I'm having some huge issues with color in this piece. I'm terribly weak in color theory, in particular, painting anything without sunlight and this painting here mainly serves as practice for those weaknesses. The problem is that the girl is too light (though she is very light skinned) and I can't figure out how to make her stand out without making her blend into the background or have it look monotone. I've been playing with color and lighting for a long time now and no matter what I do, it isn't working out so I thought I'd give CA a try. Anyone here have any suggestions or techniques I can try?
-Moonlight is supposed to be directly on her.
-Skin layer is on screen because normal mode in PS because it doesn't look right in normal mode (again, it's just too light/bright).
-The red glows from the bugs will in added later once I get the base of the skin right.
-Her clothing are yet another issue. Like her skin, I think they're too light/bright for a dark, full moon light look. In daylight, they'd be light blue (the shirt), white (on string), red and gold, and the first layer of the skirt is supposed to be dark blue (though here it looks black )
-Her hair is supposed to be white but I'm not sure what color it'd look like in the darkness so I settled for light blue instead.
-legs has some anatomical issues which will be fixed later.
-the leaves in the background, like rest of the coloring, has lighting issues, but they're not my major concerns right now.
Where is the light coming from? Above? If so, there would be shadows on her face & highlights on her nose, her right shoulder with the hair, highlight on her right leg, shading of breasts.
Or is it coming from the front? In that case her body should be more highlighted. Right now I can't really tell.
Try to picture the character as a bunch of simple shapes, and imagine the light falling on it.
And 2 nitpicks : Her right hand forms a nasty tangent with the clothing, and is really stretched looking. And her hair could use a little work, shape and shading wise. The way it's falling defies gravity, unless the wind is blowing, in which case her clothing would be responding.
The contradiction is, that your main light source is not the moon, but those red shining bugs. Concentrating on the bugs light, she'd reflect their red, complementary dark green. The next problem, these bugs are everywhere. There is not clear lightning source in this picture. Id suggest to either get rid of those bugs all but one, or place all of them on one side.
Further, the combination of glowing bugs red light and moon light is very difficult to solve (at least for me).
Aboout moonlight in general: As far is I can tell (I avoid drawing moonlight pictures, as long as I cant find a way to define the spot), moonlight is very diffuse, unlike sunlight. Most sides of any element get equal light. Either you need low contrast or little difference between light and shadow.
Now, about this, I am not sure, but when I tried it out in your picture, it seemed to work. Moonlight makes the lightened parts look cold and pale (something between lightblue and lightgray, or whatever color you set for it, as long as it's a cold tone), while the opposition - the shadowed parties - would have more of the real color of the respective elements (just darker). Just would make sense, as warm light has cold shadow, cold light should have warm shadow, but I could be horribly wrong...
Last edited by Swamp Thing; December 2nd, 2010 at 10:42 PM.
The contradiction is, that your main light source is not the moon, but those red shining bugs.
Actually, it depends on which one is stronger. Also, Even though the bugs are closer, the influence of their light is going to fall off very rapidly (inverse square law).
Sady, that's a really bad scan of that Robh Ruppel painting, and thus not a great illustration of what you're talking about. In the original the lights aren't blown out and the shadows are much flatter.
Elwell, indeed. I have a printed version here and it the contrast is not as exaggerated as that scan. Sorry.
Nevertheless, the occlusion and highlights are still more accentuated than Cerulean's. Just not that much.
I'm very sorry for the late update. Hopefully, this new WIP is better (I painted this as fast as I could).
I took some of your suggestions and repainted everything in gray scale, fixed the hand and arm, gave her something more concrete to sit on, and the 'wind.' The only thing I didn't take out was the bugs. I decided to leave them in there. As for the ball of cool gray, it is supposed to be where the light is coming from (for reference's sake).
Thank you Sandy and Elwell for the links and upload. I read through the three blog posts but I haven't really applied the techniques in the sample below yet. Moonlight is trickier than I had thought and I wanted to study the examples a little more before I can figure how I would apply it to this image. Otherwise, I think I might just omit moonlight and use a different light source (don't know what that will be yet though).
Any suggestions on the image and gray scale is welcomed. The only problem I have with right now are the bugs' wings. I wanted them in motion blur but I haven't quite figured out how to paint that either so I'll focus on that soon.
Ok I like your drawing...you're definitely good at that. The only critique I had about your drawing was the angle of her head. You can see in the photo ref her nose is pointed down and a lot of the top of her head is showing. I used the liquify tool to pull her face down a little. Good job getting reference.
First I'll say that I am colorblind so this is my best attempt. I often will let photoshop do the work for me with colors. If you just add colors that you know should both be there, photoshop will mix them and do the rest.
So I started off using your greyscale drawing and I added a color layer of light blue. Then I added a lighting effect from above in the same light blue and put that on linear dodge( just scroll through layer choices until it looks right or change lighting filter if none look good). Next, I burned some of the areas in shadow, and dodged some of the areas I thought would catch the most direct moonlight like the top of her head--this is what makes it obvious that a light is hitting her. Then I sampled colors from your first image and painted them on some of those areas 40% opacity. Photoshop did the work for me mixing the colors.
When I added red light hitting the girl near her shoulder, it looked crazy. Like everyone else, I just cant imagine what that might look like...being hit with both cool and warm light. So I moved the bug down and made her UNDERneath planes red, and top planes moonlit.
Hope this helps. Another choice might be to make those bugs green or violet. It might look a lot more harmonious and less of a conundrum to paint.
P.s. To add motion blur, just select the wings and use the filter called motion blur or box blur. Works like a charm.
Last edited by Artfix; December 14th, 2010 at 12:26 AM.
Think I'm about ready to color. If anyone has anything else to add, feel free to do so. I will begin detailing it soon (colored this time).
-I pulled the face to fix the angle of her head.
-I realized that my WIP was still too gray so I added more contrast. Hopefully, I didn't over do it in this.
-The movements of the bugs' wings.
-I fixed the background again and I think I will definitely stick with this one. It has the air of mystery and solitude that I wanted to convey.
The only last question I have is whether or not that hair would show up that clearly in moonlight. For now, I am painting it like does. I have played around with it, maked it less sharp, but it hasn't worked out too well so I'll be thinking about that tonight and tomorrow morning.
Again, that ball of gray near the top-middle is just there to tell you/me where the light supposed to be coming from.
Last edited by C e r u l e a n; December 15th, 2010 at 12:38 AM.