Painterly lighting in Photoshop

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Painterly lighting in Photoshop

Post  Radialronnie on Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:03 pm

There are different ways of shading your paintings in Photoshop. The most common of which is probably to create a new layer over your flat/colored/diffuse layer, and set this new layer's blend-mode to something like an Additive, Multiply, or Overlay, all depending on which direction you're pushing your values. But that leaves something to be desired because you probably won't get nice color blending between your dark and light tones. No more. I have come up with a revolutio[narly] new technique which will change your life. Call now to receiv.....
If you're still not clear on what I'm talking about, take a look at these images (On Google Images); notice the over exposure effect at the brightest values, and how the colors change over the range of values.

Here's a quick doodle showing you what you could do with this.


Why is this technique good? It allows your to color your lighting which in the strictest sense IS possible without, it would, however, require constant brush color switching OR simply using one color. This blends any given range of colors into your shading layer.


Without the lighting layers, the scene looks like this:



Here's how you do it:
(if you're a PS expert, let me save you time: Gradient-map Adjustment on a black/white shading layer)

Paint your shading layer as you normally might, but in black and white.

Push the darks a bit, and bring in all the lights. It's rough, it's quick, but it'll work.

Now here's where the fun happens. Add to your shading layer, a Gradient-map Adjustment.


Start playing with the colors. Click on the gradient itself to open the editor.
Here's mine:


What the adjustment does is replace your layer's values with the values and colors you pick for your gradient. Mine turns the blacks into vaguely blue/purple tones, and on into oranges before finally blooming out into a just off-white yellow.

The cool thing is that your imagination is the limit to what you can do with this technique. For example, one of the default gradients turns my scene into something reminiscent of Van Gogh.


There are some small problems with this technique. Unlike shading with a solid layer-for instance a pure black layer set to an additive blendmode- you can't always easily switch from lights to shadows. Notice the shadow terminator around the base of my light. A work around is to use a pure black, and a 25% grey for your brush colors. Set your Brush's blend mode to something like overlay. This way you "paint" the blacks, but "add" the lights. Alternatively, you could modify your gradient to ignore 50% greys. You could then start off with such a 50% grey layer before pushing your values in both directions with a normal black/white brush. I have not tried that yet though.
Experiment with it a bit! Good luck, and happy painting.

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Re: Painterly lighting in Photoshop

Post  Nixon on Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:39 pm

Great hint...gotta try that out in GiMP one day or the other! I gotta figure what this looks likeif u use render layers on this..might make for some cool NPR technique too!
Thanks for sharing Smile
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Re: Painterly lighting in Photoshop

Post  BnBGobo99 on Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:27 pm

I've queued this up to try... I was thinking about this tutorial last night, and it finally hit me--you could make a night/day/evening scene without having to repaint the lighting, just create different gradients. You could even have sharp shadows for daytime and blur the layer for a cloudy/candle scene, then adjust the gradient depending on the mood you want.

Nice effect--I'm definitely going to try this out.

(btw, have you been on www.polycount.com? I just discovered it through Pinterest, but it seems right up your alley, RR.)
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Re: Painterly lighting in Photoshop

Post  Radialronnie on Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:51 pm

BnBGobo99 wrote:(btw, have you been on www.polycount.com?  I just discovered it through Pinterest, but it seems right up your alley, RR.)
Yep! Their What-Are-You-Working-On, and showcase threads are definitely worth following. And you are right, I used to be really interested in real time art, but like you guys have probably noticed, I've fallen in love with 2D, and workflow-agnostic art. For my 2D fix, I used to go to CG Hub, but they had a little bit of a fiasco lately, and a large portion of the community moved to http://drawcrowd.com/ (Warning, artistic Not-Safe-For-Work material possible on the home page.)

Nevertheless, this is pretty bloody cool.
http://www.polycount.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2006378&postcount=1710

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