How Do You Add Lighting in Pixel Art?

Art|Pixel Art

Pixel art is an ever-growing popular form of digital art, and one of its most attractive features is the ability to use lighting effects to create beautiful, eye-catching works. Lighting can be used to give the piece a 3D look and feel, or to simply add a bit of contrast and depth. There are several ways to add lighting in pixel art, and each requires some experimentation.

Using Color Gradients

One of the easiest ways to add lighting in pixel art is through the use of color gradients.

A color gradient is when two colors blend together gradually over a certain distance. This can be done by either hand-picking colors or using a program like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. With gradients, you can create light sources that move from one end of your image to the other or even across multiple layers. This will give your artwork added depth and bring out details that may have been previously hidden.

Using Shadows

Shadows can be used in pixel art as well as traditional mediums like oil painting. Adding shadows will help create contrast and dimensionality in your artwork by accentuating certain parts while obscuring others.

The trick here is to keep your shadows subtle so they don’t overpower the rest of the piece. You can achieve this by using a darker shade on certain areas while using lighter colors elsewhere.

Using Reflections

Reflections are another great way to add lighting in pixel art. By placing a mirrored object in front of your artwork and reflecting light off it, you can create realistic glares, sparkles, and highlights that make your artwork look more vivid and alive. Reflections also help give your work an extra layer of realism since they mimic the behavior of real-world light sources.


Adding lighting effects to pixel art is an excellent way to take your work from flat 2D images into stunning 3D works with plenty of depth and character. Experimenting with color gradients, shadows, and reflections are all great ways to achieve these effects without spending too much time on them. With some practice and experimentation, you’ll soon be creating beautiful pieces with ease!