Homework 7: Illustrated Environment


Witnessing the northern lights is an experience I have long harbored. Although the picturesque sight remains out of reach, this illustration project appeared to me as an opportuniy to recreate the lights digitally. Spending approximately an hour on Google images, I finally came across an image of mountains taken during sunset. Other elements in the picutre also included an ocean beneath the mountain range and a boat shadowed due to lack of sunlight.

Omitting the boat, I created three different layers for the sky, the mountains, and the ocean, whose shapes were carved using the pen tool. In the original image, lack of sunlight colored the mountains in dark blue shade, which remained the same in the shape designated for the mountain range. Adobe color wheel was used to create colors for all elements present in the illustration environment. As northern lights usually appear as a streak of green, a color that also occassionally overlaps the darker portion of sky, I filled the sky with forest green color. Still, it did not yield the results I had imagined. Therefore, I decided to use gradient tool which not only provided me with contasting shades of green, but also added a darker tone to a corner of the shape that I intended to make the sky resemble with actual sky conditions observable during appearance of the northern lights.

Although the color composition of the mountains and the sky almost transformed the elements into a scenic environment, the color for the ocean failed to complement the overall appearance of water at night. In the original image, the receding sunlight made the ocean slightly purple shaded. Adding this shade however created a color contrast, dividing both upper and lower halves of canvas as darker shades of dark and green dominted the upper part whereas light purple came to cover the lower half of the canvas. Eventually I decided to create a reflection of northern lights in water. Using the same forest green shade previously used in sky, I selected radial gradient tool to shade the corners, circling the center portion of water with a lighter shade of green.