(You can view all of the entries here: TFW2005 BBTS Transformers Battlescene Contest - Other Transformers Images - TFW2005.COM) I don't usually do non-humor pieces, but I thought the battle scene competition would be fun to work on . . . . with the motivation of getting free stuff. The premise is [since] G1 [toys] are fricking bricks, the challenge is making 'em look alive. The G1 boxart homage is not a coincidence. I even took time to study 'em to get a feel for 'em. Note that the objective is not realism, but its gotta look like there's a lot of [things] going on. Onward to the tutorial! Vital stats: - 18 cons, 22 bots, 40 total (as usual, 'bots had numbers) - composed at 3000 x 1500 + pixels, over 50 layers and around 100 megs Take pics of figures. Lots of em. I took 4-5 shots of each bot with slightly varied angles [with a] pretty simple cam setup. I just use a 3.2 mp, non-SLR, (you don't need a fancy shmacy camera to get things done) and a directional lamp with overhead general fluorescent lighting (from the room light). Use a white background. Crop out the figures from photo background. I like to use the marquee select tool to get crisp edges. Set up the background/compositing file. When arranging the figure in the composition, draft sketches help to visualize overall composition. Once I get a few [figures] (the main ones) in the composition, look [for] suitable background material for the backdrop. Additional manipulation may be required (e.g., I had to spherize the landscape to suit the perspective). Once all figures are composited, make sure your layers are organized and start working on effects. Almost all the motion - white streaks - are on individual layers. Don't be afraid to vary the technique, [and the] opacity in accordance with foreground/background position. The explosions and weapon blasts were also created from scratch, using paint and blur tools. The explosion effects were done in a separate file, and [then] copy/pasted into the final composite, varied by the sizes only. [Finally], I added a diffuse glow layer to create light effect and contrast to the figures. [It] makes 'em look less flat, [and] creates visual depth. The diffuse glow layer was done in a separate file, [and] all the figures were merged [onto] one layer, rendered in grayscale, and [the] diffuse glow effect [added]. which was then pasted into the composite layer as an overlay mask layer. That's how the [shine] of the parts look like they're glowing without . . . . using lighting effects. A word on composition: when working with lots of elements, group the elements in [a] hierarchy (foreground, background, etc.). Notice how certain bots are grouped together by size and viewing distance. It helps [with the] clarity of composition. Also, once you're done, take your time to review the work and look at it with fresh eyes. I took 2-3 days just to make minor tweaks; I added the 3 changers during this time, [and] even adjusted the composition a bit of the figures in the center area to 'get it right'). - Use soft brush, and create red blotches outer circle; - Repeat [the previous step], but [using] yellow for inner circle; - [Use] white for the center - Use the radial blur [tool]. Add in white or black specks prior [to this step] to create [a] debris effect. [You] can also [out]line the outer circle with black, [to] give it harder edge.