Object Source Lighting (OSL) Gudie

Object Source Lighting (OSL) is a technique used in miniature painting to create the illusion of light sources on the miniature. This technique is used to add a more dynamic and dramatic effect to the miniature, and is often used to make the miniature stand out on the tabletop.

Here is an in-depth guide for Object Source Lighting (OSL):


  • Miniature to paint
  • Paints (Base color, Highlight color, Shadow color, Light color)
  • Brushes
  • Light source


  1. Prime the miniature with a black or white primer, depending on the color scheme you want to use.
  2. Paint the miniature with the base color, leaving the areas where you want the OSL effect to be lighter.
  3. Decide on the direction and strength of the light source, and mark it on the miniature with a pencil or a piece of tape.
  4. Mix the highlight color with the light color to create a mid-tone, and start painting the areas where the light hits the miniature. Make sure to keep the highlight color closer to the light source, and gradually blend it with the base color as it moves further away from the source.
  5. Use the shadow color to paint the areas that are furthest from the light source, and create a gradient between the highlight color and the shadow color to make the transition smoother.
  6. Add a brighter highlight to the areas closest to the light source, and use a glaze or a wash to blend the colors together.
  7. Repeat the process for other areas where you want the OSL effect, and adjust the colors and highlights as necessary to create a natural-looking effect.
  8. Paint the rest of the miniature as usual, and add any final touches to make the OSL effect stand out.


  • Start with a simple light source and work your way up to more complex effects as you gain more experience.
  • Use a reference image or a real-life object to study the way light behaves and reflects on surfaces.
  • Use a thin brush and work slowly to create smooth transitions between colors.
  • Experiment with different color schemes and light sources to create unique effects.

Object Source Lighting can be a challenging technique to master, but with practice and patience, it can add a new dimension to your miniature painting skills.