View Full Version : Question

07-20-2007, 03:12 PM
Anyone know how to paint iridescent in painter?
Like a butterfly wing?

07-20-2007, 03:30 PM
Iridescence is an optical phenomenon characterized as the property of surfaces in which hue changes according to the angle from which the surface is viewed (as may be seen of soap bubbles and butterfly wings).

Iridescence is caused by multiple reflections from multi-layered, semi-transparent surfaces in which phase shift and interference of the reflections modulates the incident light (by amplifying or attenuating some frequencies more than others). This process is the functional analog of selective wavelength attenuation as seen with the Fabry-Pérot interferometer.

The word is derived in part from the Greek word iris (pl. irides), meaning "rainbow", which in turn derives from the goddess Iris of Greek mythology, who is the personification of the rainbow and acted as a messenger of the gods.

Because the apparent image changes with the angle of observation, iridescence is not reproduced by conventional still image photography; however, it can be reproduced by holography (which includes phase information).

What a simple, yet complicated question! Hmmmm? I can't think of any trick. I feel that one needs to use transparent paint strokes, changing and blending hues as the surface angle changes.

Maybe someone else can offer more insight.

07-20-2007, 03:43 PM
Thanks for the quick responce Joel,
When I use Pastels, eye shadow works wonderfully, Maybe after it is printed?

07-20-2007, 06:07 PM

Is this even close to what you think of as iridescence?


If it is, I did it in Painter about 5-1/2 years ago, as an experiment. Of course your colors would be different (I guess) but maybe what follows will at least give you some ideas to paint your iridescent butterfly wings.

First I filled the Canvas with a dark teal/green background.

Then, on many Layers (16), I began buliding up the iridescent color and form.

On Layer 1, I made an oval selection and filled it with peach color. Then I changed that Layer's Opacity to 50% and the Composite Method to Hard Light.


Following Layers were all Composite Method Default but I adjusted the Layer Opacity ranging from the lowest, 48% to the highest 63% and a couple were at 100%.

I painted using the Blenders' Just Add Water variant with Resaturation turned up a little and Bleed turned down so I could paint with just a slight amount of color.

On each Layer, I painted only above parts of the oval, switching from one side to the other, or from top to bottom, or painting in the center, to build up the iridescent rounded form (as you would paint highlights and shadows to change a flat circle into a sphere).

Layer 2 with Layer 1 closed (invisible):


Layer 2 with Layer 1 visible:


Layers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 visible:


And so on.... until I decided enough was enough!

It took a while to do it all as I kept stopping to adjust Layer Opacity over and over again to get it "just right".

It was the first time I'd tried this and maybe doing it again would go faster (and better) but it was fun and I was happily surprised at the result.


07-20-2007, 07:21 PM

07-20-2007, 07:23 PM
In post #5 i used dogwaffle, the tools and the filters, plus tightened it up in twistedbrush....

07-20-2007, 08:07 PM
nice work, jin.

i saved this for future reference.


07-21-2007, 01:40 PM
Thanks geo,

I hope you find ways to use this technique, adapt it, and improve it. It's pretty basic and I know it can be adjusted to fit a number of uses.