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Cinematic Sci-Fi with Sebastien Hue

By Terri Stone

The science-fiction scenes that French image-maker Sebastien Hue creates may be imaginary, but the light falling on those planets still follows the laws of physics. Hue learned how to depict realistic light the same way he learned digital painting—through careful observation and experimentation. Watch the video excerpts below to see Hue (also known as Shue13) composite multiple Adobe Stock assets using Adobe Photoshop CC. The result looks like it belongs in the next futuristic blockbuster.

Are you inspired by Hue? You can download 10 images from Adobe Stock for free and try it yourself.

There’s another reason why Sebastien Hue’s sci-fi scenes draw us in: The perspective is right. He believes that it’s crucial to properly define perspective in the beginning, which he does in the clip above.

To rapidly create his photo-realistic concept art, Hue uses the photobashing technique. (Common in the entertainment industry, photobashing involves copying and pasting bits and pieces from stock imagery.) Hue applies the Adobe Stock assets almost as if they were textures. To match the perspectives, he stretches the selections (Transformation > Distort). To blend them with the existing elements, he adjusts their values using the Curves adjustment.

Hue turns to Photoshop’s Curves and Brightness/Contrast adjustments and the Color Lookup filter to define mood and color scheme.

In this clip, Hue adds an image from Adobe Stock to the large screen in his illustration. He chose the photo carefully; does it change what you think is happening in the overall scene?

Hue used some of the Adobe Stock assets in several places; repetition and duplication help the artwork to be more consistent. 

Hue turns his focus to the man on the platform in this clip.

Next, Hue adds more atmosphere and drama through haze and smoke. He says that not only does It heighten the sense of mystery, but it also enhances the sense of depth between elements and, practically, masks some details that might otherwise distract the viewer from the scene’s focal point.

In this clip, Hue adds lighting effects to heighten the sci-fi ambiance and draw greater attention to the focal point.

Click the image above to see Hue make final adjustments with Photoshop’s Curves feature and add a bit of roughness with the Lens Blur, High Pass, and Noise tools.

To learn more about Sebastien Hue, visit his website. If you’re new to Photoshop compositing, begin with our one-minute video how-to.