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Thread: The Dimensions of Colour - a colour theory discussion thread

  1. #118
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    This is an excellent resource. I am glad that something like this can still be offered for free in this day and age, and it seems that you are very devoted to your subject. Even though it's difficult for a relative beginner like me to take it all in in one setting I still feel I learned something while reading through it the first time, and I'll be sure to keep coming back to it as I learn more.

    The chapter on colour constancy I find especially interesting, it's quite amazing how your perception of things needs to change in order to faithfully reproduce reality on canvas, the problems faced when trying to copy what is perceived rather than what is actually there is something I'm sure we've all had to struggle with.

    The only thing I could say I would've liked to see that isn't on the site are some analyzes of real-world conditions and how the principles learned can be practically applied in painting, as well as how they have been utilized by others before. This may be something that I'm alone in finding useful, but I think it would have been valuable to see both photographs and master painter's works deconstructed, with the colour dimensions individually analyzed and interpreted, and then (partly) reassembled in paint, revealing not only the information itself but also how it can be used. I know it's too much to ask of a website like this, but it could be an idea if you ever make the site into a book or a DVD.

    Anyway, I just wanted to extend a big thanks for the work you've put in, the site is incredible.
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  4. #119
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    Smile here at last!

    Hey David,

    Just saying that I'm finally trying to intergrate with all this computer stuff.. he he you'll see

    Hope you're well

    H
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  5. #120
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    Yay Harriet!

    Your very first CA post - I'll treasure it always!

    But don't forget to link to your blog in your sig!
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  6. #121
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    Whoa! I've just had a massive spike in the visitor stats and it's all from deviantART. Did somebody there make me site of the day or something?
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  7. #122
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    Thanks for the insights!

    So I read through the dimensions of color web page and my little mind had difficulty handling it. So many terms I didn't know! But I muscled through it as I know I have been especially weak on color and I need to figure it out if I am ever going to get better, even if it took me the better part of a week to get through it. Thanks for the resource! I wish I were in Australia so I could do one of your classes and really get a handle on the subject. If you ever put up videos of your classes or instruction I'd definitely watch them even if they were filmed by a 6 year old with a web cam.

    Since I am so weak on my color theory I have been attempting little (frustrating) exercises by myself. One I have tried is using the color picker to watch what the color sliders do when I sample across different parts of a photograph. I was quite pleased to discover that the saturation (chroma?) really does pretty much stay the same as value changes across a uniform surface like a red ball as long as its not reflecting too much. Though I am still boggled as can be about trying to replicate skin which moves hue saturation and value all over the place. Is it because skin is translucent and has blood vessels below it or is it subsurface scattering of light or how skin is also oily and a bit reflective or is it because skin is not all the same color/texture/thickness, or maybe because I am looking at photos with multiple light sources ...?

    I attempted the ball exercise and this is what I came up with. I definitely still have a long way to go. But if I squint really really hard... and take off my glasses...

    The Dimensions of Colour - a colour theory discussion thread

    If anyone knows some really good resources or a really solid and simple way to think about and approach color, I'd love to hear it. I'd especially love it if someone had a blood oath guarded life or death super secret about color torn from the hands of an ancient and mysterious conspiracy of history's phenomenal artists. There have to be secrets about this... right?
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  8. #123
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    Amazing thread, I spend the last week reading all the information on your website, going over it again and again.. I must thank you endlessly for all this free information, im glad the web was invented because a lot of artist would not benefit from all this information since we dont all go to art school
    The uniform saturation principle really opened my eyes , i used to think like a lot of people that the saturation would vary all the way on a lit sphere ( even with a white light ) The fact that most photos i was studying had a colored ambient + a color light source would always deform that fact and i could never figure how much the hue and saturation should change while the planes receed. If I understand everything right, the only changes in hue and saturation on a surface ( lit by white light only in this case ) would be cause by specular reflection ? Like Zaorr pointed, I think Loomis was probably confusing the 2 in his observation, he would saw diffuse specular reflection as a part of the diffuse reflection since it was probably the lightest part of the lit area, and only considering the light source as the only thing that can be reflected in a specular reflection. Im still unsure of where to place the drastical point of change in temperature from light side to shadow side in the case of ; lets say a warm light vs a cold ambient, it seems the be a bit before the terminator on the light side of the sphere but im probably wrong..
    The last part of your webpage where you help artist apply those principle with paint was really helpful, thanks again Mr.Briggsy
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  9. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfury View Post
    I wish I were in Australia so I could do one of your classes and really get a handle on the subject. If you ever put up videos of your classes or instruction I'd definitely watch them even if they were filmed by a 6 year old with a web cam.
    Come on, airfares are cheap right now and my next digital colour course starts at the end of this month. See you there? Anyway, I'm more than happy to comment on anything you post here.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfury View Post
    Though I am still boggled as can be about trying to replicate skin which moves hue saturation and value all over the place. Is it because skin is translucent and has blood vessels below it or is it subsurface scattering of light or how skin is also oily and a bit reflective or is it because skin is not all the same color/texture/thickness, or maybe because I am looking at photos with multiple light sources ...?
    All of the above! Skin really looks wrong if it is painted in one colour all over. Look for all those variations and paint them in without overdoing them.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfury View Post
    I attempted the ball exercise and this is what I came up with. I definitely still have a long way to go. But if I squint really really hard... and take off my glasses...
    I can't put a precise figure on it (for lack of exactly comparable objects) but I think I would have put in the cast shadow a tad lighter (apart from the crevice shadow). Otherwise it looks great to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfury View Post
    I'd especially love it if someone had a blood oath guarded life or death super secret about color torn from the hands of an ancient and mysterious conspiracy of history's phenomenal artists. There have to be secrets about this... right?
    Actually I think that many of history's phenomenal artists would have killed to know what we know about colour today. In most cases their secret is ... hard work, continuous immersion and long experience. Having said that, there is a lot of useful information on painting techniques in various historical documents - what period are you most interested in?
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  11. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteC View Post
    Amazing thread, I spend the last week reading all the information on your website, going over it again and again.. I must thank you endlessly for all this free information, im glad the web was invented because a lot of artist would not benefit from all this information since we dont all go to art school
    Actually it's because of what you most likely would and wouldn't have been told about colour if you did go to art school that I wrote the thing!

    Whatever people think about it, the web is inevitably creating a "loaves and fishes" situation. If everyone, or even a substantial minority, provides one valuable thing for free, we all end up far richer than we would ever get by trying to flog off our own private tutorial/ebook/album etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteC View Post
    Im still unsure of where to place the drastical point of change in temperature from light side to shadow side in the case of ; lets say a warm light vs a cold ambient, it seems the be a bit before the terminator on the light side of the sphere but im probably wrong..
    As you approach the terminator the main light drops off rapidly, and so the ambient light increasingly influences the colour. Beyond the terminator, glare from the main light source may influence the colour for some distance (think of the effect of the sun on the blue sky just beside it). So you often see a transition on both sides of the terminator.

    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteC View Post
    thanks again Mr.Briggsy
    Ahem, it's Dr Briggsy, thank you
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  13. #126
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    just checked if anyone had replied before i went to bed, thanks a lot for your answer.

    Just to be sure, by glare you mean some kind of blur ???

    Also , if you allow me , since i forgot to post in my previous post ; your talking somewhere in this thread that you only use screen, multipy and normal modes in photoshop for your demonstration, i understand how you use multiply and screen but about normal mode, do you use it only for specular reflection and atmospheric perspective ?? ( like in the case of that red sphere on a blue background )

    anyway thanks doctor thats definitely clarifying a lot of things, I hope this thread will live on for a long tim

    Cheers,
    Last edited by VirgL; August 31st, 2009 at 11:00 PM. Reason: spelling
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  14. #127
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    Thanks for the response! The shadow was something I really couldn't figure out that well since most the other ones seemed to drop straight down to the ground with a bit of ambient light softening their edges, though with your observation I am thinking that I was looking at the crevice shadow instead of the drop shadow. I'm glad the colors worked though for the ball though because that is what I really focused on.

    If I could use color like anyone it would be Joaquín Sorolla for how he communicates light's behavior so well, Thomas Moran for landscapes and atmosphere (though that might have been the location of where he was painting more than his own creativity), and probably William Bouguereau for people who more so than a photograph look ALIVE. That is an odd mix, but each of those aspects of their work really floors me. Though my favorite artist at the moment is Alphons Mucha, his colors don't attract me nearly as much as his line work and design, though in some of his pieces the color is phenomenal as well. So if you could tell me their secrets that would be grand. I am noticing that some of them used a lot less color than I thought they did, so that is interesting (well, except sorolla, it looks like his paintings are exploding with light).

    I lightened the shadow up a bit.

    The Dimensions of Colour - a colour theory discussion thread

    As for airfare to the sister colony, I think the trip would cost more than my university tuition when all was said and done .
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  15. #128
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    WhiteC

    Glad if I helped. In mentioning glare I was thinking that if there is even the slightest atmospheric haze, then adjacent to a strong light source like the sun you will get some white sunlight added to the blue skylight. (Indoors, light reflected off the ceiling adjacent to a light bulb will similarly cause a gradational rather than a completely sharp fall-off of the influence of the light).

    dragonfury

    The shadow looks good now - congratulations and thanks so much for contributing!

    Regarding painting techniques, do you know about the Rational Painting forum? You'll find threads on the techniques of many of the painters that you like (a heated 30+ page thread debating the technique of Bouguereau, for instance).
    http://rationalpainting.org

    If you like Mucha for composition, have you seen his Lectures on Art?
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/085670296X
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  17. #129
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    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  18. #130
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    Hi David.
    Here's the questions i mentioned the other day. : )

    Ok, here in your site you say:
    T_onal painters would observe this difference in brightness and "colorfulness" of light, and represent it with paint areas of different lightness and chroma, in order to create the illusion of a surface of uniform chroma under varying light
    I was wondering, what is a "tonal painter" exactly? I couldn't find a proper definition.
    Also, several times you wrote about how its better to use uniform saturation for realism (than higher saturation in the half light e.g), ok but when do you recommend not using uniform saturation? I find it doesnt always give pleasing results even after adding specular and bounce light. Also more often than not in photos, saturation is more or less higher in the shadows and although i hear colors are not accurate in photos i'd appreciate your thoughts on all this.

    Just for confirmation now: specular light is additive right? So, to reuse the example of a red ball, if there were a bright green wall behind the ball, its receding "planes", affected by the specular light from the wall should get a little... yellowish?

    Another thing; according to you, are there some significant advantages for photoshop users to work in lab mode rather than rgb? Then again i heard various things but would like an informed opinion.

    Finally, i always wondered why, often under sunlight, there's a saturated reddish rim of color at the shadow edge on human skin, somewhat like in this photo (im aware it's completely blown out but couldn't find any better).
    Oh and more for the sake of curiosity than anyhthing i'd like to know the formula used to calculate the lowest row of the chart here (brightness).

    I guess that's all. :)

    Thanks a lot for your time and any infos on these questions.
    Last edited by SM; September 29th, 2009 at 01:56 PM.
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