic light simulation you can witness yourself through a window when it’s wet outside.
Some adjustments with colors and contrast finished up the piece to make everything popping up even more with as final touch a slight sharpening and in addition a cold filter effect.
Thanks a lot for watching.
This making-of was made on request of the very good website, so you can find the same one here on front page: