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I've made a quick tutorial on painting light effects from object source lighting (OSL).

When light shines on an area, if that light is stronger than the surrounding light, the colour area will become lighter, and unless the light is white, it will also change colour.

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I used the Battlezones terrain from Mantic Games.

I have to admit that chosing this piece for the photos may not be ideal, as it shows a light source that is fantasy technology. The idea came from Ralph McQuarry's concept art for the original Star Wars. He came up with the idea that in that universe they are able to bend light, so they could use light sources built into the panels of the wall and it will still shine light to the sides.

If the unreal nature of these light-panels bother you, try to imagine that it's not a flat area but one that protrudes from the panel.

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Before you start painting light source effects, finish painting every other part of your miniature.

If you use dark wash to create shadows on the miniature, do it before adding light effects. If you apply wash by brush, avoid the parts that will get lights, because the dark colours in the recesses could create too much contrast.

If instead of a dark wash, you use pigmented varnishing as a last step to protect your miniature and create shadows (referred to as Magic Dipping), you'll need another coat of varnish to protect your light effects.

Step 1: Paint the colour of the light

Painting light sources - Step 1: Paint the colour of the lightPainting light sources - Step 1: Paint the colour of the light

You have to decide what will be the basic colour of your light. I've chosen a greenish yellow.

Paint the whole area of your lights with your chosen colour.

Step 2: Add a lighter colour in the middle of the light

Painting light sources - Step 2: Add a lighter colour in the middle of the lightPainting light sources - Step 2: Add a lighter colour in the middle of the light

Make the central parts of your light a bit lighter.

If you basic light is not a uniform colour, you can also use glaze, so the original paintjob will show up.

Step 3: Add glow colour around the light

Painting light sources - Step 3: Add glow colour around the lightPainting light sources - Step 3: Add glow colour around the light

Lightly drybrush the edges around the light with the basic colour of your light. Draw the brush from the middle of the light outward. If you are not satisfied, you can brush it in a circular way around the light source.

Instead of drybrushing you can also use carefully painted glaze.

If you are using airbrush, put the nozzle close to the light souce, and lightly spray the areas close to it with diluted paint. It's better to give it several light shot.

The glowing effect will look more natural with airbrushing, but it will take some practice to do it right.

You can take this step with Step 1 if you wish.

Step 4: Add a lighter glow colour

Painting light sources - Step 4: Add a lighter glow colourPainting light sources - Step 4: Add a lighter glow colour

You can use a bit more heavy drybrushing with your lighter colour. The farther you get from the center of the light, the lighter you should drybrush. Don't draw your brush as far outward as you did with Step 3.

Instead of drybrushing you can also use carefully painted glaze.

If you are using airbrush, put the nozzle close to the light souce, and lightly spray the areas close to it with diluted paint. It's better to give it several light shot.

You can take this step with Step 2 if you wish.

Step 5: Add the brightest colour to the light and glow

Painting light sources - Step 5: Add white to the light and glowPainting light sources - Step 5: Add white to the light and glow

Add the brightest colour (for lamps it's usually white) to the center of the light source.

Last step is a heavy drybrush near the light. The farther you get from the center of the light, the lighter you should drybrush.

Instead of painting and drybrushing white you can also use carefully painted glaze.

If you are using airbrush, put the nozzle close to the light souce, and lightly spray the areas close to it with diluted brightest paint. It's better to give it several light shot. However, for this step I'd really recommend drybrushing, because you have more control over the brush, and as this is the last step, you won't have another chance to repair it if you make mistakes.

Shadows

If you are not satisfied with your lights, if it doesn't really feels right, try to add shadows, add darker glaze to adjacent areas to make the light really light up the miniature.

Painting light sources in reverse order

Some prefer to do it in reverse - they paint everything with the brightest colour (usually white) in the beginning, drybrush the adjacent areas, and then add coloured glazes in the areas that gets light. If you are finished with glazing, add white again to the center of the light source.

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Painting light effects - Sources & tutorials

Raffa aka Picster (for Massive Voodoo): Tutorial - Light and Shadow: Tutorial article about natural light on miniatures.

Roman aka jar (for Massive Voodoo): Tutorial - Zenithal Lightning / Work Order: Tutorial article about natural light on miniatures.

Painting light sources - Sources & tutorials

Tutorial articles

althai (for Hand Cannon Online): Tutorial: Advanced – Object-Source Lighting: Tutorial article.

kbanas: Object Source Lighting Modeling Help: Tutorial article.

Roman aka jar (for Massive Voodoo): Tutorial - Object Source Lightning: Tutorial article.

James Brown (for Flames of War): Shine a Light: An Introduction to Object Source Lighting: Tutorial article.

Anthony Adamo (for The League of Underwhelming Miniature Painters): Tutorial: Quick and Dirty Brush Tricks for Object Source Lighting (OSL): Tutorial article.

Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Hobby Focus: Object Source lighting pitfalls: Tutorial article.

Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Painting a glowing powerfist, Part 1: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Painting a glowing powerfist, Part 2: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

Ron Saikowski (from From the Warp): Painting a glowing powerfist, Part 3: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

The Painting Shop: I show you how to paint 40k plasma gun glow effect: Tutorial article, step-by-step.

Tutorial videos

Colour of the Gods: Painting Tutorial - OSL (Object Source Lighting): Painting tutorial video, using brush.

EonsOfBattle: How to Create a Glowing Plasma Effect: Painting tutorial video, using brush.

ichibanpainting: How to paint OSL *glowing effect*: Painting tutorial video, using airbrush.

ralf137: Warhammer 40K Advanced Techniques part 16- Glowing Eyes: Painting tutorial video, using brush.

GhostxHeart (from linkinhearts666): How to Paint: Object Source Lighting (OSL) | Warmachine: Cryx Slayer Helljack: Painting tutorial video, using brush. Miniature: Warmachine - Cryx Slayer Helljack

Game Face Nation: Studio Workshop - How to: Paint Simple OSL: Painting tutorial video, using brush. Miniature: Games Workshop - Warhammer 40.000 - Chaos Space Marine

Showcase articles

James Wappel (from James Wappel Miniature Painting): You might even say it glows... Object Source Lighting: Showcase article.

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Do you have further ideas about painting light sources for miniatures? Do you have your own methods? Do you have any questions about them? Tell us in the comments!

 

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