Alex Ruiz is one of my favorite modern day artists. He’s got some really great visions and artworks that really cater to my SciFi nerve. I am a huge fan of the genre and he really takes it to the next level. His Shantytown pic really caught my eye; so I thought I’d take on a play of it.
I manually created similar brushes to the ones he used to build up the background. I set the flow and opacity of them both to 15 and 20 and slowly built up the background using layers (about 130 of them). Slowly would take out portions with the eraser and build back up to give it depth.
My uncropped version of the pic is actually really large (5000×5000) because I started out small, but the layers kept growing and not really turning out how I wanted them, so I would expand the canvas (about 5 or 6 times) until I liked what I saw…
I then added the houses up the shafts from photos of shantys across the web – using mostly overlays and dodge and burn tools to give them depth. Then I added the glass spheres to the holes left by the custom brushes to give it more depth. The middle-most ball I added a green grow to so as to make them appear as greenhouses.
Toss in some waterfall/cloud/dirigibles eye candy to make it seem like a living space and finished it off with some subtle textures to add to the depth.
12 hours later it turned out about how I imagined it would; I really like the depth it gives and probably could have left a few of the back layers to bring it together more and maybe a floor to it, but the textures in the bottom middle make me think that that waterfall flows into something below – let the mind wander a bit.