High­light your deep-sea fo­cal point

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Your Questions Answered... -

1 I start off with a rough sketch and some colours, to see what di­rec­tion I want to take the il­lus­tra­tion in. At this point I have four lay­ers: the back­ground, the sketch, the flat colours for the mer­maid and the light. Sep­a­rate lay­ers make it eas­ier to make ad­just­ments. Later on you can flat­ten the lay­ers as you see fit.

2 Keep the mood of your pic­ture in mind. To make the most of your light source, keep ev­ery­thing around it rather dark. Tweak this ef­fect by mak­ing use of Layer Ad­just­ments (Im­age>Ad­just­ments) to darken or de­sat­u­rate dif­fer­ent parts of the im­age or by us­ing Layer modes, such as Mul­ti­ply, and a Soft brush.

3 I kept the di­rect light on a sep­a­rate layer un­til now. Once I’m happy with the colours in the scene, I flat­ten ev­ery­thing down and start de­tail­ing the face and the parts that are il­lu­mi­nated by the sphere. I also put more work into the light source it­self and add the rays of light on a Soft Light layer on top.

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