Illustrate Color & Light I: Ambient Light

Denis Zilber, Freelance Illustrator and Cartoon Artist

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11 Videos (1h 14m)
    • Introduction and the Class structure

      4:36
    • Light diffusion

      6:17
    • Shading a sphere

      9:05
    • Rendering simple volumes

      4:49
    • What is ambient occlusion?

      12:22
    • Adding ambient light

      6:00
    • Rendering ambient occlusion

      9:06
    • Principles of soft shadows casting

      4:53
    • Creating soft shadows

      6:45
    • Adding fire to the scene

      8:10
    • Summarizing the class

      2:20

About This Class

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Welcome to Ambient Light, the first class in this three-part series, Understanding Color & Light. This first class covers how light works and explores skilled ways for achieving the real appearance of light in illustration.

The skills in this class will allow you to render light from your imagination and capture realism. Once you've explored, understood, practiced, and applied these skills, you will have a huge advantage over those who depend exclusively on photo references. 

Whether you're looking to expand your existing work in digital illustration, or you've never considered Photoshop for illustration and are just feeling inspired, this series is perfect for taking your work to that next level.

Throughout this three-part series, we'll cover everything you need to know to add value, color, and light to your scenes and cartoon character designs using Photoshop. By the end, you'll feel not only comfortable with Photoshop's techniques and tools, but also excited by their many possibilities. We will start with a simple monochrome scene, using just one simple light source. As we move forward, we'll add different light sources, colors, and materials. Our final scene will include various materials that each reflect light differently.

Also see: Understanding Color & Light II: ColorUnderstanding Color & Light III: Direct & Reflected Light

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What You'll Learn

In this class, you'll follow along with my process as I work backwards through a finished piece, learning the basics of diffused/ambient light and different types of illustrated light. You will learn to paint realistically without photo references, basing your knowledge and understanding on the physics of light.

  • Basics. Learn different types of light and how they work with color and shape.
  • 3-D objects. Practice rendering 3-D objects with light and color.
  • Shadows. Create shadows off objects with the correct color and rendering.
  • Ambient light. Create soft, ambient light on your piece.
  • Soft shadows. Add the final touches to soft shadowing across your work, giving dimension to your piece.

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What You'll Do

Deliverable. You will apply ambient lighting to a digital illustration of your choice. 

Description. You will build off a pre-existing image of your choice, bringing depth and value to your work.

Specs. By the end of this first class, you'll have an illustration rendered with light, as well as a solid understanding of the power and physics of light in digital illustrations.

55 of 58 students recommendSee All

The speech of the teacher is a little bit confusing because of the hesitations between the sentences, but the content of the class and the examples are very good.
Solid and useful principles of light are taught in this class. Really useful to learn or review. His English isn't that great, so it can be a little difficult listening to, but it's worth it. Recommend watching at 1.25x speed.
Great class!
Danny Kundzinsh

Illustrator & concept artist

1,436

Students

10

Projects

Denis Zilber

Freelance Illustrator and Cartoon Artist

Denis is a freelance Illustrator and cartoonist working out of Tel Aviv, Israel. He specializes in exaggerated, cartooned features and characters. . . and he creates them from start to finish in Adobe Photoshop.