• Software:Photoshop CS6  ·
  • Difficulty:Beginner

Rules of the Exercise

  • 1
    Download this exercise practice worksheet
  • 2
    Study reflected surfaces and color of gold, and try and paint them as accurately as possible.
  • 3
    Once finished, submit your exercise to be reviewed and looked over under the "Submissions" tab for grading!


  You can use gold on many different materials and surfaces from a golden helm to the stitching of a golden fleece. The trick is knowing how to accurately create the appearance of gold. Gold itself is a metal material. A metal surface will most often reflect light rather than absorbing it. We created a reference last year that give you a quick look at one way of creating the "golden" look.  To download the "Metal" Brush pack that is used in the reference below, download them HERE. Below is the practice worksheet that you can download! You can find this on the "Downloads" tab under the header image near the top of this exercise! goldstepbystep In the .PSD you can hide the "instructional layer" so that you can work without the type getting in the way. You can either work right on top, underneath, or create your own version of each of the subject matters.

  1. Material Sphere - Start off with the simplest way to observe a material by creating a sphere of it. This allows you to get an idea of how light hits the texture and how much is reflected/absorbed.
  2. Gold Ring - Now we are starting to take a look at curving the edge. Keep in mind where that light source is coming from. Reference will help for this one!
  3. Golden Crown - This is a good example of introducing a straight edge and how to work with a curved edge on the bottom side while working with straight edges on the crown points.
  4. Gold Fabric Trim - This is a great way to see the gradient that gold forms. it is a mixture of reflection areas and areas in shadow.
  5. Golden Artifact - The last two are examples of difficult subject matters with lots of curved edges and intricate areas where two angles meet up right against each other.
  6. Golden Armor - This armor piece has a lot of curved areas that will be a challenge in placing your lighting.



  Gold is a great and useful shading technique that can be applied to various different areas of characters, environments, vehicles, weapons, etc. You can then use the gold technique whenever you need it, accurately and really make your pieces "shine".


  exercise21_feature I'm glad to see you guys seemed to have fun with this exercise! Was really digging the submissions that brought their own sense of style into the exercise especially with the bottom three objects in the given handout. Also, don't feel limited to the small palette that is included with this exercise. Gold can come in a multitude of colors. Since gold is a metallic material, the colors will depend on the environment around it. The light source is a big determining factor but also the environment that the gold is surrounded by will be affected in the reflection of the gold. Not nearly as influenced as the light source but still should be thought about. Adding just a bit of texture will also give it an extra bit of detail that can sway it from looking flat and too smooth.


  Golden Example 1: ponnafart really exemplified an understanding of creating gold with the given palette and the addition of the ivory alongside the gold was a smart choice. The subtle variations from the cracks to speckle were just pronounced enough to add that variation that is needed when doing a metal type material. Golden Example 2: shrapnel did a fantastic job on theirs on taking a dry look to their golden objects and they appear to have a faded sand textured look to them thats fits really well. community_example When you finish the exercise, remember to submit the result to the "Submissions" tab near the top of this exercise. You can see other submissions alongside your own!