How to Shade Like Japanese Artists – The 1/2/3 Shadow system【TUTORIAL】

Free Anime Study PSD & How-to Guide – https://oridays.com/animestudy
Fubuki PSD pack – https://oridays.com/fubukipack

In this video, I will be going through the 1/2/3 shadow system that you’ll often find Japanese artists use and reference often when creating anime style art. Enjoy 🙂

00:00 Intro
01:08 The 1, 2, 3 Shadow system
01:46 The First Shadow
02:40 Studying from Anime
04:29 The Second Shadow
04:56 The Third Shadow
05:28 The 1.5 Shadow
05:42 How to add in the shadows
06:25 2nd method of adding in shadows
06:52 Adding Lighting Nuances
08:47 How to start practicing shading

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Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop

I’m Ori, an artist that likes to draw girls with white hair.
On this channel I share tips and tutorials for anyone into or wants to learn anime style art.


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  1. Hey friends 👋 just a note that I've temporarily taken down the "Draw-Reflect-Learn" video I mentioned at the end as I'm planning to make an updated version of it that's going to be more actionable! So make sure to subscribe so you don't miss it when it comes out 💪

    (EDIT: I've trimmed out the part I mentioned it in for now to create a better viewing experience.)

    – my exact string of consciousness after hearing 1 2 3 shadow

  3. Shadows are tricky but managable more or less but making good lineart what counts in my opinion, i struggle a lot with lineart but shadows are fine but i will probably never make such smooth and detailed lineart as japanese artist. It's crazy

  4. Something that interests me is that i did something similar in my past art, just backwards. I'd do all the basic cast shadows first, a lighter shade for milder shadows, and finally the '1st shadow' which is everything the light doesnt hit.

  5. Using this technique for my anime looking fanart it's simple at first. The hard part comes from my chosen lighting conditions in a given piece. Like one where I have Serena from Pokemon lounging out on a back porch with a guitar in her hands. She's covered by an awning over the deck which gives her a shadow over the top half of her, but not really the bottom half. Using this technique is helping me understand the lighting styles, but I still need practice with it. Thanks for sharing the techniques!

  6. I used to do a ton of traditional drawing years ago when I didn't have much access to computers and internet, it was a cheaper hobby to fill the time. I haven't really done drawing in quite a few years because of interest in other things (competitive gaming and hiking). Now trying to get back to learning art again except I'm trying to transition to digital. Been dipping my hand into different styles of digital works like water colour painting, objects, pixel art and sprite animation, ect ect. So many options with digital. My one friend thinks its easy to do digital art *eyeroll*.
    I also am not super motivated to get back into it which is why I am having slow progress, self learning. I have heard of this 3 layer shadow term before, I thought it was common knowledge and was surprised to hear you say it was considered a paid learning topic. Thanks for the refresh and lesson. Some people just have a higher art skill level these days ig.

  7. この手の塗り方は日本だけじゃなくて中国や韓国などの東アジア全域で協力して発展させた塗り方なんだよ


  8. Can you make a video on how you use the glow dodge layer? Everything else is something I've learned and you also helped re-enforce my understanding of them, but despite seeing others use that sort of glow dodge/add (glow) layer effect in their illustrations, I can't seem to make mine look good when I use it. It'd be a huge help because I think it looks so cool

  9. I also like to erase the edges of kage 1 to create reflective light. Since reflective light shouldn't be lighter than the base color erasing from kage 1 achieves the effect without a dedicated reflected light layer. It works best if you have a highlight layer for contrast though, and if it's a simple illustration with no highlighting it might be best to skip.

  10. Working in Japan I often got work that was actually catagorized by how many shadow layers the client expected.
    This job is a 2 shadow job so it should be done in 2 days, This one is 3 shadow plus gurade (gradiation) so you can have a work week for this one, etc.

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