Leon Alvarado talks about Creating a visual future for The Future Left Behind

The packaging for my 2016 album The Future Left Behind includes a series of digital photo-realistic illustrations. These illustrations were done by combining a series of techniques that involve real photography as well as hand illustrated elements and computer generated elements. The work can be at times arduous but the results are often rewarding. The Future Left behind album jacket and booklet contains a total of eight illustrations that where done that way. Each one involved hours of work in planing and execution.
The illustration shown here through the animation shows an abbreviated form of various stages of development from start to finish. This illustration is found inside the booklet and shows the interior of a space-bound cruise liner of sorts.
I approached the illustration as if I were dressing a film set based on an existing location. I started by researching for an image that could be used for the specific purpose of looking like a ship’s lounge. I looked through hundreds and hundreds of photos looking for the right image. I started by researching through cruise ship photos, airport terminals and airport lounges photos, ballrooms, train stations, hotel lobbies, conference centers and even office buildings interiors. I also wanted a photograph that had it’s perspective point in the center of the image. Similar to the way Stanley Kubrik used to frame his shots. It’s a way to “guide” the viewers eyes towards the center of the composition and to make things appear larger than how they really are.
The final image used is based on a photograph that was taken inside the Bagration bridge which is a pedestrian bridge that spans the Moscow River and connects the Tower 2000 building with the main Moscow International Business Centre. The bridge itself has a futuristic design which made it a perfect fit for my purposes.
I started by resizing the proportions of the photo and making the interior of the bridge wider in appearance. This means that the curved windows in the real bridge aren’t as oblong as they appear in my illustration, it’s merely a detail to help making the final illustration look even more futuristic. From there it was a matter of adding all the details needed to achieve the desired effect. It sounds simple but it took for every piece of the original photograph to be retouched, redrawn, drawn-over or be completely modified to get to the final image.
Among the most notable changes are: people, furniture, graphic treatments, computer screens and displays, the earth floating in space viewed from the window, a space station, another spaceship cruising along towards the station, light effects, descriptive signalization, changes in reflections and shadows, floor treatment, rail treatment, overall color and brightness.
In the animation below you can study in detail as some of the major changes that were applied to the original image. In the end, not many people would ever guess that the image started as the interior of a bridge in Russia.
If the animation doesn’t look somewhat smooth, give it sometime to load as it is a few megs in size. I think it will be worth your wait.

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