Tutorial - Light and Shadow

by Raffa aka Picster




Hey, welcome to this tutorial covering lights and shadows.

The goal of this small tutorial is to give a better understanding of light, shadow and material prpertys.

The sample pictures are created digitally for a better understanding.
I hope you can use the knowledge anyway and apply the theory to the miniatures.

So: Let's begin!

Face Base
This is the basic picture, you may see it as the base coat.
On the right side there are two reference objects for a better understanding of the light situation.



Face Example 1
In the first example, the light comes from up / frontal, the light isn't to strong as you can see from the glossiness of the skin.



For example, the fold under the eye should get special attention.
There you can see how lightning on such sharp edges can be presented easily and dramatic.



Face Example 2
In this example the light comes from straight above.



This kind of lightning let objects look very dramatic.
Especially faces get this kind of insane or evil creepy touch.
All bigger objects like eyebrows, chin and nose cast a strong hard shadow.

Face Example 3
In folgendem Bild fällt das Licht von schräg links vorne ein.
In the following picture the light comes from the left front.



Here you have to look out on prominent objects like the nose that cast a shadow.

Face Example 4
In this example, another light source comes in.



To enhance the effect of such a lightning you can enhance the effect to an unrealistic level as in the above picture.
Normally the turquoise light would cast a much more diffuse lightning.
By setting small and selective highlights you can create a much deeper, threedimensional effect.

Face Example 5
So far so good, now let's bring some colors into play.



The light source here is the same as in example 3.
What is new here is a green global lightning, you can imagine the guy being in the canalisation.
From the green surrounding light the shadows are tinted in a green color.

Face Example 6
Here is the last example that combines all of the stuff shown before.



A global blue light, a white light from the left and a turquiose light from the right.
As you can see the skin tone is tinted in the color of the global light.
In this case you can see the skin looks a bit pale and has a blue tint.

Theory on Edges
So, here is some theory:



As you can see here you have to think about the shape of a edge.
The left edge on the picture gets darker to the middle.
The "edge" on the right is soft in the middle and so it'll be brighter there.

Glossiness
Every material has a different kind of glossiness.



Here are some examples as the light reacts on different kind of surfaces/materials and produces different kinds of gloss effects.
On cotton for example you have very diffuse hightlights with little gloss.
Plastic on the opposite produces very large and strong highlights.
On metal the highlights are usually very sharp and strong.
Sure there are some materials that fall out of this pattern as for example brushed metal or satin and silk.
The best Advice there is maybe to just take some photos and study the material by watching it.
In the end of this glossiness chapter i have to say that this information MAY have limited use on miniatures, but maybe you just want to make a new step or try out something new ;)

Light Effects (OSL)
Here a little something on OSL effects as most people call those painted light effects (Fire, Magic, Lightning,......)



Logically the Highlight gets weaker the more the light source is away from the object.
What's also important: Do not stay on the same color all the time while painting such highlights!

For example:
Fire: Red -> Orange -> Yellow -> White
Magic: Blue -> Turquiose -> Green -> White (looks even more mystical that way)
The closer the light source is to the object, the brighter you go with the color and while fading the highlight go over all the colors...... i hope you know what i mean ;)


So, after all i hope i wrote some interessting stuff not everyone did know ;)

Edit by Kong: To this article i've added something intresting i found while hanging around in different forums, thanks to Thomas at this point for linking this up!


Cheers,
Raffaele

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