Artist Q&A

Ad­vice from pro artists on paint­ing ghosts, ex­pres­sions, air­locks, pelts and much more.

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What light­ing will suit a flamethrower ac­tion scene?

Fran Perkins, Eng­land


Mark replies

The film Aliens pops into my mind when I hear the word flamethrower. I’ll de­pict a scene from the same uni­verse, where a trooper dis­cov­ers an alien nest.

In­stead of go­ing into full-on de­tail­ing I want to fo­cus on cre­at­ing the over­all mood and light­ing scheme for the scene, al­most like a sto­ry­board frame from a film. Us­ing the flames as my main light source in­stantly places the fo­cus on the ac­tion it­self, which helps me clearly sep­a­rate the sol­dier and the eggs visu­ally.

In­deed, I want to sep­a­rate the two worlds as much as pos­si­ble, so I use a com­ple­men­tary sec­ondary light source: a cold de­sat­u­rated blue light to work against the ag­gres­sive warm or­ange of the flamethrower’s flame. This not only helps to frame the sol­dier from both sides with rim lights, mak­ing his sil­hou­ette much more read­able, but gen­er­ates the most con­trast around my fo­cal point.

Try to use your light sources and the amount of de­tails you’re paint­ing to di­rect the viewer’s eye to your fo­cal ar­eas. I en­sure that the most val­ues are as­so­ci­ated with the char­ac­ter

in the mid-ground.

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