Digital painting method - good or harmful?
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Thread: Digital painting method - good or harmful?

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    Digital painting method - good or harmful?

    Basically, I have a really hard time recognizing what value colors are since I am new to painting using color (I come from a drawing background, obviously black and white.) For example, say I put down a red and a blue of the same value. If i turn the layer to black and white, they both become the same shade of grey. However, without doing that, I have no idea how dark they are compared to eachother...

    So what I've been doing is actually painting the whole thing in black and white first to get the values perfect, and then adding color by combining hue+saturation layers, manual brushing, and color balance.

    My concern is that i'm "cheating" and that I wouldn't be able to actually paint traditionally because of this method. Is this a bad way to learn?

    Last edited by Tritan; March 26th, 2011 at 08:23 PM.
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    since you seems to have good knowledge of value, paint in b&w then use brush for color with color blending mode. the color will combine with the value. So if the value is dark grey, and you add yellow, it will be dark goldish.

    Also the proper way of turning colors to b&w is to desaturate. MAC: CMD+SHIFT+U WIN: CTRL? + SHIFT + U

    avoid doing adjustment layers, it complex things.
    Remember, brush with blending mode of COLOR and paint with specific color on the values.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Really strong colors are tough to gauge the value of because they become "brighter" by their saturation without actually becoming lighter in value. (Although, to my mind if a color gives the illusion that it is a lighter value, aesthetically speaking it is actually a lighter value. But this is debatable.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameowns View Post
    since you seems to have good knowledge of value, paint in b&w then use brush for color with color blending mode. the color will combine with the value. So if the value is dark grey, and you add yellow, it will be dark goldish.

    Also the proper way of turning colors to b&w is to desaturate. MAC: CMD+SHIFT+U WIN: CTRL? + SHIFT + U

    avoid doing adjustment layers, it complex things.
    Remember, brush with blending mode of COLOR and paint with specific color on the values.
    I knew I was missing something... wow. The color blending mode is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

    Although... Is this how most people paint digitally? I still feel like it might be "cheating" or maybe that i'm not learning the "right way" of the digital painting workflow

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tritan View Post
    My concern is that i'm "cheating" and that I wouldn't be able to actually paint traditionally because of this method. Is this a bad way to learn?
    There is no "cheating" - only results (except in the sense that one can cheat oneself by relying on crutches - but that generally shows up in results). That said, digital painting and traditional painting are such different processes that even if you manage to learn to "paint digitally" you will learn very little about painting traditionally. On the other hand, if you learn to paint traditionally you can translate that knowledge fairly easily to a digital medium. That's been my experience anyway - others may differ.

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    Most people will say, if it ends with a good result then why not use it.
    Unfortunately I've rarely seen it end with a good result.

    I'm no expert but as Kev is saying different colours have different perceived value (i.e cool colours recede) and their highest chroma occurs at varying values.

    Maybe do a value sketch and leave that open in a floating window, while you approach it using colours from the start. Some people do colour roughs also as a guide to what they want the final colour/values to be, because you don't necessarily want to use the full range of colours and values too early on. Traditional artists also do this to establish and mix their pallete beforehand, not a bad approach for working digitally either, something I should try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameowns View Post
    Also the proper way of turning colors to b&w is to desaturate. MAC: CMD+SHIFT+U WIN: CTRL? + SHIFT + U
    Absolutely wrong.


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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameowns View Post
    since you seems to have good knowledge of value, paint in b&w then use brush for color with color blending mode.
    Be careful with that, or you'll end up with a boring "compartmentalized monochrome" picture.

    A picture must work in black and white if it is to work in color. But the perceived brightness of different colors is not the same: green would seem be brighter than red of the same brightness, and that brighter than blue. You have to take in account, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonameowns View Post
    CTRL + SHIFT + U
    Doing that just makes the B&W really funky and you'll end up with a picture that doesn't necessarily accurately reflect the kind of feel you're going for (and will most likely look very boring).

    Channel Mixer is your friend.

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    in my opinion the only way to learn color and to see it correctly, getting an idea whats neccessary to get the color you see... these things are learned way faster traditionally (or only trad. at all).

    i spent the last 8 years painting digitally exclusively, and while i tend to think that the color in my digital stuff works, ive been completely clueless when i started oil painting recently. i think digital works great for producing stuff, less for learning though. so many problems are so easy to come by, that in practise i hardly spent the thoughts that would have resulted in a learning effect and instead rather did what was neccessary.

    i now have the feeling that i completely wasted the last 8 years, and that id have learned what i learned in about 1/2 a year, if i would have gone traditional.

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    Change mode to Grayscale for much more accurate translation to B&W than Desaturate.

    Check the "L" value in Lab color to get a fairly accurate comparison of the value of two colors.

    If you want to learn to paint traditionally, paint traditionally. Digital is a different medium, and in particular color mixing is significantly different there.

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    You also need to keep in mind when brushing color over a B&W image that you can't just do flat colors. An object's color will change in temperature and hue as well as value - forget those two and you'll end up with something that looks a lot like when people used to color B&W photographs - often garish, and not all sensitive to the properties of color and light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tritan View Post
    I knew I was missing something... wow. The color blending mode is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!

    Although... Is this how most people paint digitally? I still feel like it might be "cheating" or maybe that i'm not learning the "right way" of the digital painting workflow
    This technique is called ''underpainting'' in traditionally media. JeffX99 is very right for the rest, there is no such thing as ''cheating'', only different techniques and mediums.

    Careful not to leave your values grey or monochromatic. Here's a quick process:
    http://jdillon82.deviantart.com/gall...set=48#/dyl9oo

    Using multiply is a bit tricky because it alters your values, but colour mode, like someone else mentioned, tends to give a very monotone results.

    Whatever techniques you use in the end, you'll have to be careful not to leave your values in shades of grey, as well as integrate several colours (cooler shadows, warm lights and saturated middle tones, hints of blush and blue in skin tones etc).

    Also, if you use the multiply technique, make sure you leave a lot of whites, these areas will be your ''clean'' areas, the places where your colour is the same as the one you picked (don't know if I'm making sense here?), the less white, the more everything will be tinted of the same hue. It'll give a very monochromatic results and possibly muddy colours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tritan View Post
    Although... Is this how most people paint digitally? I still feel like it might be "cheating" or maybe that i'm not learning the "right way" of the digital painting workflow
    It's not cheating; painting on a neutral underpainting is an old and useful method. However, it is less useful with digital painting: it does not translate into RGB color mixing well, you need real pigment to make most of it.

    And no, by far not all people paint digitally like that, and I'd expect not even the most.

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    Haha no ,as others have stated, you're not cheating at all. You might be happy to know that what you're doing is making an under-painting and great artists have been doing it for years. This method can be used digitally and in traditional media using glazes and then they are touched up with more opaque paints.

    Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underpainting

    If you want to push your under paintings a little further you should try using a brown or green monochromatic color scheme, it'll help your painting pop with certain colors.

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