How to paint a gloomy underground scene

Game studio Digit's Denman Rooke shows you how to get sense of environment with minimal lighting.

Watch these tips on how to paint a dusty, gloomy underground scene

As I quickly sketch out my perspective, I plan out how my directional light will play a part in the composition. With a dusty room, light almost becomes an object, because it's caught up in all the dust particles that fill the air.

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I quickly lay in my values and make sure I draw bright directional light values, from the opening in the ceiling to the spot where the light hits the ground.

I prefer to use a Photoshop textured brush when doing this, because it gives the air that distinctive dust-particle effect. Most importantly, when dealing with a dark environment that's being lit by a singular strong source, it will create some fantastic bounced light.

For this scene the warmer sunlight reflects off the ground and then upwards to cast a warm light on the cool colours of the cavern interior.

If objects lie in the shaft of light, their values are reduced. Objects that lie beyond the light almost get lost completely

Follow the five minute tutorial video now!

Words: Denman Rooke

With a background in freelance illustration, Denman now works as the lead concept artist at Dublin-based game studio Digit. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 108.

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