Art: Reflective light confusion
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    Maestro Andres's Avatar
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    Reflective light confusion

    Hi all CA,
    I don't know if there has been a thread about reflective light but lately I have been struggling with this light effect. In case, I am not using the right term, with reflective light I mean the light that is reflected from other objects into the primary one, and is usually seen on the shadow area of the primary object.

    It might be a silly question, but I still don't quite get it. Does the amount depend on the material surface? On the strength of the source light?

    Any insight, explanation or comment is very welcome, and sorry if it sounds as a silly question

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    The intensity of reflected light depends on the strength of the light source, the texture and color of the object, the texture and color of the surroundings, and the angle of the viewer.
    However, the most important thing a beginner needs to know about reflected light is that they should stay away from it except when it is absolutely necessary. One of the most common problems people have is overdoing the reflected lights, which leads to flat and/or plastic looking forms. We tend to "over-see" reflected lights because of their contrast with the shadow, and to mistake differences in hue and intensity for differences in value.


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    The above is very true. Beginners always put in reflective light that is too bright. If you really look at it, it is very close in value to the shadow around. In colour, you can get them even better because you can forsake the slight value change, and just use a colour change instead (which is how they usually actually are, except in certain circumstances)

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    Thanks guys for the prompt response.

    Elwell Thanks so much for the insight and explanation. That really clears a lot of doubts I have it, especially by mentioning the common error of beginners about it.

    k4pka Thanks man. I know what you mean when the reflected light is from a color object. It is a very interesting tip.

    Well, I guess I look at it more carefully during my drawings to understand it better. If someone knows of a good exercise, let me know.

    Thanks again.

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    I also agree that it is tempting for the beginner to make the reflected light on forms a bit exaggerated.

    Imagine a value scale ranging from 1-9. 1-6 being your lights (inlcuding halftones) and 7-9 being your darks. Because the range in your darks is only 1/3 of the whole scale your variations in value should be proportionately that much more subtle in effect. In color this should also apply to variations of chroma as well. Back to value, your lightest light in your darks will never be lighter than your darkest-dark in your lights. If you start violating this you will flatten the form.

    Also mind the anatomy of a shadow. Think of a spot lit cylinder. The shadow is darker at it's transition to light, then lightens as it's center floods with reflected light. It then darkens again as it turns away from the eye.

    Hope this helps.

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