Enhancing the Mood with Moonlight

Even though the painting is almost finished, it would be nice to add a few more touches to make the image more interesting. I would like to add a window frame to let in moonlight from the outside. This moonlight will fall across both the sleepwalker and the wall behind him.

With traditional painting media, this type of effect would be a little difficult and time consuming to paint. But the tools available to the digital artist make creating moonlight a pretty simple chore.

To go about adding the effect of moonlight shining through a window and falling across both the sleepwalker and wall, we need to create a window shape.

1. Using the Pen tool, draw the shape of a window in the painting. If you need to reposition the shape you just drew, use the Shape Selection tool to select all the points in the shape and move the whole shape.

2. Convert the shape to a selection using the Convert to Selection command in the Shapes menu.

Create a new layer and name it Window.

On the new layer, fill the selection with a light greenish color (Figure 5.22).

u h Figure 5.22 The shape has been converted into a selection and filled with a light greenish color.

P 5. Change the Composite Method of the Window layer to Overlay.

g 6. Duplicate the Window layer once. One layer will be used for the light on the £ back wall. The copy will be used for the light on the figure.

" 7. Adjust the Opacity setting of each layer so the effect of the light falling across

^ the figure and background is not too jarring.

8. Using the Layer Adjuster tool, move the layer that will be across the sleepwalker up above the first layer in the image.

We moved up this second layer because the light shining through the window would cross the sleepwalker first and fall across the wall in the background second.

9. Temporarily hide the top layer (the one that will have the light falling across the figure).

10. Using the Eraser brush, carefully erase all the light that is falling across the sleepwalking figure. The light on this layer will fall across the floor and onto the back wall (Figure 5.23).

11. Reveal the top Light layer. Using the Eraser brush, erase any of the layer that is not covering the sleepwalker (Figure 5.24).

Figure 5.23 Any light falling across the figure is erased.

Figure 5.24 Those portions of the Light layer not covering the figure are erased.

Using the Variable Chalk brush along with the Eraser brush, clean up and add curved contours on the layer so the light looks like it is falling across folded fabric (Figure 5.25).

Apply a slight blur to each layer using Soften from the Effects menu. The default amount is just fine.

Figure 5.25 The Variable Chalk brush and the Eraser tool add curves to the edges of the Light layer so it appears to be falling across folded fabric.

While the light falling across the figure and wall is not technically accurate, it does give the impression we want. We can use this simple technique to add light to virtually any painting where we want that little bit of extra interest.

We can also use the same technique to create shadows in an image. We would use either Gel or Multiply instead of Overlay as the Composite Method.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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