How can I recre­ate the ef­fect of an an­gelic back­light on a char­ac­ter?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation Artist Q & A | Your questions answe - Ni­cola Bradshaw, Eng­land

An­swer

Dave replies

Paint­ing bright light can of­ten be a chal­lenge, but mas­ter­ing a few sim­ple tech­niques will make this much eas­ier for you. A mis­take I used to make was to push my bright light source as white as pos­si­ble, but since we can’t get whiter than white, where does one go from there? It’s ac­tu­ally sim­pler to cre­ate the illusion of bright­ness by care­ful han­dling of the ar­eas around the light source in­stead.

Di­rect light scat­ters, both in the at­mos­phere and in the hu­man eye. Learn to sim­u­late this corona ef­fect in your art in­stead of blow­ing out the con­trast in your light source, and you’ll pro­duce a much more sat­is­fy­ing re­sult. If you com­bine this with care­ful edge light­ing, you can pro­duce a pow­er­ful vis­ual ef­fect.

Cre­pus­cu­lar rays, or sun rays, are per­haps the most ob­vi­ous ef­fect, but it’s easy to overdo them. A soft touch with th­ese can do the job very well with­out things grow­ing out of con­trol. In ad­di­tion, a hint of bounce light from your fore­ground can con­trib­ute to the sense of a scene be­ing bathed in light. Let’s look at how adding each one of th­ese ef­fects drives the im­age closer to our de­sired re­sult.

Us­ing sev­eral sim­ple op­ti­cal ef­fects, you

can turn a staid char­ac­ter por­trait into some­thing

more strik­ing.

Here’s my line art, scanned

in and ap­plied to toned pa­per. I’m go­ing to change

the drawing’s im­pact.

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