11. After making the frames for the photographs, I added a shitload of actual photographs I had lying around, using the Distort tool to smash them into the right shape and give them a little foreshortening. Explaining why I chose each one would be utterly pointless and completely personal, so I won’t go into it. Warren’s in there, though. Just to fuck with him.
12. Here’s a snapshot of the next phase, alongside part of my expanded layers menu, to show you the pile. Note how I keep my shit organized! Use groups for your layers, and name your fucking layers; it will save you a lot of time in the long run, I promise. “face color”, “window”, “photos”—naming your layers in groups like this keeps you from clicking through dozens of them, trying to find what you want to paint on. Also visible here is the foggy window, which was a brainstorm I’m actually kind of proud of,and also concealed a litany of sins, geometry-wise. “Occupy” is misspelled, but as Caseman pointed out to me today, “you can’t erase a foggy window anyway”. To do the backwards writing on the inside of the window, I flipped the canvas horizontally. The foot and handprints are brushes, used with the eraser tool on the layer with the fog.
13. Added control panels to the “floor” and wall of the cockpit. All accessible via hands and feet. The panels are photocomposites from stock images. Added rivets (a custom brush just like the photograph frames).
14. If you’re an experienced Sweatshopper, you know the very last thing I always do to a picture is put it under a new Gradient Map layer, a new Levels layer, or both. This is to jolt your brain out of the color space it’s been working in for days or weeks, which can often lead to you making conservative choices with color and value, and produce a final result that looks “muddy” or “bland”. Fucking with your Levels, and fucking with Gradient Maps in different modes and opacities (Overlay, Soft Light, & Multiply especially) on top of your whole image can teach you a lot about the values in the image, and the relationship of the colors that you’ve built up. I actually put this particular Gradient Map on the image way back somewhere in the middle, decided I liked it, but turned it off and just would check to see how it was looking as I progressed using my original color scheme. This was easier than trying to integrate the Map into my existing colors, since I would have had to smash a bunch of layers together.
15, 16. …rotated versions. I like this composition from every angle. Use Photoshop CS7’s Rotate View tool. Use it all the time. Trust me.
And that’s it! I will now open the floor to questions.