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The future is here! Speed up your process and unlock new design workflows with PixelSquid. Learn how to create innovative concept art for film or games using Adobe Photoshop and PixelSquid.


The benefits of using PixelSquid and design-ready objects allows for a fast and flexible workflow. There are two time-consuming problems with Photoshop compositing. The first is finding imagery at the right angle, with the right light, and at the right quality…

LESSON 01: Inspiration & Mood Board

Being fans of science fiction the goal with this image is to create something epic, while paying homage to some of our favorite artists like Chris Foss, David René Christensen, Matthew Borrett, John Harris, Peter Elson, and newer talents like Pascal Blanché, Sparth and more—All incredible artists and imagery.

LESSON 02: Concept Sketching

Now that we have the inspiration and the mood board, it is time to start the visual development process and sketch out some thumbnails. We used Procreate on my iPad to sketch out some ideas, put down some quick color, and then choose a final concept to use.

LESSON 03: Set Up & Panorama Stitching

It is usually efficient to start your image off with a base, or a “plate.” This is an image that contains a chunk of the elements that your image needs. For this image, we used a panorama of the Shinjuku train station while on a vacation to Tokyo.

LESSON 04: Sky & Baseline Composite

Using Adobe Photoshop and the image and tool resources, this is where the magic begins to happen. Import, mask, and dial in each individual element so it “fits” into the image seamlessly is the goal.

LESSON 05: Building Up The Composite

When building up the layers, it is important to remember to work in broad strokes. You can’t start doing all the details if you don’t have a solid base construction for your composition. Get the structure for the entire image first.

LESSON 06: Adding Lights & Elements

In this chapter, it’s time to get into the details. Using the photo reference from Adobe Max 2016, we can build a panorama and comp them to my image. Setting the layer mode to screen drops out all the dark pixels and leaves just the bright ones.

LESSON 07: The Buildings & Spaceships

Now it’s time to focus on the main building and give it some attention to really make it pop. Using the building itself, we converted it into a mask layer, then copy and paste it into a layer mask. This allows us to quickly add in the lights to give it life.

LESSON 08: Squid-Bashing & Details

Let’s build up more depth by focusing on the foreground elements. Having multiple visual planes helps to provide a more vast and immersive concept. This is where you’ll use Pixel Squid to bring in some Cargo and even build a Sci-Fi truck with a driver!

LESSON 09: Finishing & Breakdown

Once you have your composition and elements put together and you feel like you are done—you are not. This is where you bring that extra 10% of the sauce and polish by using color grading, sharpening, and filter effects to really make your image pop.


  Create a Pro Mood Board

  Generate multiple Sketches

  Stitch & Composite Photos

  Edit 3D PixelSquid objects

  Color Grading and Finishing

Dave Pasciuto


Dave Pasciuto is an award-winning creative director who has worked across multiple industries-focusing on high-visibility projects for film, animation, video games, and advertising campaigns that span every market.

Throughout his career, he has worked with clients that  includes Disney, Nickelodeon, Sony, Activision, and Electronic Arts on licenses like Star Wars, Marvel, TMNT, and many, many more.