I'm looking to do something like this:

enter image description here

The areas that are "sunlit" are bright but still maintain the texture and line of the darker layers. How was this done? Is it some sort of blend mode? I have tried everything. If you could help me out, I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much.


Yes you can achieve that with blending modes.

I'll show you a quick example by adding some extra lit areas around the window...

First, on a new layer, I block in some color in the areas I want lit. I used a solid shape for the lower area and radial gradients around the actual window:

Highlight Areas

I then set the layer blending mode to "Soft Light":

Blending Modes Applied

There is no hard-and-fast rule here. You can get similar results with the "Overlay" blending mode, and it's worth playing with opacity levels as well as blending modes.

In reality, with an illustration like this, you would most likely hand paint a lot of the areas rather than only using solid shapes like I did and use a larger palette of colors.

Related reading:

  • Thank you so much! This was extremely helpful and straightforward. – Katie Aug 31 '16 at 0:33

I'll start by switching to Lab color mode because then all of our contrast (texture) exists in the lightness channel safe from our color.

Now for light say from the other window I would do a circular marquee and apply a Curve adjustment to it. Then raise the Lightness channel a bit and then go to the B channel and pull it towards the Yellows:

enter image description here

Then we can just go onto the Mask and add a feather to it

enter image description here

Then we can use do the same thing with a polygon lasso or pen tool or whatever to create the beam coming towards the ground

enter image description here

Now the sun would get brighter when it hits a surface (the floor) so we'll want to do some sort of masked curve on that too. To keep things simple I'll just another ellipse marquee:

enter image description here

And after using that for a curve and adjusting it and doing the feather and such we get something like so

enter image description here

And without the panels and such covering it:

enter image description here

But really I don't think a circle would form around that window if the light is coming in so strongly through it so lowering the opacity of that curve to almost nothing for:

enter image description here

Of course I don't know how light would come in from two sides of the house either but maybe this pretend world has two suns :D

  • Thank you!! This was so helpful. I'm so grateful you went out of your way to help me with this. I know it seems ridiculous, but this was driving me insane. When I don't know how to do something it stresses me out haha – Katie Aug 31 '16 at 0:35

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