Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Shading and Lighting Tips
Hewy at 12:46AM, June 22, 2007
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I'm just wondering if anyone has in tips or tutorials on how to properly shade and highlight using photoshop. I've been wanting to make use of some shading in my comic, but I can never really get it right. Let me know what I can do. Thanks
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
Eunice P at 2:48AM, June 22, 2007
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Perhaps you could show us a sample of your work? Or Perhaps you could tell us which are the parts that you couldn't “get it right” so that we could analyze where you could improve.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
ShadowsMyst at 10:34AM, June 22, 2007
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Well, I usually go by the rule of thumb, “If it doesn't work in black and white, color won't save it.” This applies generally to the concept of lighting as well, as first you have to master light and shadow (lighting sources, depth of shadow, diffusion, etc.), and then you can move to color.

A book I found really useful was Dynamic Light and Shade by Burne Hogarth. I referenced it extensively when learning how to do lighting, and still do. I found it much easier to understand light sourcing and get used to black and white by purposefully doing high contrast black and white artwork. ( think Frank Miller…). A lot of artists seem ot be afraid of doing deep shadow for obliterating the linework, but don't realize it actually makes the work look better.

Another thing I've always held to my heart was something my dad taught me. And that was “In order to create light, you have to create shadow.”. Because we work with a subtractive medium, we have to add in the dark colors in order to make the light seem lighter. Another useful trick I was taught at a con was never to use white. Use offgrey. Save your white for only intensely bright light sources, or extreme shines.

The other thing you have to get over is the idea that you know what color everything is. Color is dictated by the light sources. In a place where there is like, say moonlight, everything is going to have a bluish palor and there aren't many colors present. Whereas in candle light everything is yellowish, with only hints of the original colors that are extremely warm. These are all things you have to be aware of when you ‘light’ a scene.

There are probably some tutorials on deviantart if you search for them. Give it a try.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
Hewy at 1:07PM, June 22, 2007
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posts: 45
joined: 12-13-2006
ShadowsMyst
Well, I usually go by the rule of thumb, “If it doesn't work in black and white, color won't save it.” This applies generally to the concept of lighting as well, as first you have to master light and shadow (lighting sources, depth of shadow, diffusion, etc.), and then you can move to color.

A book I found really useful was Dynamic Light and Shade by Burne Hogarth. I referenced it extensively when learning how to do lighting, and still do. I found it much easier to understand light sourcing and get used to black and white by purposefully doing high contrast black and white artwork. ( think Frank Miller…). A lot of artists seem ot be afraid of doing deep shadow for obliterating the linework, but don't realize it actually makes the work look better.

Another thing I've always held to my heart was something my dad taught me. And that was “In order to create light, you have to create shadow.”. Because we work with a subtractive medium, we have to add in the dark colors in order to make the light seem lighter. Another useful trick I was taught at a con was never to use white. Use offgrey. Save your white for only intensely bright light sources, or extreme shines.

The other thing you have to get over is the idea that you know what color everything is. Color is dictated by the light sources. In a place where there is like, say moonlight, everything is going to have a bluish palor and there aren't many colors present. Whereas in candle light everything is yellowish, with only hints of the original colors that are extremely warm. These are all things you have to be aware of when you ‘light’ a scene.

There are probably some tutorials on deviantart if you search for them. Give it a try.

thanks for the info.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:48PM
arteestx at 9:28AM, June 25, 2007
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posts: 285
joined: 6-1-2007
One tip that helps me is to have your shadows and highlights on a different channel than your basic flats channel. I find it easier to manipulate the lighting techniques separately than when it's already combined with the main colors.

I don't know what tools you have, but I am finding that working with a mouse does not give you natural looks of shadows compared to a graphics tablet. Right now, a mouse is all I have, so I don't do too much with complicated shadows, like hair. But if you're finding that your coloring doesn't “look right”, that may be part of it.

If you post an example of what you're talking about, or trying to accomplish, it'd be easier to give some more specific advice.

Xolta is not intended for anyone under 18 years old.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM

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