How can I give a pattern a realistic underwater glow?
Vicky Smit, New Zealand
Since your original artwork used a glowing design on a crab, Vicky, I’ve employed similar elements inspired by turtle shells. Bright sunlight through water can be dramatic, but will tend to wash out the effect we’re after, so I create a composition that has some shadowed or darker areas to help bring out the effect. Water naturally diffuses light more than air, so we’ll take that into account. I’m also keeping my glowing elements on separate layers, to easily keep full control of the effects.
The glowing cracks of light in the “shell hats” are made with the same flat Brush/ Eraser I’m using throughout. Instead of a uniform glow effect applied to the cracks layer, I use a new Overlay layer and paint the glows using the same colour. I want to vary this, so that the cracks facing the viewer release more light. This colour corona technique helps the glow feel more natural and less like a preset filter. Junction points are highlighted, while the distant light arrays have a much more diffuse and overall soft glow.
Easter Island-like figures with unusual turtle shell “hats” are buried
on the sea bottom. Strange machines or dreaming creatures?
Distant objects become low-contrast silhouettes, and distant light sources have much less strength and sharpness, with a larger, softer glow. When a character has a beaming smile, many areas of the face are affected. Try to consider them all as you paint.