How to get skin tone right using Layer Modes?
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    How to get skin tone right using Layer Modes?

    Hi guys.

    I can't for the life of me get the skin color right when using a grayscale underpainting with overlay or color on top of it. The character ends up looking like a freaking oompa-loompa.

    How do you guys do it?

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    You can't let the overlay layer do all the work for you. You're supposed to fix it by painting in normal mode.
    there's a tutorial:
    http://www.androidblues.com/Jealousy...lousystep.html

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    I use a mix of overlay and colour modes. Adjusting the opacity, and using a few layers rather than one, along with picking colours carefully is key. Also, if the values beneath are wrong, the colours will look off as well. Lastly, paint on top with a normal layer to fix any issues that may still be there.

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    I'm 99% sure that your problem is not using certain layer modes to add color to your piece. Your problem is that you don't know what colors you're trying to get to.

    More painting from life. It'll help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Sonea View Post
    I use a mix of overlay and colour modes. Adjusting the opacity, and using a few layers rather than one, along with picking colours carefully is key. Also, if the values beneath are wrong, the colours will look off as well. Lastly, paint on top with a normal layer to fix any issues that may still be there.
    I do the same, but just to get a base for doing it for hand. If you do it carefully, pay attention to cold and warm areas of the skin etc you can get a decent base pretty fast with this method. But you still need to fix it for hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voodoo_Mama View Post
    You can't let the overlay layer do all the work for you. You're supposed to fix it by painting in normal mode.
    there's a tutorial:
    http://www.androidblues.com/Jealousy...lousystep.html
    I've never heard of this guys art. This is pretty amazing! His sense of form is unreal (or hyper-real, rather! )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    I'm 99% sure that your problem is not using certain layer modes to add color to your piece. Your problem is that you don't know what colors you're trying to get to. More painting from life. It'll help.
    THIS.

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    Why teach yourself to have to do something twice? Just learn to paint in color. Its not that hard to learn and its much faster than doing all this half assed gray scale stuff first. It just shows you don't really understand painting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob Kobryn View Post
    I've never heard of this guys art. This is pretty amazing! His sense of form is unreal (or hyper-real, rather! )
    yes! his stuff is really good! I think he's only in CGTalk forums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Why teach yourself to have to do something twice? Just learn to paint in color. Its not that hard to learn and its much faster than doing all this half assed gray scale stuff first. It just shows you don't really understand painting.
    Because it ends up being faster to create a lot of options in gray scale and then adding color to the one picked by the client.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cl0aked View Post
    Because it ends up being faster to create a lot of options in gray scale and then adding color to the one picked by the client.
    No it doesn't because if you knew how to paint you would just do the versions in color. Everything goes much faster. Then you don't have to explain why your too lame to do color comps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Why teach yourself to have to do something twice? Just learn to paint in color. Its not that hard to learn and its much faster than doing all this half assed gray scale stuff first. It just shows you don't really understand painting.
    Are you implying that doing a grisaille under-painting and glazing color over it is half assed, or are you just limiting that view to digital painting? Before alla prima became popular, plenty of painters used such a method. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses, so I don't understand how you can come to a definitive conclusion on which is superior. I think it's important to know how to do both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    No it doesn't because if you knew how to paint you would just do the versions in color. Everything goes much faster. Then you don't have to explain why your too lame to do color comps.
    It's also easier to change the color later, you just have to mess with one layer. Also, guys like Jason Chan and Wes Burt do lots of concepts in gray scale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek the Usurper View Post
    Are you implying that doing a grisaille under-painting and glazing color over it is half assed, or are you just limiting that view to digital painting? Before alla prima became popular, plenty of painters used such a method. Both methods have strengths and weaknesses, so I don't understand how you can come to a definitive conclusion on which is superior. I think it's important to know how to do both.
    Alla prima is painting in one sitting, it has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. I'm talking about learning to paint in color. This is just stupidity. Learn to paint in color, you don't need twenty layers to paint with. you don't need to sneak up on it. Work out your thumbnails in black and white and then move to color comps. Its digital for chrissakes, its not like you'll have to wipe it off and do it over. Or actually mix and apply paint.

    This is why a lot of digital art is crap. It lacks an idea, every part of the process is up in the air. There are no decisions before you paint and that lack of committment comes through in every tentative mark you make. Most of the people using this process don't really know anything about painting and the tool has more creativity then they do.

    It's also easier to change the color later, you just have to mess with one layer. Also, guys like Jason Chan and Wes Burt do lots of concepts in gray scale.
    Its only easier if you don't know what your doing. If I paint it from the start in color I save more time. It means I've made a decision. The image is whole and all the colors go together. You can't go and change a color in something without affecting everything else. Your argument shows your ignorance. Colors don't exist in isolation, they affect everythig around them.
    Coloring something in grayscale looks like crap, everything is too monochromatic and saturation and hue changes are diminished or ignored completely. Like colorizing a black and white movie, it sounds good in theory but in practice most people make a muddy mess of it.

    There is a big difference between doing something in black and white because the client wants it that way and always painting in black and white because you can't paint in color.
    Who cares if those guys paint in grayscale they don't do it because they can't paint in color, its a specious argument.
    I can name names too, Syd Mead, Craig Mullins and Iain McCaig paint directly in color. If you want to have a successful career in art you have to learn your craft and quit making excuses for ignorance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Alla prima is painting in one sitting, it has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. I'm talking about learning to paint in color. This is just stupidity. Learn to paint in color, you don't need twenty layers to paint with. you don't need to sneak up on it. Work out your thumbnails in black and white and then move to color comps. Its digital for chrissakes, its not like you'll have to wipe it off and do it over. Or actually mix and apply paint.

    This is why a lot of digital art is crap. It lacks an idea, every part of the process is up in the air. There are no decisions before you paint and that lack of committment comes through in every tentative mark you make. Most of the people using this process don't really know anything about painting and the tool has more creativity then they do.



    Its only easier if you don't know what your doing. If I paint it from the start in color I save more time. It means I've made a decision. The image is whole and all the colors go together. You can't go and change a color in something without affecting everything else. Your argument shows your ignorance. Colors don't exist in isolation, they affect everythig around them.
    Coloring something in grayscale looks like crap, everything is too monochromatic and saturation and hue changes are diminished or ignored completely. Like colorizing a black and white movie, it sounds good in theory but in practice most people make a muddy mess of it.

    There is a big difference between doing something in black and white because the client wants it that way and always painting in black and white because you can't paint in color.
    Who cares if those guys paint in grayscale they don't do it because they can't paint in color, its a specious argument.
    I can name names too, Syd Mead, Craig Mullins and Iain McCaig paint directly in color. If you want to have a successful career in art you have to learn your craft and quit making excuses for ignorance.
    I was specifically referring to oil painting. I recognize the difference between alla prima and painting in color, and I was trying to say that painting directly in color was used more as alla prima painting became more popular.

    It's a legitimate technique to do a grey scale painting and then glaze color over it. I don't understand why you are so hostile against it, other than it being a technique you don't use personally. I haven't attempted it yet myself, but I've seen some of my teachers get good and unique results with it in oil painting, none of which look monochromatic.

    It also seems pretty useful in photoshop to be able to separate your value from your color in layers to make specific edits to them without being destructive to either. A lot of what you're saying seems useful for speedy concept art I will agree, but I don't understand the harm in taking your time and getting an extremely tight under-painting for illustration or fine art.

    Up until now any photoshop painting I've done has been on 1 or 2 layers working in direct color without any layer blending modes. I do it that way because that's closest to how I learned to paint in oil. I intend to start practicing this grisaille technique in both oil and photoshop because it cannot hurt me to learn as many techniques as possible.

    I think painters should learn both methods and pick the one that achieves the best results for them personally. Perhaps you too should try using it for a while before attacking it so vehemently?

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    I second Derek's claim, I don't really understand why are you so hostile about it. It's not a matter of not knowing how to paint, it's just that I WANT TO learn gray scale + color later. You said so yourself - there are special moments you can make use of it - then why not learn it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek the Usurper View Post
    I was specifically referring to oil painting. I recognize the difference between alla prima and painting in color, and I was trying to say that painting directly in color was used more as alla prima painting became more popular.
    no, this is not connected


    It's a legitimate technique to do a grey scale painting and then glaze color over it. I don't understand why you are so hostile against it, other than it being a technique you don't use personally. I haven't attempted it yet myself, but I've seen some of my teachers get good and unique results with it in oil painting, none of which look monochromatic.
    Because in digital you aren’t glazing, this should be obvious. Painting a grisaille is fine if that’s what you want; Rockwell used it to great effect. Don't confuse it with what the OP is asking.

    It also seems pretty useful in photoshop to be able to separate your value from your color in layers to make specific edits to them without being destructive to either. A lot of what you're saying seems useful for speedy concept art I will agree, but I don't understand the harm in taking your time and getting an extremely tight under-painting for illustration or fine art.
    See, this idea that if you make an image in all these fractured layers you can change little pieces of it without affecting the whole is BS. It only works after you can paint well.

    Its a terrible way to work when you are learning.
    The people who push for this are in companies that want to slice everything into little pieces so you can have people with little or no talent work and pay them nothing. One can only draw in line, one can only shade, one can only color and on and on. You’re cutting your own throat for a chance at a career and begging like a puppy to have it done.

    Up until now any photoshop painting I've done has been on 1 or 2 layers working in direct color without any layer blending modes. I do it that way because that's closest to how I learned to paint in oil. I intend to start practicing this grisaille technique in both oil and photoshop because it cannot hurt me to learn as many techniques as possible.

    I think painters should learn both methods and pick the one that achieves the best results for them personally. Perhaps you too should try using it for a while before attacking it so vehemently?
    Traditional glazing is a technique for painting; using layer filters in photoshop is a workaround for inability.
    You don't even work as an artist but yet you are giving advice about things you can't even do yet.

    I do it when I have to work with people who can't paint, it's a big waste of time but it allows people without any painting skills to mess with stuff by changing filter settings on every layer hoping to make it 'better' and if they screw it up they haven't really hurt anything.
    I'm giving advice to help people get to a professional level, if you want to ignore it go ahead.

    Last edited by dpaint; July 31st, 2011 at 11:47 AM.
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    The problem with a multiply layer is that you end up with muddy darks, you need to be very careful and use other modes, or just use the multiply as a start and then paint on top opaquely to fix the weirdness. I don't think it's possible to take a piece from start to finish with all the colors or a multiply layer (or an overlay layer for that matter) At some point, you need to fix things up. That might be with an opaque layer, with some adjustment layers, whatever floats your boat.

    This piece what done like that, but I usually paint more opaquely.

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    The problem I see when people use layer modes, is they completely forget saturation and hue changes (especially present in skin tones). It's not just values guys. You want to make sure you know how much of hue is also present. It's definitely not just a matter of "well I'll just use this peachish color and I got skin tone!" over a greyscale image.

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    Maybe because you're doing it in shades of black and white and it's dulling your colors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cl0aked View Post
    I second Derek's claim, I don't really understand why are you so hostile about it. It's not a matter of not knowing how to paint, it's just that I WANT TO learn gray scale + color later. You said so yourself - there are special moments you can make use of it - then why not learn it?
    Brecause your putting the cart before the horse and not learning to paint in one layer, taking into account the complete aspects of color will retard your ability to paint to any level of success. I looked at your sketch book you need to stick to basics and get them down first before you start learning work arounds. It won't help you get better in any kind of useful way.

    At least Derek is learning to paint and sculpt traditionally which will help him in the long term.

    I'm done talking about it though, I really don't care what you do, if you want to waste your time, knock yourself out. Get your advice from all the wannabe's that can't paint to a professional level and don't have careers.

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    Starting with grayscale is a perfectly fine way to create a picture if you so choose.

    But it's a lousy way to learn color.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    Starting with grayscale is a perfectly fine way to create a picture if you so choose. But it's a lousy way to learn color.
    It's a good way to learn value, though, which is a prerequisite to color.

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    Some strong feeling expressed about this!

    For most professional work I go straight to color since it's pretty clear what the mood is, the color scheme. Personal stuff, I start with grayscale - leaves me free to play around.

    Advice - just use a single layer as a layer mode. I use a Color mode layer, big solid shapes to block base tint. It'll look like a crappy colored B&W at this point. NOW add Normal mode layers on top and paint, adding depth to your highlight/mids and especially shadows. If you do this right, you'll end up painting over most of your B&W value pass - and avoiding that monochrome look that has been mentioned.

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    I'll try to explain part of the problem.

    A lot of people fail doing greyscale to color is not just the layer mode but not remembering saturation.

    Look at the triangle of Painter's Color Wheel. People will chose a color not along the edge of the triangle where it goes from (white) least, to highest point of saturation - but will think picking a color in the middle area is ok.

    The problem is, doing that (where you pick in the middle because you think the color looks right) you're also introducing more value into the painting too.

    Even then, you also have to remember each hue already has its own value that we perceive too.

    Hue Value Chroma: http://www.huevaluechroma.com/093.php



    Then you have grey which is relative too. D:

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    This might help to illustrate the problem, which several others have already touched on.

    The local colour of human skin is a low-chroma red-orange on average, but varies from redder and higher chroma where coloured by more capillaries to yellower and higher chroma where coloured by more pigmentation, and lower chroma where underlain by dark blood vessels. So at every value level you get a sort of triangular range of colours, except of course in the highlights which are normally low in chroma (being light-source coloured).

    If you just apply a flat multiply layer over a greyscale, all you get is an simple progression from low chroma darks to higher chroma lights. What's worse, because of the way our our visual system is wired up, what we tend to perceive are the grey colours under the multiply layer.

    So to avoid ending up with a monochrome sculpture instead of a human figure, however you paint, the important thing is that you arrive at these variations in hue and chroma at every level of illumination.

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    Pretty much what Herr Gentleman of Colour said. I know it's in his sig, but here's a link to his very informative website about color.

    As for my input, I've found that learning to paint with watercolor in glazes is excellent practice for using and understanding layers. Because you have to account for how each glaze of color will interact with the last and how the value darkens with each glaze, it helps understand how you can't just directly slap transparent color over a grayscale image and expect perfection.

    I wouldn't necessarily suggest taking up watercolor as a serious medium, but picking up some paints and paper to do color charts and value scales via glazing would likely help. But if you're not so inclined, you can also try that out digitally.

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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