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Thread: Fire

  1. #1
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    Fire

    I'm sure many of you all have figured out how to do fire, but I haven't really seen a lot of fires in paintings, around here, and I quickly looked through the tips and tricks section for a tutorial on fire, but I didn't see one (at least the text string "fire" never showed up) So I thought I might provide one really fast.

    I find it's best to paint a fire on a dark surface. More fun with light that way. I've got a flood of images coming here, most of them full screenshots for tool settings so you can sort of see what I'm doing.

    Here I'm just building up a basic image of fire with oils on a separate layer. Start with white at the center, work your way out to a light orange, or whatever color you want your fire. I suppose a fire could be really interesting in purple or something.
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  2. #2
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    So then. Now we have the basic colors and shapes laid out, time to start blending the colors in the fire. Fire is pretty chaotic. Pretty much anything goes at this point. I prefer a lot of control with the soft knife set at low pressure and small size, but anything works really.

    Fiddle with it. I tend to be a pretty skitzo knife guy, I don't have a set plan or anything when I work with a knife. I just want it to look smooth and to give the edges a really shaky look.

    Fire is really really dynamic, every good image of fire is stylized in some way; if you look at just a snapshot of a fire, it probably looks pretty funny. The trick is to make it look enough like a fire that people understand, but not enough like a fire to make them annoyed. I don't know if that makes any sense...? If you google images of fire, there are a TON of fires that have been generated with computer imaging and such, searching for log fires will give you a few better ideas of what I'm talking about. Flames just look weird if they last longer than a split second. Since we want people looking at this for longer than a split second, it's got to be slightly stylized. (Experienced artists out there, how much stylization would you go with? Am I utterly off the ball?)
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  3. #3
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    Since fire is almost always pretty dull just by itself (unless you are me and have spent hours sitting by fires and watching them flicker) we must figure out how to illustrate objects behind and around a fire. I'm going to rough in some hands and faces here. I don't actually know how to draw people, you'd have to get Caesar or Misterpaint to explain that to you, so this is going to be rough, there will be a lot of layer manipulation here, when I don't know what I want, I play with layers. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn't, as with the case here. =D

    I also trimmed the fire. Don't be afraid to do that rather violently (as I did here) fire is pretty fluid, it'll put up with almost anything you do to it as long as the colors are right, just remember to fiddle with the edges again when you are done shaping with the knife.
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  4. #4
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    Here I'm guessing about where light from the fire will fall. It's not an exact science. You look at it, eyeball where light would hit things (usually around the edges) and you run with it. I'm sure the more experienced artists in here will be annoyed at me for this, having spent hours trying to get lighting in various paintings just so. I'm not Rembrandt, that's for sure.
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  5. #5
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    Blur out the paint texture behind the fire on the hands. As cool as AR's oils are, and how much fun they are, I don't want them adding texture to my fire. Fire tends to be pretty smooth, and the paint texture throws that off for me. So:
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  6. #6
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    Here's the lighting part.

    Add a layer.

    Move it to just under the fire (the fire should probably be the top layer.)

    Set opacity to less than 30%

    go into blend, more blend modes, soft light.

    Go haywire with black, white, brown, yellow, whatever colors light and dark are going to be in your picture. Here I use black, white, a yellow and an orange. Interestingly enough, soft light mode also works really well for shadow. When you get done with it, merge it with whatever, or just leave it. It doesn't really matter. I prefer to merge it, because then you can use a knife to blend your colors more.
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  7. #7
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    This first image is the result of putting the opacity back at 100 and hiding everything else. It looks funny, but when you merge it with the rest of the painting, it starts to look pretty good.

    If you do that a few times with different brush strokes in different places, you can really start to build up areas of dark and light in a picture that was monotone before. (an interesting aside: Photoshop allows you to set opacity for individual brush strokes, which is great if you want to do it that way, building up dark or light in an area. Photoshop brushes can also be set up in soft light mode, or any of the other standard blend modes. I think AR's bump modes are unique though. The can probably be faked in photoshop with enough knowledge. If you have photoshop, try fiddling with brush settings if you haven't already, it's a lot of fun.)

    Each of these images is the result of a creating a new layer, setting the opacity to less than 30%, blend mode to soft light, and then adding extreme values to the picture to create light and dark areas, followed by merging with the layer below and blending with the knife. It takes forever to do it correctly, I did a painting with over 30 layers trying to get the light just right once, but this is just a tutorial; it will hopefully give you ideas you haven't had before. Trying to give a little something back to this great community.
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  8. #8
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    Here's the final image, with all layers showing. Hope you can learn something from this mess.
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    Early to bed early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes - Orson Scott Card

  9. #9
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    Gray, you sure put some thought and time into this tutorial. Thank you very much for sharing it! It will definitely enhance this forum and the people who frequent it.
    Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~Mother Teresa


    http://rightbrainedmama.wordpress.com/

    and, most especially, my photography at
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