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 • 619,070 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. 

Learn more from the full course

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 form we're going to go over with this on is the cue because this is the most simple form to do this on. So let's start off by drawing or so we'll draw our simple square and we'll draw our lines coming off and then we'll just go ahead and quickly connect those up. 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 site. Someone to dramatize sort of 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 brightest is this which is going to be our mid-tone 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 only opposite side of our source of light. So let's start by filling in our core châteaux. It's going to go ahead and fill in this area with very dark pencil gripped. Dennis let's go ahead and fill in our mid-tone shot. Now the reason why it's called mid-tone is because it is the middle tone between our core shadow 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 Heilbrunn. So this right here is our highlight and then we have our mid-tone. So this right here is our mid-tone and then we have our core shadows. So this right here is our core shadow. Now there's one last shadow we have to add in here before it's complete. And that's our cast shadow. So what our cast shadow is is it's just the shadow that's cast off of our sheep and onto the surface of it sitting on. So it would basically be coming off like so and then we can go ahead and fill that in with the darker value. And we usually want to cash other to be darker than our mid-tone shadow 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 shadows you can understand this better is let's say that we have somebody who knows your AK So there's somebody that knows right there. Now whenever somebody standing out in the sun they usually are going to get a cast shadow being cast from their nose so their nose ticks off kind of like the number seven. It's going to cast a shadow on their upper lip area and sometimes even onto their chins. And so this nose right here is going to cast a shadow down like so and then we can go ahead and fill a cast chateau in but you've probably seen this before it's probably pretty familiar looking. Is that cast shutter 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 a 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 Council draw my base and then I'll draw my triangle. 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 the side is not. So we can start with this side and add in our core shadow. Now sense 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 mid-tone 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 mid-tone right about here and then that's going to slowly fade in to our height like so when you go and fill us 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 here. And then let's see that our light source is coming from right here behind our cone. Well what does this mean. Well that means that this edge right here is going to be getting some light as well as this edge because the light is on the other side of our county. 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 the 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 skin of that Korsh out it will get convert that that little bit more than we want to go ahead and add in our mid-tone shadow. So at that end 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 a mid-tone to our highlight. And then we might want to slowly blend our dark shadow into our mid-tone also like so. So there's a name for this. This type of like 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 a little backlight. 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 a really good artwork and very good contrast. Now let's try another shape so let's try the pure. So first off let's go ahead and draw our base and then I'll go ahead and draw off the planes 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 the surface right there. Well that means this is going to be our highlighted area and this is going to be our mid-tone area because it's on the side of our core shadow is going to be on this backside for 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 mid-tone. So then let's go ahead and add in our cast shadows cash those going to be on the opposite side of her light source. So this side over here and we can go ahead and fill that in. Perfect. Know we also forgot to add cast shadows onto these cones so let's go ahead and add those and also soak the light sources is coming from this side. We need to go ahead and add in or cash out of coming off in this direction and we're kind of running out of room there but that's all right. So there's the cash for that cone with this cone. It's going to be coming off like so and then we can go ahead and fill that cash out of one because this is the opposite side of the light source which is behind the cone. Remember that your cash out of this should get lighter the further away they get from the object. Right. Perfect. Next. Let's go over how to create a cast a shadow on a shake because sometimes the sheep that you're creating is going to create cash out on itself. So let's say for example we have a shape like so. So it's going to be sort of the fat T-shaped and then let's say that we have an edge coming over like this. 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 our highlight as well as the surface yet the surface is still also going to be getting a cast shadow on it because 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. Someone 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 to go ahead and now fill that in with my cast shadow. Perfect. And then I'm going to go ahead and fill was top area with my mid-tone color. Like so. And this area is also going to get Image Home color because the core shadow is going to be on the other side of her object so we're not going to see that foreshadow. So we're going to go ahead and add a second mid-tone 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 cat 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 this. You know we talked about how you can't have a sphere form without adding highlights or values or chateaus to it. So we need to go ahead and learn how to do that. So first off let's draw the circle. Now a 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 you want to quickly start making the 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 the edges and then you're just going to slowly put the pencil down like so then you 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. So and now let's go ahead and add some highlights and shadows to that. So what's First off inside where lights are still going to be coming from. And we're going to have a 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 form we're going to make this shadow also around it. So it's going to be round is 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 minute tone color. And then we want to go ahead and blend that in to our highlight a little bit more just by pressing lightly. So next let's go ahead and add in our core shadow. And if you remember just like on our own sense this is a rounded object. All overtones blend into each other very seamlessly. So our next core color is going to go or our 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 is 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 the 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 tone color but it's still going to be lighter than my core shadow. So go ahead and finish filling in that core chateau and then we can round this off a little bit more. All right. Great. So now we have all overshadowed except for our cast shadow So let's go ahead and add that in. So let's say that we have it coming off this NG. Since the light is coming from that side. So there is our cash shuttle right there. We can go ahead and fill that in 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 in 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 me do this is to draw from life. So what I want you to do is find an object from life say a book a ball anything. And I want you to draw 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 white 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.