Is there a draw back from painting in greyscale? (examples included)
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Thread: Is there a draw back from painting in greyscale? (examples included)

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    Is there a draw back from painting in greyscale? (examples included)

    Hi,

    I thought I'd bring up an interesting issue here.

    Recentely, I have been painting in grey-scale and it's been so great, and it's great for getting realistic look and depth to my paintings, however, I really do missing just messing about in colour and painting in colour.

    And I've realised when I start to colour my grey-paintings, I'm now so fed up of seeing everything in grey-scale...

    It was so refreshing to pick colours in PS and start messing about with colours, and then I realized, have I been missing something?

    I went through my greyscale-to-colour pictures and realised, despite the values being correct (sometimes) I was missing that vibrant, full colour look.

    So here's something I did - I took a few pictures/paintings that inspired me from some of the best artists on here, turned them in grey-scale and then tried to paint over them, I didn't do it so well but I think it did illustrate my point - am I missing something?

    It's hard to see what you're doing with colour, mixing and blending wise, it just even seems that one streak of colour would do the job, so I was wondering if you guys have thought about this, and whether you have seen a difference, and also - what exactly are you doing? Maybe I'm missing something...

    Now I'm confused whether to stick to correct-greyscale paintings, or just have fun in colour but it looks messy/uncorrect.

    I can't post the comparasion pictures of the paintings I painted over to achieve the same look as the original - but it's something you can try with your favourite paintings, but here's a quick example that I did in a few minutes ..

    Original colour:


    Greyscale into colour:


    Another greyscale painting where it looks "dull" and lack of mixing/natural colour, painted ontop of greyscale:



    Last edited by neovirtu; November 25th, 2009 at 02:51 PM.
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    That vibrant, "full color look" you feel you're missing is chroma. I don't know anything about digital painting, but Monochromatic or grisaille paintings in the fine arts are meant to be a study for a full colour painting. If you paint on top of it, no matter how opaque the top layer, the gray will kill the chroma from underneath. The main motives of doing grisailles are so that you can try and understand the value distribution throughout the whole composition. Don't paint on top of the grayscale - have it next to your full colour painting and that way, you have it on hand to check values.

    The grisaille studies are great and I encourage you to continue doing them. The important thing is to keep them on hand for future colour studies. NOT as underpaintings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oruhito View Post
    That vibrant, "full color look" you feel you're missing is chroma. I don't know anything about digital painting, but Monochromatic or grisaille paintings in the fine arts are meant to be a study for a full colour painting. If you paint on top of it, no matter how opaque the top layer, the gray will kill the chroma from underneath. The main motives of doing grisailles are so that you can try and understand the value distribution throughout the whole composition. Don't paint on top of the grayscale - have it next to your full colour painting and that way, you have it on hand to check values.

    The grisaille studies are great and I encourage you to continue doing them. The important thing is to keep them on hand for future colour studies. NOT as underpaintings.
    Ahh I have seen some grisaille studies before...

    Yes. that must be it, the Chroma I'm missing, I guess I've been painting in greyscale so long, and I've just seen through artists on here, and in magazines etc, that they paint ontop (in digital art) of a picture in an mixture of layer types, Color or Overlay or some other...

    Thanks for the heads up!

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    I'm currently researching this method digitally, and I don't really understand your concern. As long as you've got a large value range, which in greyscale is easy, and use colourisation and not just overlay, then it should be fine.

    The key is to perfect your greyscale underpainting, and then work properly on your colour layering, you need to go into colour saturation mainly, and ofcourse use basic colour theory to compose your colour layers, not just as an afterthought, but as a considered second-phase of the piece.

    Even in my impressionistic and mostly alla prima oil painting, I would revisit a semi-dry layer and add more colour. Even if it was only an hour old and still wet, the power of layering in colour is the key, it would also homogenise the piece.

    I can't really explain it in techinical terms, because I've not had that type of art education, but just layer (With correct layer types!) the fuck out of the colours and you'll see the dullness go away.

    As a final thought, don't forget that colour becomes de-saturated depending on its neighbour, so those sweeping mid-tone backgrounds are not going to work very well with this method. Try using either extreme and keeping it flatter.

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    i notice that people who usually do greyscale first, usually finish with muted colors or 1 tone colors.. its not vibrant as a screen shot of a pixar movie.. its usually very dark also..

    then to add actualy rich colors they usually have to do an over paint on top of it.. esp for bright colors..

    anywyas thats what ive noticed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pennyj View Post
    I'm currently researching this method digitally, and I don't really understand your concern. As long as you've got a large value range, which in greyscale is easy, and use colourisation and not just overlay, then it should be fine.

    The key is to perfect your greyscale underpainting, and then work properly on your colour layering, you need to go into colour saturation mainly, and ofcourse use basic colour theory to compose your colour layers, not just as an afterthought, but as a considered second-phase of the piece.

    Even in my impressionistic and mostly alla prima oil painting, I would revisit a semi-dry layer and add more colour. Even if it was only an hour old and still wet, the power of layering in colour is the key, it would also homogenise the piece.

    I can't really explain it in techinical terms, because I've not had that type of art education, but just layer (With correct layer types!) the fuck out of the colours and you'll see the dullness go away.

    As a final thought, don't forget that colour becomes de-saturated depending on its neighbour, so those sweeping mid-tone backgrounds are not going to work very well with this method. Try using either extreme and keeping it flatter.

    Thanks for your input, just what I needed, I knew someone was going to say that there's not really a problem, but I think, part of it is, I just enjoy working straight into colour, it's much more fun and enjoyable, but the results aren't as great if I did it in greyscale first.

    I was thinking if I really brush up on my colour theory and just paint from that, should be fine... right? But that's a whole another thing on it's own - is Overlay and Colour the only layers I should go near?

    Quote Originally Posted by riceface View Post
    i notice that people who usually do greyscale first, usually finish with muted colors or 1 tone colors.. its not vibrant as a screen shot of a pixar movie.. its usually very dark also..

    then to add actualy rich colors they usually have to do an over paint on top of it.. esp for bright colors..

    anywyas thats what ive noticed
    Yeah, pretty much - this is what I'm going on about.

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    In terms of which layer types to use, I mostly see people use overlay and adjustment layers, but a lot of them.

    In Jason Chan's quick sketch video he uses greyscale underpainting in a really interesting way. He basically composes the image in greyscale, decides on pretty much all the main details, works in a small range of values in both extremes, then moves right into an overlay, working forward from the background in colour. He then re-works values, forms and pretty much the whole piece in overlays. (He produces a concept that is better than 90% of the work I've ever seen in a few hours.)

    That is how I'd like to learn to work. Values in greyscale shouldn't really be your only skill, but I think it's often the first skill learned in painting, so don't sweat it. Just work in greyscale until you're confident you can pull the rest off in colour layers.

    Good luck.

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    yep greyscale is a very good study for getting good values.Color can follow easily then.But not painting over it like that because adding white and black to colors are making them dull.
    Anyway even when i am working over greyscale for some production reasons i use layer modes that translate the grey tones into color and of course after that i keep working like putting colors here and there different hues etc.
    Use greyscale as a training in values and after you become very good at this color will come easily

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingkostas View Post
    yep greyscale is a very good study for getting good values.Color can follow easily then.But not painting over it like that because adding white and black to colors are making them dull.
    Anyway even when i am working over greyscale for some production reasons i use layer modes that translate the grey tones into color and of course after that i keep working like putting colors here and there different hues etc.
    Use greyscale as a training in values and after you become very good at this color will come easily
    Thanks alot for your video and help.. I tried out your technique, it worked better than what I was doing before.

    However, I can't believe this is still bugging me - it really was frustrating me, because I paint detailed things easily, in greyscale value, but putting it to colour is tricky.

    So here I did an experiment.





    (1) This is coloured from the greyscale (2) - it doesn't look the way I want it to look, and it does look flat - and colour wheel wise (OK, there isn't a background) but it's all from just the green section, which I know you shouldn't really shade the darks just the darker colour of the mid-tone - this is wrong! Right? But it was hard to blend colours together..it's like the whole thing is in neutral light- where as...

    (2) I feel has depth and it looks good, as greyscale

    (3) Is a drawing done in pencil - later I use these same values and layout in the painting (4)

    (4) is based on the drawing (3) - it is all done in colour, no greyscale underpainting, it's still at the base colour stage, but it looks good (I think anyway...!) nice colour and using colour theory I was ablet to control the lighting and colour, the pallete is restricted but not to one sector.

    Sorry if this doesn't make sense..

    So I'm still kinda lost!

    I know it's stupid!

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    Local color of an object is what it would look like without the influence of colored light. Local color cools as it changes to shadow. On top of that the color of the light affects all the things I just said globally.

    As an example you have a red apple under normal light. As the form of the apple turns into shadow the color of it not only gets darker the color cools toward blue violet; how much depends on a number of things but it happens.
    Add a yellow light to the scene where the white light was before, and now the local color of the apple shifts and warms because it has yellow light on it making it look more orange than red but it still gets cooler in the shadow relative to the color it is with the warm yellow light on it. The degree of the separation of light and shadow stays the same but the appearance of the colors in light and shadow are shifted warmer. Hope this helps.

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