If you feel the need to, go ahead and keep adding more bits of texture and architecture to your scene. In this case, I’ve placed a few more windows and some chimneys around the scene, since it was looking a bit too box-like.
Then, start to add more tone by creating a Gradient Map adjustment layer, setting it to Soft Light and about 11-15% opacity. I used the gradient “Yellow, Violet, Orange, Blue.” I also added a yellow/orange grunge texture found at designshard.com and set it to Soft Light, at about 22%.
These steps are by all means not absolute. Again, they aren’t exact values and resources that will work with every image, so by all means experiment until something works for you. I’m just hoping to share the method of creating this particular image, and that will hopefully give you ideas when creating your own.
Create a new layer and start painting a few brush strokes in orange-ish and red tones, with the layer set to color, and about 40% opacity. Since the image was leaning mostly to cooler tones, I thought this could add some of color balance and variation.
Then, I add a new Curves adjustment layer, and create a slight S curve on it, to darken the shadows and brighten the highlights.
To accentuate the shadow and sun-lit tones further, create a new layer and fill it with a gradient going from an orange to a blue tone, as you can see in the image below. Then, set this layer to Overlay at around 10% opacity.
You can then add another yellow/orange grunge texture, much like the one previously mentioned, and set it to Soft Light at around 34% opacity.
I also thought I should mention that even at this stage, I kept adding architecture reference photos in where I thought they were needed to add more detail.
We’re nearly there! Just add any last minute subtle Gradient Maps or any other adjustment layers. Then, create a new layer and fill it with Mid-Gray, and go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Depending on your image size, adjust the percentage so that it’s just a very subtle effect, and tick the Monochromatic box. Set this layer to Overlay at around 60-70% opacity, or until it looks right to you.
Then, flatten your image and apply an Unsharp Mask filter to taste!
You can now do whatever you want to it, I just added a white border over a black background, and a bit of text, but the presentation is up to you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I hope this tutorial has been insightful and inspirational.
As you can see, you don’t have to be a great painter with years of experience to create successful pieces of concept art. Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Good luck in your future creations!