In working on my prior Photoshop project, the Embossed Crag, I accidentally stumbled upon a way to define light layout. This process enables contouring and shaping forms by altering the way light is “hitting” objects. By using a white brush on a blank layer above the object and setting the layer to a lower opacity with an effect, I could change the definition of light at the specific location of my adjustments.
At the time, Marvel Movies were getting a lot of attention so I decided to create some masks using Adobe Illustrator. With the vector files rendered in Photoshop as smart objects, I rasterized the lighting effects and set them to overlay and soft light to reveal different opacities. Check out the video below for my workflow.