Monday, July 18, 2011

Night Light - The Trick

Not too long ago, I told you that I was very excited about the way painting digitally allows you to manipulate colors consistently, and therefore keep continuity and make your work believable.  I had to take an existing character, and make it look like she's sitting in the dark, illuminated by her laptop only.

Here's a little dose of color theory: the darker it is, the cooler everything looks, and the less contrast it has.

Whenever I have to do a series of images in photoshop, I create a palette layer, and include all the colors I use.  This means everything can have perfect continuity, within a single image, and from one frame to the next in sequential art.  To make a night scene as believable as possible, you must do the same thing to each color.  This is incredibly easy on the computer.
With your palette on its own layer, do a color overlay.  Use a very cool, almost grey blue.
Shoot for something like this:   Make adjustments as necessary, but this will make for a good, dramatic difference.

Then, when you pick up the colors from your palette, it will find the adjusted colors.  Paint away, and it will automatically look like cool, evening light!  Here's the difference:
Illustrated Rachel - Daytime

Illustrated Rachel - Illuminated by Computer

I did cheat a little when it came to the hair color.  The highlights were much lighter than I thought they should be, for only having light on a little bit of her hair.  This is where one must use a discerning eye and take liberties!  

1 comment:

  1. That's a cool technique. I really love shooting pictures during the 15 minutes before sunset because the light is actually a lovely tangerine. Sometimes we don't see what color the light is in the environment because our eyes have adjusted to it, but our cameras can pick up these colors. For example, during the noon-day sun the trunk of a redwood tree is drab and brown. The angled light near sunset turns the trunks of redwood trees to a magical glowing brick orange. Dunno if that makes sense. But anyway, I love playing with the light at different times of day. Long exposure night shots are fun too.