Color Theory Practice
Greetings everyone, I am fairly new to the website but I am in love...there are so many years of content here and it's wonderful(and inspiring) to see how people are evolving as artists /tear
Anyhow! I am struggling with color!!!
In a major way, an overall choice of my shadows and highlights is where my logic falls short..and most abruptly. I have BASIC color theory circling in my head, however every time I run into a shadow/highlight I have a hard time discerning where I should be picking my colors from. The problem runs deeper than this though, I have a tough time making decisions about the reflective qualities of the subject/object. Regardless of how reflective their outer layer is, I cannot seem to find a nice balance to properly make it look like the subject/object is..where it is.
Secondly, I have a very difficult time picking my colors in Photoshop, for instance when I draw an apple...every damn "red" I seem to pick is either far to mute or saturated for my intentions. I cannot seem to create realistic values in photoshop! Everything looks like it's be painted and then masked with some ugly filter.
As for books, I do own Alla Prima by Richard Schmid..but I don't feel that I have taken too much from this one. I will also be receiving(hopefully today) The New Munsell Student Color Set (2nd Edition) by Jim Long - this book I am really looking forward to as I feel like it'll address some of my more elementary issues and more immediately.
But WHAT ELSE! What else should I be doing to active work on these problems? Painting endless spheres, cones and cubes and adding light to them? Obviously, anything will help me improve but I enjoy being efficient- thus my posting here.
So please, if you've any recommendations, other than books(ha!) I would love to hear them and hopefully I can have my color work start catching up to my B&W
The Munsell set is an excellent thing to have. And of course there's huevaluechroma.com. Looking at your sketchbook thread, I'd say that your biggest problem is simply that you're still early on in your process, and as your observational skills increase in general, they'll increase regarding color as well.
Thank you for taking the time to stop in and check out my SB as well Elwell.
Originally Posted by Elwell
I used to be heavily into inking as well as pencil(no color), but this was years ago and my 'skills'(if you will) have since diminished...the mantra of "if you don't use it..." comes to mind. I appreciate your advise and from face value that website looks excellent!
So in the meantime, I'll keep chugging on and if anyone has any other suggestions I'm very open to hearing them :)
To be honest it sounds like you are finding independent study a bit overwhelming, in which case you should really find a good painting teacher if you can. A good teacher of colour is not easy to find though - as a general rule, move on if they talk more about red, yellow and blue than about hue, value and chroma!
In conjunction with the excellent exercises in the Munsell book, at least look at this introductory page on my website:
And try the practical exercises devised a few years ago by Thomas Scholes (idiot apathy) on his Peer Project thread:
I think that thread is fairly quiet these days, so please feel free to post your exercises, along with studies from life or any specific questions, on my colour discussion thread (link below).
I recommend doing your color charts like in the Schmid book. Nothing teaches you more about color and color mixing than actually mixing real color pigments. A good academic palette based on Frank Dumonds palette for charts, is Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Manganese Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Cadmium Scarlet, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light and Titanium or Cremnitz White. Use professional grade paint.
After you complete your color charts try working from life outdoors and in the studio. Using digital media doesn't teach you anything because you aren't really mixing anything, its all someone else algorithms simulating mixing for you. You are also staring at a light source (the Screen) which hardly helps you when trying to look at objects like an apple on your desk. Unless you have a high end monitor like an Adobe Monitor the new screens change hue, chroma and value depending on your viewing angle.
SO much wonderful information, thank you all for sharing.
I totally get what you are saying dpaint, digital media is probably the worst place for me to start learning how to properly see values. I'm sure if I thought about it long enough I could have surmised the same on my own.
Could anyone suggest what the "best" medium would be for a person new to the world of color? I was thinking watercolors but I'd love to hear what you all have to say. Moreover, could you recommend a 'starter's kit' to which I could ascertain the basics needed to start down this craft?
@briggsy - the color plots on your website are astounding, no doubt I'll be stuck there- reading for some time.
I think oils are the easiest medium to start with for mixing color. They have slower drying times and can by wiped off and redone with little fuss, watercolors and acrylics while easier in other aspects aren't as flexible that way.
Definitely oils for color practice, especially for mixing grayscales and color swatches. We used acrylics for color exercises in school, and it was incredibly frustrating because all the values would shift when the paint dried, we'd end up having to mix something lighter than what we wanted to end up with and hope for the best... Watercolor and gouache would have similar problems (except with watercolor the tendency is to dry lighter than what it looks like when it's wet.)
I know you said no books, but I can't resist suggesting suggesting Gurney's book Color and Light I've found it indispensable for helping me understand how to limit my palette, how to get mood to come across, etc but it's very accessible. He also has some fantastic posts on color on his blog.
That said, I've feel that my understanding of color has come from working with traditional paints like watercolors and limiting the palette to a small range of colors that compliment nicely. I wonder if digital just has too many options? By taking the huge range of hues available and narrowing it down to what I could physically make with the few traditional pigments I had felt a lot less overwhelming--I also found my choices feel more creative despite the "handicap." You could probably mimic this digitally by making swatches of colors and picking and adjusting only from blending those.
I'll address the areas I put in bold...beginning with "WHAT ELSE?". If you're really interested in learning how to paint and understanding color better the what else is to use real paint and work from life...while also studying things like Munsell, Gurney's "Color and Light" and whatever else catches your fancy. ALL of your theory study should be done with a critical eye toward understanding what you are observing and experiencing when working from life and mixing color. Not all theory is correct or will jibe with the way you think, and some will. It takes a couple years (that's what I found anyway...maybe more,maybe less) of really trying to see and understand it from life before it starts to come together.
Originally Posted by Memento Mori
One important thing for me that came out of my search (and that search continues of course) is the awareness that color is quite subjective, especially if compared against value (where most problems actually lie). Color is more relative to the surrounding colors and conditions within the scene or subject than it ever is to some chart or codified system. Color is also a very personal choice and the artist may use it very freely and shift it according to the statement they wish to make - enhancing it in some areas or passages while subduing it in others.
So, while the science of color and optics is one thing, the art and usage of it is another. It may help to remember that the science and theory evolve from observation.
Another important thing to be aware of, imho, is that Photoshop is not painting. Maybe this analogy will help...imagine trying to create a symphony by sampling bits of other symphonies...but you don't really know how to compose. That is what you're doing with PS.
Hope some of that helps...I second the idea of oils as a good place to start - dpaint is spot on with oils being easier in some ways.
I'm with you on that issue mate :D What I found to be a fun exercise is to take any photo with an interesting color scheme, take it into Photoshop and create a color palette using said photo (the mosaic filter comes in handy). This way you get a selection of colors which will work well with eachother, you might want to create a palette with both dark and light values and some saturated colors though. Just experiment a bit. That way you can practise with color and mix within said palette, without having to rely all too much on the damn color picker. Adding to that, I would second the comment about Gurneys' book "Color and Light". It's really good :)
Thread about how to create a set of swatches based on an image: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...hes-from-Image! (You'll probably want to set your # of colors at something much less than 256.)
Originally Posted by Sanjo
Should checkout James Gurney's Colour and light, I'm reading through it myself and its helpful as well as an interesting read.
sooo if your completely noob when it comes to color it sounds like opening photoshop and just blasting away trying to color things is not the right direction at all... I am in the same boat as the OP as in I have a vary low understanding of color and feel that its a area as a artist I need to strengthen my self to become better at setting up compilations. I primary am a 3D artist focusing on Modeling but I found you are a lot more eligible to hire if you understand a 2nd field so I also do texturing but am struggling because I suck at coloring... Everything I draw is with pencils and incs and I never color anything because I just don't know how to.
I don't feel this is something I should just ignore and say "O that's something I don't need to know to be a great artist in 3D" I think all aspects of art come together and you should understand each aspect on its own and if your week in one it will affect many parts. Its like how I find many 3D artist that want to be modelers and just pick up a 3D program and start hitting buttons and think "I'm now a 3D Modeler look at me!" but there vary fare from ever achieving that truly. Besides the technical aspect of understanding UV layout's, Splines/patchs/NURBS/, and all the different ways to model a object you also need to understand basic art. Form follows function, Compilation dictates a finished piece to be presented to the next stage be it a still shot to a client or a finished render piece, and if your doing organic modeling you need to understand structure like anatomy for humans / animals.
I feel being week in coloring is merely holding me back and it should not be the big gorilla in the corner that I keep ignoring over all these years. Now I am cheap because I don't make a lot of money so I thought I teach my self on understanding how to mix and blend colors with photoshop but JeffX99 put it that does not sound like a vary valid thing to do...
yep as dpaint mentioned... get some real paints. you can fiddle around in ps for ages whithout grasping the concept, but if you get some paint tubes (limited palettes will do) and some brushes...woah. youd be surprised by the amount of colors you can get out of white (titanium white), black (ivory black), red (cadmium red) and yellow (yellow ochre). im by no means an expert if it comes to that and my application is lacking, but i doubt alot of people would have guessed its just those 4, i painted my oil paintings with (link in my signature, except the pears... thats why they failed ^^ i dont have/havent had a better grasp on color to use all those options back then).