Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Xerjester's cg tip of the week - Glows
xerjester at 6:53AM, April 27, 2007
posts: 65
joined: 4-24-2007
I decided, since I can't be fussed to sit down and do a full tutorial yet (something people have bugged me about on other sites) that I'd dole out some CG tricks that I use a piece at a time for you guys. I'll try to pop in once a week with something new. Just understand, that when i give a tip, it's just the way I do things, and not the “right” way, per se. You have to go with your own style and skill level. However, these tips might give you a grounding or starting point that you can build on in your colorwork.

Now then: GLOWS.

Energy effects, shiny metal, bright reflections, etc. These are the little touches that can make colored artwork really “pop”. But I want you to put something into practice first and foremost when working with Photoshop:

1. Stay the heck away from “Outer Glow”/“Inner Glow” layer settings.

That's not what we're here to learn. Leave those settings for kitsch animated text. What we're here to learn is basically how the industry colorists pull it off, and I can point you in the right direction there.

So - you have your finished piece. It's colored. It's snazzy. It's awesome. Yes? Good. Time to turn it up to 11.

Create a new layer above the others (or the artwork if you've collapsed your layers together). Set this layer's blending mode to Linear Dodge.

Now comes the fun part. The color of the glow is dependent on two things:

1. The color of your main lightsource (yes, COLOR. Unless your comic or piece takes place in a scientific cleanroom, the light has color. Be mindful of that)
2. The color of what you're adding the effect to.

Naturally, things like lightning, fire, energy blasts or magic effects will emit their own lightsource, so in that case you're really just pulling off their color. So let's got with something like metal.

Let's say you have a plainly lit scenario - regular sunshine on metal. In that case, you can get away with just picking a complimentary color to the overall color of the metal itself. So, if we're talking the steel of a sword, try a grayish-blue.

It sounds odd, but remember we're dealing with a linear dodge layer here, so what you see in your pallette ain't necessarily what you get.

Now, get yourself a nice soft-edged brush. Personally, I like to set the brush settings here to Opacity: 20% and Flow 20%. Now, take that and begin painting onto the layer on your object where the lightsource would strike the most directly. Don't be shy in going outside of the lines- we're talking a glow here, after all.

Build up the glow as you see fit. Just remember, that a natural reflective surface like metal isn't going to blaze like the sun, (unless you have the Sun butting right up to it) so practice some restraint and subtlety. Even a little of this effect can do wonders.

Well, I hope that helps a bit. See you all next week!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
junoblairb at 7:15AM, April 27, 2007
posts: 350
joined: 10-19-2006
I heart you. I was actually gonna send you a message about this! Now I don't have to.

Do you have maybe an example of what you were showing us? Is this like the first page of your comic when you talk about the sword?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:11PM
xerjester at 7:35AM, April 27, 2007
posts: 65
joined: 4-24-2007
Basically yeah. The whole comic's really an example of this - but that cover gives a better idea, since the other pages deal with directional colored light (firelight, explosions, magic) that take a bit longer to deal with, but the same method's used.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
subcultured at 7:43AM, April 27, 2007
posts: 5,392
joined: 1-7-2006
hey man, yer back
old skool DD :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:02PM
xerjester at 7:51AM, April 27, 2007
posts: 65
joined: 4-24-2007
^_^ Yep - love what you guys have done with the place!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM
Zenstrive at 2:07PM, April 27, 2007
posts: 243
joined: 10-10-2006
Yeah, I do layer and brush for glow too. But I use 12% opacity and 75% flow.

Just adding: Use the brush's blending method of Screen or Linear Dodge. They are a boost in making things glow.

And for metallic surface, add some solar flares.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:55PM

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