- Software: GIMP or Adobe Photoshop
- Level: Intermediate
- Subject: Glowing Objects – Lightning
This tutorial is a short one, but would be explaining an intermediate level of digital painting technique. It is a walkthrough of painting a lightning against a moderately dark plain sky. Once you understand the technique, you should be able to apply the same technique for painting variations in the subject – sparkles, energy beams, or light sabers.
When painting a glowing energy streak – remember to choose a color palette that is contrasting in terms of value. You may want to choose contrasting color too to help in composition of the piece but may not be always possible (it would be weird to draw a blue colored flame).
For this example, I used a moderately dark blue for the sky. It is just not possible to get the right effect of a lightning against a white background.
This step might seem a bit counter-intutive. Use a soft edged round brush, take a color even darker than the background and paint over the area roughly where you would be painting the lightning. Even it the lighting seems to glow, to achieve a bright effect, putting an even darker background helps achieve the contrast.
The next few steps are just about taking smaller brushes each time and taking a step towards the bright lighting color through the palette. (You can even create another small image and mix up the sky and the lightning color to get the different shades).
You can see here I have started painting with a yet smaller brush. The screenshot is when I finished doing it only partially so you can see the difference.
Since it is lightning you are painting, you do not need to draw steady lines. You do not even need to keep the subsequent lines exactly in the middle of the earlier lines you have drawn. A different subject, say a engergy beam might require more steady hand.
Here, I have painted, what one would call the ‘white hot’ areas. Do not choose white, but some thing really pale should do the trick.
As I mentioned before, you can use this technique to paint any variations of this subject. You can even translate the technique to different styles of digital painting. For example, I did the same subject, but using ‘cut-edge style shading‘.
Do post the results of your works that you did using this technique in the comments below.
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