Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

General Lighting Tutorial

Recommended Posts

Alrighty, lets get down to business. Lighting can make or break your signature so i'm going to just go through a few of my sigs that are completely lighting dependent, show you some before/after shots, then show you how i did the various effects. I'll try to be as clear as possible, if you don't understand something then just post it and I'll edit this.


But before i start, let me go through what lighting really is/does and why it is so important. Lighting is depth. your values (light to dark) along with perspective (which unless you include an entire scene in your sig is not something to worry about) By correctly lighting your tag you can go from 2-d to 3-d easily.


So lets start with my newest.




So here's the render, not much to look at ;D just notice the stuff that is about to go away and the stuff that is about to be added.


Notice how on the left side near his hair has been darkened, this accomplishes two moves in one by not only blending his hair into the blue i have extended, but it also gives me shadows which will help contrast my bright points later on.(i also drew a vector in illustrator to make the line on his shirt extend and then filled in the rest a matching gray and took out the dark gray bit, but that doesn't have much to do with the lighting ;D)


Now add a base white, basically to do this just make a big white circle and gaussian blur the crap out of it, this should cover a good portion of the sig but shouldn't be to strong we want a light base and then a strong center.


Now we make the second base, a smaller white dot thats blurred less not much to explain here xD


Now the part where it all comes together, the color and levels changing. What your seeing here is a gradient map i did, which took a while but all in all isn't that hard. Basically i picked a color for the shadows(red) the midtones(yellow) and the highlights(white duh.) then just move the sliders around until you get something nice and maybe choose a darker or lighter shade of a color to get a higher/lower contrast, for example i used a pretty bold red and a pretty bold yellow, but i have the red at 0 and the yellow at 50, so they transition much faster(thats why most of the sig is orange) and then white at 100 so the white at the mid top would be much stronger.






But you cant always do it like i did it in the first example. In this tag we have to do the lighting different because of how strong the lighting on the renders face is, you just can't get away with not having a lighting source inside the actual tag. But this was done in pretty much 2 steps, its not hard to explain but it can be hard to do. Basically what you do is draw a lighting source, as seen i drew (kinda xD) a lightning bolt with a very large top, and then you go over the source with bases to increase the light actually given off and to blend in the source. So just like in the last example i made 2 bases, 1 big one (you can tell the base on this one is huge, it covers the entire left side neg space) and then the smaller one (this one is much smaller than in the example preceding but it had to be because it was such a hard white outline without that transition to blend it in.)


P.S. If your having trouble drawing your source, don't give up, thats what the undo button is for ;D




In this example we will be analyzing subtle/small lighting and complex light sources. Notice that there are 2 light sources but one of them is off the canvas. The first is located above the head of the render nothing you really have to do here except for one MAJOR thing, make sure the hue is the same as the other light source.


Ok. that was the easy part, small lighting can be a pain in the ass though so strap yourself in. in subtle/small lighting you use not only a lot of bases, but alot of bases of different color. We start in this tag with a few white bases, some set to dodge some set to normal some to screen, it doesn't really matter as long as your get points with highlights (the lines left of his face) but keep them blended somewhat (thats why dodge/overlay aren't always your best options.)


The next base layer needs to be dark, this will give your source a much stronger highlight by contrasting its border. i used a dark blue circle then gaussian blurred it, then a black one on top of it (don't be afraid to play with opacity if they are too strong/weak)


Now is the source itself, pretty easy just make an orange/yellow circle and gaussian blur it just past the point it becomes spherical. Then (if needed, in this tag i felt it was better cut off) make a small white dot blur it and set it to dodge/overlay and then duplicate it or mess the opacity if needed.




Don't even attempt this without a tablet and exceptional drawing skills unless your one hell of a talented artist with a mouse, because while the explanation is short, this technique (the best and most natural looking, so its worth it ppl.) is a bitch to complete. I'll tell you right now half that render is repainted to have its hue's match and keep texture so if your not up to it don't waste your time cuz this is a long project. And i wont be going in how to make your bases or any thing you should already know because that will just take forever and wastes my time and yours.


Ok so start out with some bases BEHIND your render layer, this will act as back lighting but will not be as predominant as the winded lighting i have in front. i used some green & yellow bases and then made some white dots and directionally smudged (make sure its in the same direction as you want your wind to go in)


Now the part that will take you hours. Drawing Wind. Go to acrylics, select dry brush 10 and change the size to 2, now create a pallet of midtones in whatever colors you plan on using (i used to greens and blues in this) and basically you just draw lines, but they have to be REALLY good xD don't just go from point a to point b, get there with twists and spirals and splits, don't just draw a bunch of straight lines. After laying your midtones, go back with highlight versions and draw very lightly on top of them, to connect them somewhat and give the lines highlights, I strongly suggest using the oily blender constantly to make lines go smoother and to make their tails fade off easier. After you've got the basic composition down, go back and dodge and burn the crap out of it making sure they still look natural when your down, overcontrasting can be a bitch to fix.


Now that the hard parts over and done with, just go back and add some sparkles, to fill in neg space and throw in some light drawings like what i did on the left, basically just big dots i made in green and white next to each other and then smudged with the oily blender.



General Tips


1. Don't approach sigs with a lot of structure. (i.e. Add a background, then a render, then blend, then add text, finito.) You have to let them build on eachother, there should be just a background to a sig, you have to let the render and its environment complement eachother.


2. TEXT ISN'T A REQUIREMENT. I don't know how many times I've seen it ruin a decent sig. no one says you have to add text to a sig, so don't unless it actually helps the aesthetic quality of your sig.


P.S. The best way to prevent ripping is to become well known enough so that if someone does rip you another person will spot it and inform you. (In case you don't remember how i came to this site ;D)


3. Look over your work. If you finish a sig and you realize it would have been better if you did something else and you know how to fix it, then do it, even if it does take a long time. It's worth it.


4. Don't use other peoples resources, I don't care if they are for the public. Don't use brushes, c4d, fractals, or gradients that someone else made, make your things yourself please.


5. Practice!


6. For the love of god hook a brother up with some +rep.


omfg that took forever.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think adding text in a sig prevents other from using it with their name on it >.>


Great Tutorial! 5 Star Rating!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think adding text in a sig prevents other from using it with their name on it >.>


Great Tutorial! 5 Star Rating!


i added a little P.S. in there for ya ;D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fucking BRAVO. It's about time man. Not to say that you've been slacking, but I just wanted to see if anyone would benefit from your shit, yo.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this