Hi all! This is my "making of" for "The Ancient Temple" May challenge. With this challenge I started by making a few sketches and playing with some ideas.
I chose one that caught my fancy and very roughly painted the shapes in Photoshop and determined my light angle.
I knew I wanted this to be a tropical scene so I started collecting images. My family went to Costa Rica a few months ago and we had some really good beach photos that ended up making up the distant mountains. The foreground rock photos and most of the water photos I took at a little boat ramp near my house. The mid-ground plants and mountain were all found online as were many of the plants that line the temple walls.
Next, I began by roughly modeling the basic shapes in 3d studio max.
After I had the basic shape I wanted I brought the model into mudbox and began sculpting the detail using reference images of hippo, cat and snake skulls to achieve a shape that satisfied my sketch while still having believable skull elements.
The sculpted model was then merged back into 3ds max, textured and rendered under studio style lighting using Vray.
When I was happy with the results I brought my rough painting into 3ds max, lined up a camera and horizon then began modeling the outer wall, chain and spikes to roughly match the drawing.
I knew I would be doing a majority of the work in Photoshop so I didn't spend too long on textures in the 3d model. I just used a rough stone wall texture with displacement, arock texture for the ground which ened up being completely replace with photo elements, a procedural iron texture (not very good) and the textures I merged in with the skull.
With my render complted and an ambient occlusion and rendered wirecolor pass to help me make selections of various elements I was ready to get started in Photoshop.
This whole time I've been adding layers of haze to the image to help with the atmospheric perspective.
After those elements were placed and masked I began balancing the hues and values.
At this stage the image was starting to come together but I felt it was still lacking. My eyes weren't going to the right place so I created a new layer and, using the paint brush, adjusted the ramp to the temple entrance and painted in a few boulders behind it to keep my eyes from strolling down the beach instead of into the mouth of the skull.
This helped but it was still falling a little flat for me. I needed something to help establish the scale. I added a few battered boat hulls, also found images. These took a LOT of painting to get the lighting correct. Some of the images were pretty bad.
Next I started painting in some banners and an entrance carpet, which I planned on toward the beginning of the project but had been lost in the shuffle. While I was doing that I began painting highlights on all the skull, rocks and boulders to establish the sun direction a little more.
After this I went through the image and added extra texture on top of what was already there to make it look a little more natural and weathered.
At this point the image was almost done, I added a few top level adjustment layers to get the look I wanted and called it done!
Hope some of this was helpful. If I missed anything or have any questions let me know.
I'll include a scaled down version of the Photoshop (cs3) file if anyone wants to look at my layers. I would usually flatten many of these layers as I work but in case I had the opportunity to do a "making of" I wanted to keep them in tact for anyone who's interested to examine.
DOWNLOAD PSD FILE [ZIP, 37 MB]
by Gordon Tarpley
Runner Up - CGTantra DMP Challenge