Help me illustrate an underwater light source
Jim Curtis, England
Answer Lorena replies
Light behaves differently underwater than it does above it, which affects not only the lighting of a scene but also the colours. The first thing you have to keep in mind is that because water is much denser than air, light doesn’t travel as far and thus doesn’t illuminate the environment as it would out in the open.
As for the colour, everything receives a blue or green-ish tint and the deeper the scene is set in the watery environment, the more intense and darker this becomes. That’s why deep in the ocean you won’t see a lot of red, if at all. Keep this in mind when painting!
Decide on what kind of light source you want to paint, and experiment with Layer and Brush modes to create different effects. Soft Light and Color Dodge can help you achieve interesting glowing effects. Red light is very rare in underwater environments, but it can attract the eye, so try it if this suits the scene.
If you want to keep things straightforward, a teal or blue light source will enable you to light up your focal point more easily.
Though the light won’t travel very far, you can use an unnatural light source to put the focus on a specific part of your image.