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OSL (Object Source Lighting)

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A little OT, but for runes, namely the Reaper Graveyard tomb floor, I painted the stone dark with Secret Weapon Stone Wash. (SW still has a sale. 20% off their washes and 50% off their mine-theme Dungeon tiles.) Then I underpainted the runes in white. Then I used a flourescent / day-glow paint on the runes. You don't have the bleed of light of OSL, but it's good enough for tabletop and certainly better than not painting it. Maybe paint the runes with water to help keep the paint in the runes and not spill out, although you might want that with OSL...

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Sorry about my earlier comment; it belonged on a different post. ON topic, @Wren had a really good article on OSL that helped me quite a bit.
Make the light source the brightest part, take a picture with an actual light source in the right place, check your work with B&W photos, and darken up the areas in shadow. 

This old knight is the best one I've done so far, and Lillie here was my best previous attempt.


As you can see, I still struggle with making my light sources too colored/too dark. I should redo the lantern and most of the torch flame as almost white with just a tint of yellow. 

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On 12/5/2020 at 4:16 AM, Rigel said:



As you can see, I still struggle with making my light sources too colored/too dark. I should redo the lantern and most of the torch flame as almost white with just a tint of yellow. 


It might help to reverse the colours on your torch.  You have dark orange in the recesses, and yellow on the outer parts of the flame.  Subconsciously, our brains know that real flame goes the other way:  light in the center, and getting darker as you go away/upwards from the source of the heat/light.  In particular, the colours "cool" as you go upwards from the flame.  It can make your illusion of light look better to go through a sequence from bright white in the center of the torch to bright yellow, then orange then red-orange, then red and then finally purple or blue at the very upper end of the flame.  The presence of the darker colour (blue or purple) at the end of the flame makes a very strong contrast to the white and yellow at the center of the flame.  Our brains  then very helpfully add the information that this must be light from a very hot source and it helps make the illusion more believable. 


It will also help to make sure that the white at the center of the torch is brighter than the white of his shirt adjacent to the torch.  If the shirt is brighter, our brain very unhelpfully fills in the information for us that the torch must be cold since the shirt is brighter, which counteracts the effect of the illusion. 


Here is a photo showing what I mean.   This is a work in progress photo.  My next steps would be to use a red, then purple at the top of the torch, but it shows the impact of having the white in the center of the torch as the brightest point on the mini. 



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So, I love OSL, and have been working on it more over the last few years. Rhonda used to teach a really great class on it, but I know she puts a bunch of stuff on her blog, so that's a great resource as you've seen.  I thought I'd throw a few things out there if it helps.


Here are the more recent minis I've done with OSL in mind:


This one my lighting designer friend did point out had shadow placement issues, but I'd had limited space and a deadline, so... yeah. But using the environment to sell the effect helps a ton. An isolated figure won't carry light effects as well as a scene.






Here I'd like to show the thing I see most folks struggle with in OSL. Value contrast.  So, when we're painting, we look at colors to give us contrast, but we often neglect the difference between dark and light.  There can be no light without shadow.  So see in the grayscale image on the left, the fire looks lightest, even when I take away the color information. Here's another way of looking at it:




Something's not right here... let's take away the color:




Ah hah! So my blue cloak with my pretty fire color on top will not look light, unless I put light down first! This is a sneaky trick when you're playing with OSL- do a filter for grayscale or "color saturation 0" and see what the mini looks like!


A way to keep the value issue from happening is to put down light first, then add color. then your brain can't get confused by the color contrast.

\image.png.63d2aba94ce973d7d4833c71fda7be58.png image.png.b3a424d16ca265c2f92b55b5aedb4279.png


See how I first did my shading with a white light source, then glazed on the yellow color over everything? That let's the light underneath shine through. That's the main secret to OSL. Make sure the light source is light, and don't get hung up on the color, but the value.


here's value:



Here's extreme contrast in value. Google Chiaroscuro or Caravaggio for images if you want some good fine art examples.





Hope that helps a little. I may have some more in progress photos I can dig up to help.  I find examples help me wrap my brain around it. If you're having trouble, use a color that reminds us of light- like yellow, orange or red. The cooler colors like blue and green fight us sometimes because they are often "darker." We have to work hard to make them look like light.


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