Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Color Mapping Shine

When creating an animal portrait, especially if the animal is short-coated, accurate shine patterns are critical to getting the image to look "right."

As shine patterns can be confusing to read even when you have good reference photos, I will sometimes use my computer to help me see and make sense of them.

Here is an image of a shiny, short-coated dog that I photographically enhanced and then used to create a topographic landscape map of the dog’s shine pattern.
Color shine map of dog with a shiny coat
For a dog with a mottled coat,a shine map may only need cover the solid colored areas as in the next example.
Color shine map of dog with a mottled coat
Creating shine maps is a useful technique that can help provide a solid planning platform to making your pet portraits look much more realistic.


  1. Very interesting technique! I'm going to try it!

  2. Thank you for the info and what a great idea. I love painting horses and this will help me a lot.

  3. It's always fun to share techniques with other artists. Glad the post was helpful. :-)

  4. I use that technique when drawing, but I've never used a computer to do it. I'll have to look into that, as it looks more accurate! Thanks!

  5. Interesting idea, thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh, that's interesting! I'll keep that in mind - great to see how artists work, thanks!