Can you help me depict a creature in flames please? Mani Chaudhury, India
First, bear in mind that, unless there’s a strong source of light in the scene, the fire should be the brightest element. The burning object should be painted in dark tones, even if it’s a light colour. This is crucial because if the image isn’t lit realistically then the fire isn’t going to look like fire.
Once the object is finished, it’s time to add the flames. I surround the object with orange or red flames, and then paint the bright yellow flames behind, to envelope the object without hiding it completely. When painting the flames, use Soft brushes and mix layer modes such as Screen, Soft Light and Overlay. This makes it easier to blend the flames and the object together.
It’s important to spend some time trying to understand the shapes of fire, because not all the flames are the same. Watch videos of fires and you’ll notice long, sinuous flames alongside short, fast-moving flames. Adjust your brush settings to achieve the right shapes. As a final touch, adding some incandescent ashes flying around the fire can really sell the idea.
Paint the fire with a combination of Soft Light, Overlay, Screen and Normal layers. This is a good way to deal with light and colour.