My friend jessicadaeneryssnow asked me about how to do the wheatley glowy eye and I thought it might be a good idea to just do a little tut on how to make with the glowy magics.
I literally pumped this out in 20 minutes so it looks sloppy and bad. I apologize, but I hope it gets the point across.
Program I use is Photoshop 8.0 - It shouldn’t be much different for other programs or previous versions. You can usually find the terms I use in all of them. (Blending modes, and Gaussian blur are important here.)
Loki will be my example.
So here we go, click to read on.
I usually wait to do effects like lighting and glowing objects until I’ve finished quite a bit of the image already. Maybe that’s a bassakwards way of doing things. Some would say you need to do all the lighting and shadows at the same time, but I usually do glowing effects at the end and touch up the lighting/shadows as needed. For the sake of speeding things along I just started with Loki and flat colors.
We’re making his staff glow. So on a new layer put a blob of neon or light blue (RGB Cyan here) down on top of the part you want to look like it’s glowing. Next you’re going to go up into “Filter” on your top menu and click “Blur” and then “Gaussian Blur”
Change the pixel radius to whatever makes you happy. There’s no rules just what you feel looks right. I think mine was between 6-8. you can see already that it kind of looks like it’s glowing. This is what you do with Wheatley’s eye or Human Wheatley’s eyes or chest core. That’s all you have to do for him so you can stop here if you like. But if you want more detail and lighting effects then keep reading.
To really make the glow pop out, a darker background works wonders. This is why I usually finish everything and leave lighting effects til the end. But this flat gray BG does the trick. I also added shadows to Loki and you can already see that the staff is glowing and casting light.
Adding cast light and reflected light will also improve this. Sorry I was a bit sloppy and didn’t really show off the reflected light. (there would actually be a bit of green reflected light because of his clothes. Right there along his jaw and underside of his helmet.)
Halos and ‘God rays’ are more lighting effect that can come in handy. Start two new layers. One for the halo and the other for the ‘God rays’ (I’m nailing two birds with one stone here, you don’t have to do both… in fact I really wouldn’t because it starts bordering on too much.)
You’ll want to use Gaussian blur on the halo. Lighten them up, blur them out. Do what makes you happy. If you want them very subtle you can change the blending mode on the layer to soft light. (Blending modes are found in your “layers” window in Elements. Usually it’s a drop down menu right under the Layers tab.) Above, I simply used Gaussian blur and left it at that.
Now for the term and technique of God rays. Technically, this is referring to the lighting in nature when you can clearly see the sun rays breaking through clouds or through the shadowed canopy of trees. It’s often used in religious motivational posters and such, so thus we have the term God rays. It has stuck with me since my first Photoshop class and it is the one thing I have had to teach in every class I have taken since.
There’s a few ways to do this. One way is to create a new layer - create a star burst selection, feathering that selection by 30-60%, paint bucket the selection with whatever color you want the light, and then blur that layer before setting the blending mode to soft light. Rinse.. repeat… until things light up your life.
The second way is the 'I'm lazy so I cheated and just scribbled out blue lines and went bam done'. Blur the lines with Gaussian blur, set the blending mode to Soft Light and there you go.
Now see if we had a lovely background and a more detailed character the rays would have just softly colored the image a lighter shade. It would have been exactly whats on the tin, soft light. But here you can see the rays a little.
So there you go, little effects and tricks can make it look like things are glowing. Here’s another example. ((This pic is a bit old though.))
Same techniques but a bit more detail.
I hope this helps. XD And again, I’m sorry about how scribbly and slap dash this is. I hope it wasn’t confusing.
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