How can I give a pat­tern a re­al­is­tic un­der­wa­ter glow?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation -

Vicky Smit, New Zealand

Dave replies

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.

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