Alien planet landscape

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Hello! My name is Alexey Trishkin.
In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how I painted the landscape of an alien planet.

This is my first experience of making a tutorial but I hope you find it useful in some way.

I will also provide a project file and brushes I used.
You will find a link at the end

For the sake of the tutorial, I tried to keep painting simple enough so a beginner could follow along.
So, what is one of the easiest things to paint?
- It's rocks!
Ok, let's get to work!

Before we start I'd like to speak a bit about the importance of references.
Even with a subject matter, you believe you know how to draw well from repetition, you can still benefit from the additional study!
So, get ready and prepare your references.
I use Pinterest for it.

I came up with this idea of morning landscape and an explorer is flying through enormous rocks.

I started sketching and ended up with this

Then I made a selection of our rock shapes using lasso tool, filled it with color and put each one of them on different layers. One for the foreground, another for midground, background and so on.

Now we have to make sure our shapes look decent.
Because we are gonna paint on top of them using clipping mask.

Time to bring color to the painting. I start with the sky. Bold strokes, just main colors. Don't get carried away with the details.
Also, I encourage you to do not use the eyedropper tool to pick a color from your reference.
And don't pay attention to what happens with water reflections. Will get to it later

Even though our main light source is behind the rocks they still will be lit pretty good by sky itself.
So let's make our rock shapes more three dimensional

I created a new layer and clipped it to the layer below which is our main shape

That's what I got.
Again, work with big shapes first.

add more details to the sky and rocks

Now, let's bring more colors to the rock.

I also like to check my values.
For this, I add a new correction layer ( Hue/Saturation/Luminosity )
and set the layer mode to color. This is important or you'll get the wrong impression of value.

Then I added vegetation.
just a shape

And the same process as with rocks.
New layer + clip to layer below and paint.

Then I finished the sky added extra shadows to the rocks and color accent to the foliage.

Ok. It's water reflection time!
1. I flatten all the layers and then mirrored my rocks.
It won't be perfect so you have to use the lasso tool and move tool.
2. Painted over to fill the missing parts.
3. Blurred it using a motion blur filter

4. Painted over a bit more using some blend brushes
5. Created a new layer, set it up to lighten mode and added color to the darks

But if you don't need such precise reflections sometimes it's easier just paint it.
So we could just skip step 1-3

Then I added haze to separate rocks ( just standard airbrush with normal mode layer) and created an aerial perspective.
Also added additional light to rocks

Bloom Effect
1. Again using a standard airbrush with normal mode layer I painted at the edges a bit. Just slightly. Don't push it too much or it will be looking unnatural.
2. Then I created a new layer, set up layer mode to color dodge and emphasized glow a little bit more.
3. Added stars. You can use any brush with scattering effect or even photo texture.

Now it's time to let in our little explorer!
1. The way I created the ship is the same as rocks.
But he is so tiny you don't have to bother too much about it.
2. This cloudy trace is simple. Created a line, painted over.
3. Then blend it using blend brush
4. Then erased with a textured brush in some places to get the effect I wanted. And again you can blend it a bit.
Well, you have to practice and experiment.

And final touches.
Added more fog, smudged some edges.

At the very end, I played with the color balance a bit because I felt like there's too much blue's. So I tweaked it a little bit.

Gif with the process

And here is the link on google drive with project files and brushes -
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AIG2Br8mbPS972GjT3pTboBAyQAQVVee?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1AIG2Br8mbPS972GjT3pTboBAyQAQVVee?usp=sharing

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