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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Is high contrast good?

    I have some innate feeling that all my pieces must have a really dark color and a really light color in them, it has to have a near black and a near white, is that a bad thing? Can a piece still work if closer to grey? Or should you try to stay towards either the darks or the lights?
    -Insert intelligent comment here-

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    It seems like it depends on the effect you’re trying to achieve but I’m exactly the same way. I think it adds depth to your image and your image has more of an impact.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The Netherlands
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    This is exactly what I do, but it didn`t quite hit me until I just read this thread. In my portrait parts of the face which are brightly lit are usually completely white, while I know now that`s quite impossible (unless your subject is an albino, and even in that case I`m not quite sure) I still do it!
    For some reason it just makes it look better. This is probably a matter of personal taste though.
    Veni, vidi, vici.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Hudson River valley, NY
    Thanked 16,688 Times in 5,022 Posts
    Short answer:
    It depends.

    Longer answer:
    It depends on
    (a) The local values of the objects in the picture,
    (b) The lighting and atmospheric conditions,
    (c) How you choose to modify these for pictorial effect.

    So sometimes a high contrast solution will be exactly right for a certain picture, sometimes it will be totally wrong. Look at paintings, photos, and especially movies and see how different value structures are used to tell the story.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    let me break it down like my art teachers and professionals ive met have told me:
    the lightest light in the drawing is white.
    The darkest dark is black.
    The midtones realte to these extremes.
    I have great faith in fools. My friends call it self confidence.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    knees deep in paint, NYC
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    It all comes down to what you wish to achieve. For me, high contrast goes in the same category with too many highlights -- just enough can make a piece come to life, but too much contrast or highlights makes my work look gaudy and mechanical.

    Also, in painting skin, I rarely see a value that is pure white. Even highlights are not just white. Cerulean blue comes in handy here. (There are exceptions of course, like style -- like using the white of the paper in watercolor or ink)

    It is important to remember that everything is relative; your values should be adjusted so that they are in relationship with each other.

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