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Shared by: Jerald Brown
since Sunday, 12-May-13 12:51:17 PDT

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Arrow Down Right 4 Image
Arrow Down Right 4
By: Jerald Brown
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Icon Design Made Simple
Lighting in Icon Design (revisited) 3
In this article, we are going to share with you some aspects of lighting and how to make it fruitful to our icon creation. Meanwhile, there are some new techniques in term of lighting we hope you will discover, too.
Nevertheless, once you grasp the lighting principles, the problem would be partly avoided or solved. That also means you already got hold of the key: the light.
Light in nature
The natural light, generally coming from the sun, is the assembly of myriad of light rays. It’s huge and diversified. When you look at an object, light tells you what characteristics the object bring, in relation to such properties as dimension (height, length, and width), position (close or far), surface (smooth or rough, glossy or matte), nuance (warm or cool), and material.
To make it clearer for you to see, let’s suppose that light from the sun to be parallel, it in reality isn’t so though. We will take a look at this supposition in terms of physics and reality.
Light is grouped into three main properties (or phenomena): reflection, refraction, and absorption.
Shown below are the direction of light, which is able to be seen from various viewing angles, regardless of in perspective or in side view. When light is incident on a surface (smooth or rough), it is reflected with an angle of incidence equal to the angle of reflection.
Fig 3. Side view (light on a smooth surface)
Fig 4. Defuse light (light on a rough surface)
Fig 5. Refraction of light
This phenomenon happens when light bends at an interface between two transparent materials. Many things in our livings refract light such as glass, water, air, and plastic.
3. Absorption of light
So, how can we see other colors apart from the white? The only answer is that it’s all on account of the third phenomenon: the absorption of light.
The absorption of light happens as light rays with various specific colors are incident on an object. If the light is white and so is the object, then the white light bounces off from the white object, meaning that the white light and the rest are not absorbed but reflected. But in case the object appears blue to our eyes, it means that only the blue light is reflected, and the red, green and other colors of light will be absorbed by the object. So, if the object appears black, then all of the lights will be absorbed and nothing is reflected.
Still there is no absolute absorption of light as regards with all things in the nature. That is, when something is hit by light rays, it absorbs part of the lights and reflects the rest into the surroundings.
Fig 6. Absorption of light
Fig 7. On The Snowy Path by Peder Monsted
Lighting in icon design
Light source
The direction from which we view a light source has a profound effect on our perception of it, and on how an icon will appear. There are several light directions to manipulate yet the light source should be slightly coming from above and exhibit between the eye and the icon. This could offer a uniform lighting appearance across all icons and spotlight effects.
Fig 8. Lighting in Icon Design
Shadow
Shadow is strongly relative to light source. Shadow gives an icon dimensionality and reality. It also helps bind the elements of an icon together so that the icon will not look like a patchwork.
How to Create a Simple Button Icon in Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator’s Tools and Palettes Used Most for Icon Creation
How to Create a Simple Stroke Dashboard Icon in Adobe Illustrator
How to create a realistic globe icon
How to create a glossy Network icon
Lighting in Icon Design (revisited)
Material, Coloration and Gradient in Icon Design (revisited)
As a perfectionist, not only have we wanted our products to be as perfect as possible, we have also wanted to improve the quality of each and every article published on this blog. Any suggestions or contributions to this article are highly appreciated. We appreciate your time.
Nevertheless, once you grasp the lighting principles. The problem would be partly avoided or solved. That also means you already got hold of the key: the light.
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There are 3 comments so far.
MIzan says:
More than good. thanks for taking your time to put such an article. I am just learning to make icons. let me look at the tutorial series !
Martin Leblanc Eigtved says:
Excellent stuff!
me says:
should be instead of
great article though,
cheers
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