I need help get­ting the translu­cence of my ghostly char­ac­ter right

Kenny Gil­braith, Eng­land

ImagineFX - - Your Questions Answered... -

An­swer Sam replies

Be­fore I go into it fur­ther, there’s one key rule to bear in mind when try­ing to achieve this ef­fect. You’re paint­ing the light hit­ting your ghost and be­cause it’s not a solid form we don’t see any­thing in the shadow ar­eas that the light doesn’t hit.

No value on your ghost should be darker than the back­ground be­hind it. You can achieve this ef­fect by paint­ing on a Lighten layer, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to paint any­thing darker than the back­ground.

There are also a num­ber of tricks to achieve the ghostly ef­fect you’re af­ter. You can use the Opac­ity func­tion, found in the Lay­ers win­dow, to cre­ate the ef­fect of light pass­ing through your ghost. This is good for show­ing shapes in the back­ground, driv­ing home the mes­sage that we’re look­ing through the ghost.

This will, how­ever, cre­ate a washed-out feel­ing, which leads me on to the next trick. Try out­lin­ing your ghost char­ac­ter with bright edges that soften on the in­side edge, to cre­ate a glow­ing ef­fect.

This is the best way of cre­at­ing a sil­hou­ette be­cause you’re not able to use darker val­ues. In ad­di­tion, try los­ing edges around the sil­hou­ette to cre­ate the im­pres­sion that the ghost isn’t a solid fig­ure.

Your choice of colour pal­ette has a huge part to play in cre­at­ing a creepy and ethe­real ghost girl.

I rec­om­mend blur­ring tex­tures or shapes to cre­ate be­liev­able depth. Per­fectly soft tran­si­tions can feel fake when used in the wrong cir­cum­stances.

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