Advanced Photoshop magazine asked me to contribute a tip for their latest feature article. The title of the article is 20 Compositing Secrets: Professional image editors give the breakdown on how to improve your creative production skills. It was a pleasure to contribute and my honor to be one of the 20 digital artists.
My tip talks about desaturating and toning for a composite, but it also talks about how I create edge light. Over the years, I discovered a more efficient way of adding edge light to my subjects. Rather than painting all edge light by hand, I am able to speed the process with a series of short steps (see step 2). This is a quick way to add even edge light to your subjects, while maintaining the ability to edit unwanted areas with a mask.
Step 1) Neutralize color: Isolate your subject with the Pen Tool and place it into the composition. Alt/Option-click the Adjustment Layer icon and select Hue/Saturation. Select “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask.” Lower the saturation of your subject so it is more neutral.
Step 2) Add edge light: Alt/Option-click the New Layer icon and add a clipping mask to your subject. Ctrl/Cmd-click your subject layer to create a selection, then inverse (Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-I). Fill the selection with white and deselect. Using arrow keys, nudge the light into view. Blur, lower opacity or mask unwanted edges.
Step 3) Add global color effects: Apply global color by creating an adjustment layer and selecting Gradient Map. Choose your gradient colors and use a Color Blending Mode. Add texture and color by placing a grunge texture over your composite with a Soft Light Blend Mode.