Step-by-step: Bring in di­rec­tional light­ing

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I start by paint­ing the en­vi­ron­ment us­ing lo­cal colours only, with­out the ef­fect of di­rec­tional light­ing. I some­times start with darker or lighter lo­cal colours to set the ini­tial tone of the image, such as a dark, mys­te­ri­ous scene or a light, hope­ful one. Only then do I add the light source…

I start with a Lev­els ad­just­ment layer to brighten ev­ery­thing up, then in­vert the layer mask and paint into it to cre­ate the light source and ar­eas of bounce light. I then use an Over­lay layer to paint the tri­an­gu­lar beam of light and add some soft cast shad­ows around the room.

This strength­ens the di­rec­tion of the light. To add at­mos­phere to the light, I use a Color Dodge layer to paint in some specks of dust lit by the stream of light. I also use this layer to add hot spots of light­ing to other ar­eas of the room that are be­ing di­rectly hit by the light.

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