One of our own community members Suleman has put together a series of tutorials for HeroMachine 3.0 and has graciously allowed me to post them here on the blog for your use and enjoyment. I will be posting one a week for the next several weeks on Saturday morning, and here is our first one below after the Jump!
What you want for just about all your shading needs is this particular item in Patterns:
Set color1 to white, alpha 0
Set color 2 to black, alpha varies on darkness of shadow
Set linecolor to e.g. red, so you can see where you've applied shading. This is important when you're playing with multiple layers! You don't want a character's body shading appear on top of their clothes! We'll remove those lines later.
Place it on top of some object you want to add shading to and Mask it on.
If you want more than one "shadow" on the object, you should:
Make a copy of the object, with the exact same location, rotation and size.
Put the copy on top of the original object in layers.
Make and place a second "shadow" pattern.
Mask the second "shadow" to the copy.
Put the copy to the bottom in layers.
When you're about to finish, use the line colors etc to check that the shadows are on the right layers.
Then erase the line colors by setting their alpha to 0.
The question of when and where to apply shading is a different matter. This is where an understanding of light and shadow will come in handy.
I'm not a professional artist, but I try to think of a direction for where the light is coming from and apply shading appropriately. What I showed in the example pictures is an approximation for when the light is coming directly forward.
More complicated shading/highlights are similar but the Patterns will be a different color and placed differently. Experiment!
I hope this is at least marginally useful.