Dell Inspiron 1525 / Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet / Photoshop CS5
1. The first step was to pick a composition that would show as many varied layers of distance as possible.
2. Next a bright textured red-orange base was put down to compliment all the desaturated blues that would be in the scene. On another layer all the major compositional elements were roughly painted in.
3. On a third layer, after making the second layer semi-transparent, solid flat silhouettes of the forground rocks were painted in. Careful attention was paid to the variety and energy of their shapes as well as their realism.
4. The transparency of the previous layer was preserved and a quick wash with a rock textured brush (see Download for brushes) was placed over the rock shapes previously drawn. Light painting and cracks as well as some attention to the direction of the ambient light started to create their forms.
5. A similar technique was applied to the middle and background layers until completion.
6. Generally the goal is to find custom brushes that naturally express the materials in the scene with out literally looking like them.