Designing The Neo Shanghai Cover

Introducing Neo Shanghai!

Designed by Sebastian Luca and modeled by Nedim Šećeragić, Neo Shanghai will help you construct future mega-cities with distinct cyberpunk aesthetics or Asiatic influences. Whether you are going for a more realistic scene or a more sci-fi/fantasy take, use this kit's small, medium or large city-blocks, towers and massive structures to create colossal metropolises that will dwarf modern day Shanghai! Don't miss your chance to grab Neo Shanghai for 50% off before July 2nd!   

An interview with Neo Shanghai Cover Artist:

Jaime Jasso

Jaime Jasso is a senior matte painter and art director currently working as an environment concept artist at Bonfire Studios in Southern California with more than 20 years of experience in visual effects for film and video game cinematics. His work includes the most recent Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rogue One & The Force Awakens, as well as Avatar, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and many others.

What story is the cover art telling? 

Cyberpunk has always been my favorite genre for matte paintings; in this image in particular I wanted to show how in the middle of a busy city, even though it's so alive you can be totally alone. My main character is right there in the foreground walking with some high-tech red goggles under the umbrella. I always try to imagine what's going on in every image I make, i.e. what’s the story behind it with some context? Maybe this character just had dinner by him/herself and is walking away from that diner under the rain with a spectacular downtown vista filled with all these neon lights and people, but totally alone.

What inspired that story? How do you usually cultivate inspiration?   

Blade Runner, Akira, Alita and Ghost in the Shell are movies and comics that brought this passion for cyberpunk 20-30 years ago, this retro-future where everything looks new, but at the same time obsolete. This genre is great for my imagination with so many possibilities to create and no rules to hinder me. When I thought about the task for this cover, I definitely wanted to show the potential of this kit by demonstrating how busy and complex you can get with a scene and still create such a lonely environment at the same time. I consider myself a filmmaker more than a "shot" maker, so rather than just a pretty image I look for context and a storyline that will make people intrigued about the image itself.

Greyscale Render

Raw 3d Render

Final Image

What was your process creating this complex image? What Software did you use? 

I use 3DS Max and V-Ray for all the texturing, lighting and rendering. I did some modeling myself, pretty basic though, just basically to lay out that metro station, but 95% of the models are from the actual kit, and some others from the Greebles kit you guys also have, lots of possibilities to create and mix kits with awesome results!
I used Photoshop for my entire matte painting process, this took the longest time and was the most fun part! I usually start with 16bit PSD to keep as much color range as possible; I think at some point on this PSD I had over 500 layers! I want to keep full control of every detail until I feel happy with what I see, then I will collapse in groups.
At the end I will work on final process: grain / chromatic aberration / lens distortion in Nuke. I also used Nuke for most of my "glows" and blooms. You can work some really cool exponential glows there, because effects in photoshop are not good at all and not really optically correct.

How was your experience working with this kit? 

The possibilities for any creative idea you may have are huge, and you just need to place the elements and voila!-- you have a nice layout! So easy and so fast to get a nice image, because the buildings are designed to give you 2-3 versions every time you rotate them. I actually found it hard to decide which buildings to use because they are all so great! Also the PBR materials helped a lot, so easy to manipulate and get amazing results!

Why do you make art and what is your next goal?

I make art because it's a great opportunity to share your imagination with someone else. Sharing your visions is a great way to take an imaginary trip for anyone that looks at them, and at the same time you get to jump out of your current reality. I just have fun thinking about the places, the people, telling stories without words, the challenge itself to create believable worlds makes it exciting. My next goal is to continue sharing my worlds and stories, but maybe more from the Director's chair.

 

Don't miss your chance to grab Neo Shanghai for 50% off before July 2nd and keep an eye out for Jaime's PSD coming to you for FREE if you're signed up on the newsletter! 

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Jaime Jasso is a senior matte painter and art director currently working as an environment concept artist at Bonfire Studios in Southern California with more than 20 years of experience in visual effects for film and video game cinematics. His work includes the most recent Star WarsThe Last Jedi, Rogue One & The Force Awakens, as well as Avatar, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and many others.

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