What paint­ing tech­niques can I use to put a per­son in a spotlight?

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

Di­nah Trent, US

An­swer

Hous­ton replies

Light­ing is never an easy thing to make con­vinc­ing in a paint­ing, but spot­light­ing in par­tic­u­lar al­lows for a lot of sim­pli­fi­ca­tion, which makes your job eas­ier. Be­ing the only light source in the im­age is def­i­nitely a com­po­nent, but what re­ally makes a spotlit fig­ure both easy and con­vinc­ing is the mass­ing and sub­or­di­na­tion of the shadow shapes.

The key phrase to re­mem­ber is: in­for­ma­tion in the light, no in­for­ma­tion in the shadow. Group your shadow shapes into big, dis­tinct masses that have lit­tle to no form or de­tail. Be­cause the spotlit fig­ure is in a very dark set­ting, there won’t be much in the en­vi­ron­ment for the spotlight to bounce off of and in­flu­ence the shad­ows on the fig­ure. These large, sim­pli­fied shadow shapes are im­por­tant to the com­po­si­tion as well as the spotlight ef­fect, so try to de­sign these well.

To bal­ance this empti­ness of the dark ar­eas, all of the form and de­tail must be em­pha­sised in the lit ar­eas of the fig­ure. Be­cause there will prob­a­bly be a lot of empty dark­ness in the im­age, the form, tex­ture and colour in the light side needs to be re­ally in­ter­est­ing to strike a good bal­ance within the com­po­si­tion. Build up the form grad­u­ally and dra­mat­i­cally all the way up to a punchy high­light, the way an epic or­ches­tral song builds up its pow­er­ful crescendo.

By keep­ing in­for­ma­tion out of the shad­ows and em­pha­sis­ing it in the light, you can easily

cre­ate a con­vinc­ing and com­pelling spotlit fig­ure.

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