Underwater Meadow. How to paint underwater scenes?
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Thread: Underwater Meadow. How to paint underwater scenes?

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    Underwater Meadow. How to paint underwater scenes?

    So I'm doing this acrylic and oil piece based off this meadow in Austria that temporary floods every spring when the snow melts. It's really beautiful and kind of surreal


    I'm trying to capture that. I've been studying the colors etc, but the "underwaterness" is something I'm struggling at producing. I took my reference pics and broke them down digitally into swathes of color to judge my colors against. It mostly seems pretty close in most ways though I made the horizon darker. Thoughts?



    P.S. I just realized something. Is the problem that the picture is too high contrast for underwater? I darkened the horizon in order to make it seem more murky and ominious but perhaps that threw something off.

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    Well, how deep is the water supposed to be? Are we able to see any of the surface? I was thinking that the way the light is shining down could be used to create an underwater effect. I myself can't tell you how to paint that but I think it would be a big help in making all that blue read as water instead of sky, although I don't think you have done a bad job with what you have so far.

    http://www.canstockphoto.com/underwa...s-1884847.html

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    Right. That makes sense. I'm used to digital, so i'm trying to figure out the way to apply something like that. Normally I would just make another layer in PS and do overlay or something. Maybe I should sketch around with this digitally and see if I can figure it out and then reverse engineer it.

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    How re-workable are the paints you are using? I've never used them myself. I think that if you want to work out how to do underwater effects you should try using the media you are wanting to do the finished piece in. That way by the time to get to either fixing up the current one or starting the piece over, you already have most of the details figured out. Perhaps it would help if you converted the reference image to grey scale while you worked out the values and shapes. Then whenever you figured out how to get the effect you want, you just have to use blue instead of black...if that makes sense.

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    They're pretty reworkable. I just have to paint an opaque enough layer over them.

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    The water is going to turn other things bluish as well. Right now they look almost the same as what we'd see in direct sunlight. Colors are affected even in very shallow water.

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    Right now, I wouldn't have had an idea it was underwater if you hadn't said so. I looked at the ref pictures you posted - that's fascinating, I never knew these things existed.

    I think the thing that is most noticeably missing from your image is the waterline. In some of the photos, it looks like a transparent lid. This'll take you a long way towards the punch effect you're looking for.

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    youve done a good job on that one.

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    Having never painted things underwater, my advice is rather limited. However, I did browse through the images in the link you provided, and noticed a thing or two. It would appear that the further away from the surface of the water that an object is, the more it will be affected by the “blue” of the water. This is also determined by the strength and direction of the light. Also, the lighting is greatly diffused once it gets in the water, except in the case of caustics. It’s kind of like a foggy, overcast day with strange holes in the clouds that allow the brilliance of noon sun to reach earth in squiggly patches.
    With that said, I think you should figure out how deep your water is, what time of day it is, and maybe figure out the scale of your tree and goat. And if the image here is any indication, I’d also up the contrast… a lot.

    …and holy crap. Your image is visible in my google search on page 3. Extra points for you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by krysjez View Post
    The water is going to turn other things bluish as well. Right now they look almost the same as what we'd see in direct sunlight. Colors are affected even in very shallow water.
    I'm trying that now. As a mock up, I put a blue filter over it in photoshop and that seems to help a little but it's still suffering a lot of problems.
    Quote Originally Posted by GoldSeven View Post
    Right now, I wouldn't have had an idea it was underwater if you hadn't said so. I looked at the ref pictures you posted - that's fascinating, I never knew these things existed.

    I think the thing that is most noticeably missing from your image is the waterline. In some of the photos, it looks like a transparent lid. This'll take you a long way towards the punch effect you're looking for.
    I actually orginally had that, but once I looked at the pictures more, I realized the lid effect also what makes up the entire horizon. Since it's underwater, and not in a swimming pool, there is no back wall for the "box" for the lid to connect to, so the lid is everything above the horizon line.
    Quote Originally Posted by David_a_ray View Post
    Having never painted things underwater, my advice is rather limited. However, I did browse through the images in the link you provided, and noticed a thing or two. It would appear that the further away from the surface of the water that an object is, the more it will be affected by the “blue” of the water. This is also determined by the strength and direction of the light. Also, the lighting is greatly diffused once it gets in the water, except in the case of caustics. It’s kind of like a foggy, overcast day with strange holes in the clouds that allow the brilliance of noon sun to reach earth in squiggly patches.
    With that said, I think you should figure out how deep your water is, what time of day it is, and maybe figure out the scale of your tree and goat. And if the image here is any indication, I’d also up the contrast… a lot.

    …and holy crap. Your image is visible in my google search on page 3. Extra points for you!
    I think if I add some more contrast for those bits of light coming through that might help. This is complicated.

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    I think I might have figured out what might be part of the issue. I'm using Titanium white, which is an opaque white. If I switch to zinc, maybe I'll have more luck.

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    The sky looks water enough, the grass looks pretty close to the pics in google. But that tree is one of land, and a goat isn't something you're likely to find underwater - why not just paint directly from the reference? Maybe find more images of underwater creatures?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Challie View Post
    The sky looks water enough, the grass looks pretty close to the pics in google. But that tree is one of land, and a goat isn't something you're likely to find underwater - why not just paint directly from the reference? Maybe find more images of underwater creatures?
    I'm not quite sure if you read the background for the piece. It's a meadow the floods every year. Grass, trees and all. The tree is actually based off a tree in the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ-7WD5VdWs

    As for the sheep being underwater... I know that? It's purposely attempting to play on the dreamlike nature of the meadow...so... you didn't really think I put a sheep there because I thought they swam, right?

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    lol, sorry. Still, the tree in that video has a lot of blossoms and more spread out branches, while you can't really see the trunk. I understand it would be hard to paint that in the media you're using, though (it would be for me anyway)

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    Yeah, thats a good point. I've decided to move on. The paper is too rough for what I'm tryign to do, it doesn't work with the subject well, and I need to get some zinc white in order to get the transluency I need. Thanks for the advice everyone!

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    If it makes you feel any better man, I tried to do a coral reef scene, and MAN underwater coloring is hard... you did well, good luck next time!!

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    For real! I think underwater has to be one of the biggest challenges light wise. There's dapples, reflections, atmospheric stuff, and a weird horizon line.

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