Adding Light

Surface Lighting determines the general depth effect of the Impasto Effect in Painter X. The default lighting of this feature is not bad, and for most work it is adequate. Making some slight adjustments to the default settings can add some subtle yet quite beautiful effects to the painting.

Choosing the right direction and color of the light source can add beautiful depth and texture to a stroke. The direction and elevation of the light source can be adjusted by clicking and dragging the small black circle in the middle of the highlight on the sphere.

Take care when changing the position of the light on the virtual globe in the Surface Lighting controls. Placing the light too high on the sphere's surface can wash out the Impasto Effect completely and lighten the entire painting. In contrast, placing the light too low can darken the image and overly exaggerate the Impasto Effect. These settings are global and affect all Impasto brushes on every layer. Figure 1.4 shows the effect of the default setting in the Surface Lighting controls.

Figure 1.4 The effect that the default settings of the Surface Lighting controls have on an Impasto brushstroke

Figure 1.4 The effect that the default settings of the Surface Lighting controls have on an Impasto brushstroke

For this painting, we will make some changes to the default settings. 1. First, add a second light source. To add a second, third, fourth, or more light source to the image, just click with the cursor anywhere on the sphere. If you make a mistake and add more lights than you want, just click on the small black circle for the light you want to remove and press the Backspace key. You can tell which light is selected because the small circle will appear bold.

Experiment with the position of the light until you are satisfied. A position that is low and to the opposite side of the primary light generally works best. 2. Now it's time to change the color of the light. To do this, click on the Light Color square. The system color picker appears, and you can choose any color for the second light source in the painting.

Generally, I find it best to select a darker and more saturated color. Too light a color, and the whole image will look washed out. Because this painting is a traditional portrait and I am fond of complementary color schemes, I select a bluish green color for the secondary light, as you can see in Figure 1.5.

Figure 1.5 Adding a secondary light source, and setting the color of that light

The effect should be subtle. Looking closely at the enlargement of the earlier brushstroke shows subtle greenish areas in the texture, as in Figure 1.6. Of course, there in no right or wrong when adding more light. Experiment with the controls and become familiar with their use.


Figure 1.6 You can see the subtle result of adding a secondary green light source in this close-up of the Impasto brushstroke.

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