jordan desert meets calatrava

Software used

spring 2022
Photoshop, 3Ds Max 

As opposed to most other projects at Yrgo, this one revolved around mainly using 2D assets on top of a simple 3D volume. It served as an introduction to matte painting in Photoshop. 

My progress can be divided into a few building blocks. Initially I drew quick sketches – digitally and by hand – in order to find an interesting idea to work with. I found myself drawing inspiration from concept art, using artwork by Etienne Harbinger as a base for the composition. I was captivated by the depth of scale and the play with colors and contrast. 

Adding to this I wanted to present untouched nature confronted by modern structures clearly built by humans. The final image shows Jordan desert mountains carrying the facade of Reggio-Emilia Mediopadana railway station, designed by Santiago Calatrava. 


Inspiration: Canyon Bridge by Etienne Hebinger.


Sketch process before settling for my final concept sketch.

In the end, very little of the initial 3D model was used. The project proved a healthy excercise to focus on the strengths in 2D – in this case communicating an idea without complicating it too much. There’s great value (and fun!) in trying out different art styles and ways of painting a picture, as opposed to always opting for photorealism.

My concept sketch done in Photoshop.

Clay render from 3Ds Max model.

Breakdown of my matte painting process.