Lighting helps to define an image.  We have sunlight, house lights, campfires, flashlights, and even the light from our computers.  Light creates shadow on our faces, and let’s us know how 3 dimensional an object really is.

But how do you create light in a digital painting.

One way is to follow the old fashioned way of doing things.  You mix colors that are lighting and you paint them around the area that you want the light to make brighter.  This is a tried and true practice that we’ve all done at some point in natural media.

But there is another way.

Using Overlay to Create Lighting

This little trick can be used with any program that uses layers and has the ability to change the type of layer it is, such as normal or screen or, most importantly, overlay.  Using the overlay setting along with the right colors creates a more realistic and dynamic look when it comes to lighting.  Rather than feeling applied to the image, like it often does when treating the digital painting like we would a natural media painting, the overlay method creates a three dimensional feel.

And boy does it brighten up the image.

The best part about it is how simple it is.  By merely manipulating a few settings and using simple brushes, it’s like you have the light source right there on your screen.  So enjoy this short little tip that will help you create realistic lighting.

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