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Thread: Why paint in gray scale before color?

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    Why paint in gray scale before color?

    Hey Guys, so i have a question about painting color in Photoshop.

    I often see people paint somthing in gray scale, then paint on top of that in color.

    I guess Its useful to got the right values before going into color. But isn't it time consuming? Why not go straight into color?

    Can anyone elucidate the benefits of painting in gray scale before color? besides the one i just mentioned.
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    Some people do and some don't. I don't see the point either unless you have problems painting in colour.
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    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=64674

    While this covers traditional painting ...might give you a history. Not everyone uses grey either when doing monochrome painting.
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    There are two typical reasons. One, certain techniques rely on having a monochrome underpainting under a colored glaze. Two, making a monochrome sketch often helps with visualizing the values without chroma getting in the way. In the first case, you paint over the grizaille, in the second, you just use it as a reference study.
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    I also agree with Black Spot that it totally depends, as some use it and some don't. However, adding color to a grayscale image is a neat little effect you see all over the place.
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    Great question.

    Working in achromatic neutrals is for preparatory purposes.

    From your perspective, the redundancy that you think of as wasting time actually saves time for those invested in using the process.

    Separating the channels of color (Lightness from Hue and Chroma for surfaces) allows for a sort of binary decision process.
    Lightness+
    Lightness-
    A polychromatic process (full color) would require much more complex senary decision making process.
    Lightness +
    Lightness -
    Chroma +
    Chroma -
    Hueº +
    Hueº -
    The problem with a polychromatic process is that the variable dimensions have tripled and this leads to a higher chance of getting things wrong. It does not mean someone with a strong framework of color cannot walk the line, it just means it is more difficult.

    When designing a process reducing complexity often makes the entire system less dependent on constraints. This means that things can get done quicker and separately. Increasing redundancy in a system may actually be a benefit because it decreases the chance of error or failure. Its about design process. You should know why you do things and for what purpose.
    Last edited by kinjark; June 22nd, 2012 at 08:17 AM.
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    If you are working in gray scale first it usually means you are working from construction not from life. Your image is made from photos and other reference and pieced together. In this way it saves you time because you can work right on the preparatory work. When working from observation and life this isn't practical; especially outdoors and if you did it would just create more work for yourself not less.
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    I'm working on a grayscale because it saves a lot of time later when building shadows, etc. When working on grayscale you don't pay attention later to the light/shadow proportion in your work. And I never work from photos or references because it makes your work lifeless
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viovista View Post
    And I never work from photos or references because it makes your work lifeless
    That absolutely depends on the artist.

    You won't be able to always tell if the person used reference because they're that good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viovista View Post
    I'm working on a grayscale because it saves a lot of time later when building shadows, etc. When working on grayscale you don't pay attention later to the light/shadow proportion in your work. And I never work from photos or references because it makes your work lifeless
    No its not faster working from life. You paint the painting twice how could that ever be faster? I paint from life all the time, more than a hundred paintings a year, there is nothing faster than painting directly in color. There is nothing to build, you see a color you take into account all its aspects and you put it down and leave it. Done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viovista View Post
    And I never work from photos or references because it makes your work lifeless
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viovista View Post
    I'm working on a grayscale because it saves a lot of time later when building shadows, etc. When working on grayscale you don't pay attention later to the light/shadow proportion in your work. And I never work from photos or references because it makes your work lifeless
    Really should know your audience. Both working with grayscale and working directly work if the person doing either or both know what they are doing. Painting plein air with grayscale would just be silly but there are plenty of paintings I have done where I saved a lot of time and pain by doing grayscale first.

    The same would hold true for digital painting. There was an interesting post by Serge Bierault on Muddy Colors today. He usually works directly with color but did a grayscale to try it and actually saved time but didn't like the piece as much. I liked the moodiness he created. Both work or don't depending upon the artist.

    As far as reference goes, better do a little homework.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    No its not faster working from life. You paint the painting twice how could that ever be faster?
    Everyone has their own method. Something that slows you down or is unnecessary for you, might be a necessary thing for him that lets him work faster.
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