Magical Effects: Mastering Sorcery


Hello everyone! In this tutorial, I'm going to explain some ways to create and animate magical effects by taking advantage of the special features of Clip Studio Paint Ex.
There are many magical abilities to master but with patience we will level up our wizards!
I hope you find it useful and have fun.

Before starting I recommend that you look at my tutorial on blending modes, since many of the effects depend on their use. ▼

Video Tutorial

I recommend that you watch the video tutorial to see my process.
This time I set it with a fantasy video game style!
You can activate subtitles in:
Settings - Subtitles - Automatic Translation - Choose your language ▼

LV. 1 | Basic Shines

The first thing we are going to master is how to create lighting effects using Blending Modes and Blur Filters.
I already explained these types of techniques in several of my tutorials but we are going to do a review. ▼

I base my effect on a pedestal with an Orb on separate layers.
First we create a new layer on top of the orb, and set the Screen blending mode.
With a soft brush we paint the base of our glitter.

We create a new layer above the rest and place it in the Add (Brightness) blending mode
With the same brush we paint details on the surface of the pedestal and more intense highlights on the orb.
Simply by modifying the size of the brush we can create different types of details.
The Add (Bright) blending mode makes it very easy to get rich colors and highlights. At this stage we can experiment with color variants and other blending modes that can give us other results, such as strong light or overexposure (brightness) ▼

For graphic elements like runes or arcana I like to use blur filters to create the lighting effects.
First we duplicate the original layer and place it in Add (brightness) mode or similar.
Then we go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. And we play with the blur value until we get the expected result. ▼

To make the effect more interesting I duplicate the blur layer and apply a radial blur filter. I place the filter origin in the center of the orb and play with the values until I get an interesting result.

To finish the effect I add a new layer in strong light mode and paint with a particle brush ▼

Something important that we have to take into account when painting magical effects is the contrast with the background.
As a general rule, a light effect will look brighter and with vivid colors on a dark background.
While an element of dark magic for example can be seen better on a lighter background. ▼

LV. 2 | Magic Tools

For the second level we are going to take a look at some tools and techniques that we can use to create our effects. ▼

The first tool is a Basic brush with opacity and size control.
The idea is to paint the approximate base of our effect, in this case a flame, and using transparent color we erase to define the shape. In this way we can use the same brush to paint and erase and thus sculpt the effect. ▼

When we have defined the base, we select a lighter color and in a new layer we carry out the same process to paint the details. ▼

With this technique we can create any shape that we imagine.

The second is the finger tool, which is within the smudge subgroup.
This brush stretches the pixels of the layer and allows us to obtain organic results in an interesting and fun way.
First we paint a base and then with the finger tool we stretch the paint to obtain the shape of the fire. ▼

Once the base is defined, we do the same with the light color. ▼

To create magic in a Cel shading style we can use the Lasso Fill tool.
This tool allows us to dynamically create solid fills with a selection lasso.
As in the basic brush, we interspersed between Solid Color and Transparent to sculpt the effect. ▼

Once the base is defined, we create another layer with the lighter color.
To finish these fires I used a brush with soft edges and 2 layers. One in multiplication mode and one in adding brightness. ▼

In clip studio assets we can find a large number of special brushes that allow us to create effects immediately, it is a good idea to use them as a base and integrate them into the style of our illustrations.

Some of the materials I use.

We can combine the tools and filters with each other to obtain unique results.

An interesting way to get immediate and organic results is to use distortion filters.

LV. 3 | Magic fire

In this level we explore a way to create magic fire with color control, in a very dynamic way.
To achieve the effect we create a layer and fill it with black. Then we put it inside a folder and put the folder in Screen mode.
We add a new layer where we are going to paint our effect and create a gradient map to give it color.
Now when we paint with white we automatically get a vibrant color effect!

To give texture we create a new layer and use the perlin noise filter.
We experimented with the values and then put the layer in overlay mode.
Immediately everything we paint turns into fire!
In the video I explain how to do it but if you want you can watch this material that uses the same principle.

LV. 4 | Fire animation

Taking advantage of the properties of perlin noise we can create a simple animation with two keyframes!

LV. 5 | 3D & Conversion LT

I use 3d objects and the Conversion LT function to extract the lines and thus be able to create translucent effects.
Very useful for working with powers in comics!


There are many ways to create magical effects, in this tutorial try to tackle versatile techniques and take advantage of the functions of Clip studio paint.
I hope it has served!
See you in the next tutorial: D


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