Skin tones

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Thread: Skin tones

  1. #1
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    Skin tones

    Whilst painting this week's chow, I realised I have no idea about colours. I can do them when I work on a painting from a photo, but without a photo, I cant get past greyscale, plus I find it hard to know what colours will look like when I use overlay/multiply etc.
    So I've started a personal campaign to make myself better at colouring with a minimum number of brushes and flashy overlays etc.
    First: Skin.
    I saw something similar on the internet and so I'm doing the same pose (that way I only have to worry about the light/shade/colour etc).
    The hand positions were really hard, I was gonna spend ages working on them, but that's not the point of this exercise.
    Ta in advance guys.
    (I used PS CS5)

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/att...1&d=1332950802

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  3. #2
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    The black background robs you of two thirds of the usefulness of such an exercise.

    Skin tone, like any other color, does not exist in a vacuum. It only works as seen in a particular environment. The color of skin in late sunset light and color of skin in fluorescent light and color of skin under black light are completely and utterly different. Cut a figure perfectly lit by the sunset out of its environment and stick it in an office with tube lights, and it will look completely fake.

    Since you haven't given any thought to the environment - the background - there is no way to know how well your skin tone works.

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    I find it hard to believe you didn't use a photo reference for this study. You should post your reference if you are looking for a crit on it. Otherwise it's just a study and doesn't really need to be critiqued. Try applying your studies to a relevant piece and then offer it up for crits.

    What you call flashy overlays such as multiply, overlay, and adjustment layers are tools used to make corrections to colors and tones. Since there is nothing wrong with the skin tones or colors in this study as you most likely used the color picker there is no need to critique it, especially since it lacks context of environment such as arenhaus mentioned.

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    Hi matey
    I understand your problem and happily have a solution and it will cost you less than £15:00 from amazon:-

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Color-Light-...2967984&sr=1-1

    Get your wallet out and buy James Gurneys "color & Light" its brilliant and a resource you simply cant do without mate, all your answers are in there with examples.
    It was recommended to me by "jeffx99" first and he was right it was exactly what I needed I honestly cant recommend it enough, a life saver in paperback.

    all the best with your work mate

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=209918 = my Sketchbook
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blankstate View Post
    I find it hard to believe you didn't use a photo reference for this study. You should post your reference if you are looking for a crit on it. Otherwise it's just a study and doesn't really need to be critiqued. Try applying your studies to a relevant piece and then offer it up for crits.

    What you call flashy overlays such as multiply, overlay, and adjustment layers are tools used to make corrections to colors and tones. Since there is nothing wrong with the skin tones or colors in this study as you most likely used the color picker there is no need to critique it, especially since it lacks context of environment such as arenhaus mentioned.
    I didn't have a single photo ref, I had my bank of reference photos (I have hundreds at this point) which I spent a long time looking at and picking colours out from images with similar light so I could get an idea of the colour, plus I already had the pose from a similar study I found, so I didn't have to worry too much about the anatomy.

    There is no background because the background would have taken time to do and I would've gotten carried away and not concentrated on the colour (which was why I did this in the first place), btw, I was thinking indoors and warm tones.

    maybe if I do a few different images with different tones: artificial light, cold tones etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightship69 View Post
    Hi matey
    I understand your problem and happily have a solution and it will cost you less than £15:00 from amazon:-

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Color-Light-...2967984&sr=1-1

    Get your wallet out and buy James Gurneys "color & Light" its brilliant and a resource you simply cant do without mate, all your answers are in there with examples.
    It was recommended to me by "jeffx99" first and he was right it was exactly what I needed I honestly cant recommend it enough, a life saver in paperback.

    all the best with your work mate
    I think I saw a copy of that in my school library (its been recommended before), I'll take a look over lunch tomorrow to see if I want to buy it, but atm I feel like there's only so much you can learn from a book (I've been doing a fair amount of arty swotting recently) and I think what I really need to do is get some practice in and get some stuff done, to stop reading and start getting familiar with colour through work. although if this book has a kind of "homework" section where it gives me a few assignments with different environments in mind, then it just might be what I need.

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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    The black background robs you of two thirds of the usefulness of such an exercise.

    Skin tone, like any other color, does not exist in a vacuum. It only works as seen in a particular environment. The color of skin in late sunset light and color of skin in fluorescent light and color of skin under black light are completely and utterly different. Cut a figure perfectly lit by the sunset out of its environment and stick it in an office with tube lights, and it will look completely fake.

    Since you haven't given any thought to the environment - the background - there is no way to know how well your skin tone works.
    To further explain myself and elaborate on what's already been said: surely having a background is the same as having a light source (/light sources) and a colour palette in mind (cold, warm, harsh, soft). I know I'll get carried away if I get to draw trees and stuff (environments are one of the very long lists of things I need to work on in the near future)

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    You're not getting what Arenhaus is saying, colours are only local and self contained in a theoretical sense.

    In terms of real world behaviour, they reflect into and modify each other constantly , also how we perceive a colour is massively affected by the other colours around it.
    That's why you'd need some sort of environment* or context for us to say anything useful about the skintones..


    *by environment, I don't mean a steampunk city in three point perspective, I mean "plain white room with warm sunlight" or whatever..

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  13. #9
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    What has really helped me understand how light interacts with objects (light is responsible for color, after all) is doing life drawings using different colored light bulbs or filters. Perhaps you could tackle it that way? Along with what others have said, a black background is probably not a good base to draw off of, because when do you ever see a lit body against a *truly* black background? Light doesn't work like that in real life. Another example would be if you put a piece of small piece of green paper on a large red piece of paper, the way your eye perceives the green paper will be different if you were seeing the green paper against blue, or black. Color is relative, which is why we think your background is important to consider, even in the slightest.

    Also, nice observation of the shoulder/back area. That part of it is what works to me the most.

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  14. #10
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    Okay, Barefoot

    Basically depending on the light source the skin tones will look different.

    Skin colors come from pigment, so they don't change. So if your model looks a little more yellow or blue, then your light source is altering your perception of the skin tones. Just the same way that some colors change under a black light - the light source is changing, so the color only LOOKS like it is changing.

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
    George Bridgman
    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis
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  15. #11
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    Realistic color rendering is kind of an illusion. Things aren't always just different shade of the same tone (I.e. skin isn't just varying from dark brown to light orange)
    Others already mentioned how surroundings affect the tone. Since you mentioned this is an excercise and you don't want to spend too much time on the bg, try go with a different underpaint (you may need to start over though):
    I usually pick a cool color for underpaint, since flesh is warm color, this gives a good contrast. For fair skins I suggest greyish green or blue. For dark skins, try bluish purple.
    After you pick a good color for underpaint, proceed with the rest like how you normally do.

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  16. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barefoot View Post
    There is no background because the background would have taken time to do and I would've gotten carried away and not concentrated on the colour (which was why I did this in the first place), btw, I was thinking indoors and warm tones.
    Color is relative. You can have the exact same "RGB" color look cool or warm, light or dark, depending on what colors are next to it.

    So you cannot really concentrate on color but ignore the color environment. A few color blobs in a background, to establish the referent for the figure, would not be wasted time. If you were afraid to get carried away, you could have always allotted yourself 15 minutes to establish the background and set the alarm clock.

    maybe if I do a few different images with different tones: artificial light, cold tones etc.
    That's a supremely good idea. But use colored backgrounds to establish the environment, this time.

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