Jeez, This photo has tough color temperature, relationships

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  1. #1
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    Jeez, This photo has tough color temperature, relationships

    OK Help me out on this one. Look at photo first.

    Here is a photo of my friend in my living room that has a neutral cloudy day light source (I think this light source is cool rather than warm). What temperature is the light area and what temperature is the shadow? It is very hard for me to establish this.

    What I do know:

    Value: Light area is an average of 15-20% gray and shadow area is around 40%

    Chroma: I realize that these colors are in a middle chroma range. That means not much intensity in the colors.

    Light source temp: It is (I think) on the cool side but just a bit.

    Local color: His flesh is slightly on the warmer side and the hues are not very saturated however I have a cool light on it so Im a little confused as to how I should interpret this temperature wise.

    Overall Temperature: Light: warm???
    Shadow cool??? But the degree of coolness is very little.

    Now, what friggin colors should I use to block this out??? I am afraid of using too much white in the light area, since I am afraid of chalkiness and too much desturation.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    -Andy

    Now my biggest problem

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  3. #2
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    less words more paint

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  4. #3
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    I agree with stevekim.

    Color temperature is a tough thing that really comes with experience.

    Small bits of advice:

    - Check out Briggsy's site for a really in-depth discussion of color. It's stickied at the top of the forum. A really amazing resource- tons and tons of info from someone with tons of experience studying and explaining this stuff. It tends towards the technical but pretty much everything you need to know is there.

    - Warm/cool is a vague term that gets used in a lot of different ways. It's most useful when looking at how the color of a given material shifts as it turns from light to dark. When you are looking at two different materials it's not so useful to think about warmer/cooler (Briggsy's site talks about this nicely).

    - Color temperature can guide you a bit in making color decisions and mixing colors, but too much analysis will kill the painting (and probably suck the fun out of painting). The only really important one to be aware of is the color of the light, and that the shadows will likely best be represented with cooler colors (relative to the same material in light). This is due partly to the physics of light, but more it's due to the inability of paints or monitors to represent the range of colors in nature. It's useful when you're deciding if the part of the orange table in shadow is best represented with purple or brown- though the catch is that it will be both (see below).

    - Warm colors have a bit of cool in them and vice versa. But a warm color will have more warm than cool.

    - In general: direct sunlight is warm, reflected/indirect (through the window) or diffuse (through clouds) is cool. Incandescant bulbs (regular light bulbs) are warm, and fluorescent lights are usually cool, but can also be warm. All of these have exceptions.

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  5. #4
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    Andy, is there any particular reason you're concerned about matching the color exactly? Is it a learning exercise or something? Because, aside from that, I don't know that the colors here are all that worth trying to preserve.

    Nobody ever accused me of being a master colorist, of course, but my theory is if you get the forms right, you get ALL KINDS of latitude with the color.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  6. #5
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    I agree with Stoat, unless this is an exercise why must it be perfect in every pixel? Those type of works tend to have alot less life to them even when rendered perfectly.

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  7. #6
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    Don't just copy it of course - that won't teach you anything. Take whatever liberties you have to to make the image work. Besides which, it's often not a good idea to look at photographs for colour studies. Rather do master studies (Rembrandt!!) to learn what you need to.

    I'd jump right in with pinks and greens to block this one out, just my 2c on there.
    Stop worrying about these things and you'll find they come more easily. There are no formulas and no absolute rights and absolute wrongs.

    hope this helped,
    cheers!

    Brendan Noeth

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    Well, for me this is an exercise in order to put all that I learned about color (hue,value,temperature,saturation)together. I get the values and chroma right but my temperature and hues are always off. I am just trying to understand how can I finally nail everything. I am just trying to replicate the colors I see. I cant just use any color since I want to depict it the way i see it. Even if I do block in the forms and values correctly, the colors will still not look right. Value and form is a cake for me. Its the hues and tempertaure that always get me.

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  9. #8
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    put it together in a painting!

    Everything you learn about color should be expressed/conveyed/worked out in your artwork.

    Post a painting, and I'll try to help.

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  10. #9
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    Sunlight through clouds invariable gives a cool light source. This ends up with cool lights and warm shadows, which we have here for sure. However, the degree of difference between the warm and the cool isn't that great, which is a challenge, and great fun to do.

    I've seen this from life many many times. Remember, whilst the shadow areas are infact warmer than the lights, that doesn't mean they are "warm" colours in themselves. There is going to be a lot of cobalt blue in them.

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  11. #10
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    Andymania, to me this is a CLASSIC example of how trying to follow an artists' rule of thumb can be far more confusing than a little rational analysis. It's also a great example of the confusion caused by the use of the terms "warm" and "cool" in the popular vague sense that could refer either to a difference of hue or or a difference of chroma. This is actually the simplest lighting of all, where the main light and the secondary light are both the same colour and seen as white. The underlying diffuse reflection (i.e. skin colour) therefore follows a single line of uniform saturation from shadow into light (see attachment - your friend's skin tones in YCbCr space). Paint these in a series of colours of steadily increasing chroma from the shadow to the full light (blue line). Then paint in the desaturated lighter colours for the areas of specular highlights. As long as you save the desaturated colours for these regions they shouldn't look chalky.

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    Last edited by briggsy@ashtons; December 10th, 2007 at 02:43 PM.
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  12. #11
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    Andymania, I've just taken the liberty of reposting this on my colour theory discussion thread, because I think it is such a great example of how trying to apply an artists' rule of thumb can actually be far more confusing than a little rational analysis.

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  13. #12
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    Hey sounds good. Just one more question Briggsy. The hues used in the shadow will be different from the ones used in the light no? But is it as simple as mixing two colors together like you shown and just steadily increase the chroma? My issue is is that when I look at the local color of the skin (diffuse reflection) I see pinks,browns, some green,etc, and I am not sure what hues to use. Since the light is white as you mentioned, I am then pretty much just painting the diffuse reflection right? If the "colorfulness" of the light was orange or something else I wouldn't worry too much about the diffuse reflection since the light would alter the local color...right?? Am I getting this correct Briggsy?

    -Andy

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  14. #13
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    Andy, if you're using the word "hues" in it's technical meaning I would expect no hue shift if both light sources are neutral white, which is how your picture looks to me on my monitor. (If the light sources are actually not quite neutral, and different, then you would expect a hue shift). As far as how to create a shading series in practice goes, see my Figure 10.2 here. The colour variations you refer to ("pinks,browns, some green,etc") probably seem of much greater magnitude to you than they really are - it takes a while to learn to see them as relatively small variations on a basic colour, when seen in the context of the full range of possible colours. Looking at how they plot in colour space (see above) may help you to realize this. Try to create a shading series for the average skin colour, and then paint the colour variations into it. I think you're sort of on the right track with the last bit - a coloured light will modify the colour of the diffuse reflection in a way that I have touched on in my Figure 10.8 here.

    Hope that helps. If you want to discuss this further please drop by my DOC thread (where our discussion will sticky around for longer).

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  15. #14
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    Briggsy,

    I am trying to do this portrait via traditional mediums (oil painting, colored pencil, etc) When I mentioned hues, i was referring to the actual tube colors not light. I see in the diffuse reflection all these pinks, sienna browns, greens, etc and I understand the part of uniform chroma now. I was just wondering how do i know which colors (tube colors) to use??

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  16. #15
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    Andy, just start painting.

    Try and make it look good on the canvas, show what you have, get crits, alter if you think crits are right.

    Repeat.

    You're overanalysing stuff and no-one will ever agree 100 percent.

    Last edited by Flake; December 11th, 2007 at 10:15 PM.
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  17. #16
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    Andy if you take on board what I've said on the site you'll see that it's not about which pigments to use. People will indeed never agree on the latter because you can mix this series of colours with any number of different combinations of pigments. Any white, any red, any yellow and any black/raw umber darkener will do. Mix the colour of the flesh in full light (minus specular reflection) from these, then mix a shading series of darker versions of this colour by adding your black or raw umber darkener, then correcting using pure colours (red and yellow) to get back on a line of uniform saturation, as I explain on the site. You can add touches of any other colours you need to get the colour variations that you mention, but keep these under control - what I said about them being subtler variations than you probably think goes whatever you are painting with. Above all make sure you get the greyscale values spot on. Paint in your highlights and darkest accents at the end. Get cracking and show us what you come up with!

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  18. #17
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    ok im on it! thanks for all the info!!

    -Andy

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