Learn how light and shadow work on 3D forms

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.5 instructor rating • 13 courses • 659,765 students

Lecture description

Now that you know how to draw 3D forms you're ready to learn about light and shadow. Light and shadow will take your drawings from line drawings to realistic fully rendered drawings. In this lecture you will learn how to add highlights and shadows to your 3D forms. 

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The Ultimate Drawing Course - Beginner to Advanced

Learn the #1 most important building block of all art

11:07:03 of on-demand video • Updated January 2019

  • Draw objects out of your head
  • Draw realistic light and shadow
  • Understand the fundamentals of art
  • Draw perspective drawings
  • Draw the human face and figure
English [Auto] All right, in this lecture, we're going to learn how to add values and highlights and shadows to our forms. So the first forum we're going to go over with this on is the cute, because this is the most simple form to do this on. So let's start off by drawing or so draw our simple square. And we'll draw our lines coming off and then we'll just go ahead and quickly connect those. All right, so there's our simple cube. The first thing you want to do when you're creating highlights and shadows is you need to decide where your light source is coming from. So in this case, we're going to have our light source coming from this side. So I'm going to draw my light source right there and it's going to be hitting our cube from that angle. So the first thing we know is that we know that this top surface is going to be our highlight. That means that it's going to be the brightest area. The next area that's going to be bright is this side, which is going to be our midtown shadow. And then our core shadow, which is the dark shadow, is going to be this side right here. And we know that this side is going to be our dark shadow because it's on the opposite side of our source light. So let's start by filling in our core shadow. I'm going to go ahead and fill in this area with a very dark pencil. Great, then let's go ahead and fill in our midtown shadow. Now, the reasons why it's called Midtown is because it is the middle tone between our Corchado and our highlight. So we want to get a gray in there that somewhere in between this dark color and this white. So probably somewhere about here should be good. Perfect. So now we have our light source, so this is our light source right here and then we have our highlights. So this right here is our highlight. And then we have our midtown, so this right here is our midterm. And then we have our core shadow, so this right here is our core shadow. Now there's one less shadow we have to add in here before it's complete, and that's our cast shadow. So what are cast shadow? Is is it a shadow that's cast off of our sheep and onto the surface it's sitting on? So it would basically be coming off like so and then we can go ahead and fill that in with a darker value and we usually want to cash out to be darker than our midtown chateau. And we can just fill that in like so, and the further away we get from the object, the lighter our shadow is going to become. Now a really good example of a cast shadow so you can understand this better is let's say that we have somebody nervous here, OK? So there's somebody who knows right there now, whenever somebody's standing out in the sun, they usually are going to get a cast shadow being cast from their nose. So since their nose sticks off, kind of like the number seven, it's going to cast a shadow on their upper lip area and sometimes even onto their chin. And so this nose right here is going to cast a shadow down like so, and then we can go ahead and fill that cast shadow in. But you've probably seen this before. It's probably pretty familiar looking is that cast shadow right there from the nose? That's the same exact thing that this is another example of a cast shadow is if you have a tree, right. And then on the ground you have the roots. You very often see a shadow coming off the tree that's in the same shape as the tree. It's been cast from the sun. Well, this is also a cast shadow. Now, let's go ahead and apply this to a few more shapes, so let's try applying this to a cone, so let's quickly draw a cone. So I'll draw my base and then I'll draw my triangle and it's a little bit crooked. But that's all right. So there is our cone. So the first thing we want to do is we want to go ahead and find our light source. So our light source is going to be coming from this side this time and hitting it from this angle. So we know that this side is going to be getting hit by a bunch of light and this side is not. So we can start with this side and add in our core shadow. Now, since a cone is a rounded shape, there are no edges. And so we're not going to see any hard lines between our core shadow or Midtown and our highlight. It's all going to be one gradual gradient from one tone to the next. So that's probably our core shadow right there. And then it slowly fades into our midtown right about here. And then that's going to slowly fade into our highlight like. So let me go ahead and fill this in a little bit better. But that's basically how you light a rounded object. You want to really have soft gradients from one tone to another. Now, let's try another example with the cone, because this is also another interesting thing to look at. So let's draw another one right here. And then let's see that our light source is coming from right here behind our home. Well, what does this mean? Well, that means that this area here is going to be getting some light as well as this edge, because the light is on the other side of our cone and we can't see it. We're going to basically see a whole bunch of shadow, but some of that light is going to barely seep around this edge. And we'll see a little bit of that highlight. So what we want to do is we want to start off by adding our core shadow right down the middle of our cone and the more towards the top against the skinnier that Corchado will get. Can durcan that a little bit more than we want to go ahead and add in our midtown shadow so that in like so like I said, keep these edges out that way. You get a little bit of that highlight coming around the edge, but you slowly want to blend these in together. So from Midtown to our highlight and then we might want to slowly blend our darker shadow into our midtown also. Like so so there's a name for this this type of lighting. This is called backlighting. So maybe you've seen this before on a TV show where they're doing an interview with somebody. Let's say you have somebody sitting there and that's their head and they'll sometimes put a light on the side of them or even behind them and it'll backlit them. And so you'll get a really bright white edge along the edge of their face and their body. This is backlighting. It's the same thing we just did on this comb. And it's a very good thing to understand because it can help you create really good artwork and very good contrast. Now, let's try another shade, so let's try the pyramid. So first off, let's go ahead and draw our base and then we'll go ahead and draw the plains of our pyramid. So and then let's decide where our light source is going to be coming from. So let's say our light source is right here and it's going to be hitting this surface right there. Well, that means this is going to be our highlighted area and this is going to be our midtown area because it's on the side of it. Our core shadow is going to be on this backside of our pyramid. But since it's behind it, we can't see it. We don't even have to worry about it. So let's go ahead and fill in our midtown like so. And then let's go ahead and add in our cast shadows or Cast Shadow is going to be on this opposite side of our light source. So this side over here and we can go ahead and fill that in. Perfect. Now, we also forgot to add cast shadows onto these cones, so let's go ahead and add those in also. So if the light source is coming from this side, we need to go ahead and add in her cast shadow coming off in this direction. And we're kind of running out of room there. But that's all right. So there's a cast shadow for that cone with this cone. It's going to be coming off like so. And then we can go ahead and fill that cast shadowing because this is the opposite side of our light source, which is behind the cone. Remember that your cash shadows should get lighter the further away they get from the object. All right, perfect. Next, let's go over how to create a cast shadow on a shape, because sometimes the shape that you're creating is going to create cast shadow on itself. So let's say, for example, we have a shape like so. So it's going to be sort of a fat T shape. And then let's say that we have an edge coming over like this and then we have a top surface. And then we have this bottom area right here. So now we've created this ledge right here, now this edge is going to be casting a shadow onto the shape. So let's decide where our light source is going to be coming from. Let's say our light source is coming from this side right here and it's going to be hitting the surface the most. So this surface is going to be a highlight as well as the surface. Yet the surface is still also going to be getting a cast shadow on it, because since the light is coming from up here, anything that this light can't reach underneath this ledge is going to get a shadow. So let's start by adding that cast shadow. So I'm going to draw a line right across like so. And that line is indicating where that light can't hit this form anymore. So I'm going to go ahead and now fill that in with my cast shadow. Perfect, and then I'm going to go ahead and fill this top area and with my midterm color. Like so and this area is also going to get a midtown color because the Corchado is going to be on the other side of our object, so we're not going to see that foreshadow. So we're going to go ahead and add a second midtown color right here. But now you can see that an object can have a cast shadow on itself, so it doesn't always just have to be on the surface, sitting on a cast shadow can be cast on anything. Now, let's have a look at one more form, which we talked about in our last lecture, which was the sphere. Now we talked about how you can't have a sphere forum without adding highlights or values or shadows to it. So we need to go ahead and learn how to do that. So first off, let's draw a circle now. Really easy way to draw a circle because a lot of people have a hard time with it is first, start making circular motions until you start seeing that circle. So you want to quickly start making those circular motions and you want to start making those from your shoulder. So not from your wrist or from your fingers, you want to make it from shoulder. And that's going to make a lot easier to get those nice round edges. And then you're just going to slowly put your pencil down like so and then you're going to draw around a few times until you get that circle there. And then you can go ahead and trace that out with a darker push like so. And now let's go ahead and add some highlights and shadows to that. So let's first off decide where light source is going to be coming from. And we're going to have it coming from over here on this side. And so the first thing we want to do is we want to start adding in that shadow on the opposite side of that, and since this is a round forum, we're going to make the shadow also around it. So it's going to be around as something like so. So then we want to go ahead and fill in this area with a darker shadow. And this color can be sort of a mid tone color. And then we want to go ahead and blend that into our highlight a little bit more just by pressing lightly so. Next, let's go ahead and add in our Corchado. And if you remember, just like on our consensuses, a rounded object, all of our tones blend into each other very seamlessly. So our next caller color is going to go or a core value is going to go right here. Now, what I'm going to do is over here on this side, I'm going to leave this lighter and the reason for that is because there's a thing called bounce light. Now, we're not going to get too much into that right now. We'll talk about it later. But for now, just understand that when an object is sitting on a surface or has a surface next to it, it usually is going to bounce light off of that, especially if it's bright and it's going to bounce back onto your object. And so that's why this bottom area is going to be left a little bit lighter. It's going to be a little bit darker than my mid stone color, but it's still going to be lighter than my core shadow. So let's go ahead and finish filling in that core shadow. And then we can round this off a little bit more. All right, great. So now we have all of our shadows except for our cast shadows, so let's go ahead and add that in. So let's say that we have it coming off in this angle since the light is coming from that side. So there is our cash flow right there. We can go ahead and fill that. And now. All right. That brings us to the end of this lecture. So in this lecture, you learn how to add value and highlights and shadows to your 3-D forms. Now, your assignment for this lecture is to go ahead and draw all these basic shapes that I just created. So I want you to go ahead and draw the cube, the cone, the pyramid and a random sheet object. And I also want you to do the sphere and I want you to do these from different angles. And I also want you to do them with different light sources. A really good way to help you do this is to draw from life. So what I want you to do is find an object from life, say a book, a bowl, anything. And I want you to draw all these objects from life and study how the highlights and shadows apply to them. And also, if you're in a room with a lot of light, it's not really going to work. So you need to make sure that you put your object next to a lamp. That way you get one source of light, just like we did with these objects. If you go ahead and draw these objects over and over again from life, I guarantee you your understanding of highlights, shadows and values are going to go up immensely. Thanks for watching this lecture and I look forward to seeing you in the next one.