Color and Value

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Thread: Color and Value

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    Color and Value

    My issue is quite simple and most likely a very common problem for the complete novice.

    I am finding it quite difficult to distinguish value when looking at objects in color, its obviously alot easier when working with pictures, because of being able to desaturate the image, but when studying life, well its not that easy.

    Are there any sort of exercises we can do to develop this ability to judge value from color?

    Would appreciate some advice on how to approach this issue.

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    Try this exercise: get a photo of a simple object. draw/paint it. then once u done , convert the photo to black and white. Check how close your drawing/painting are to the b/w photo. Do plenty of this and i'm sure u'll improve. Oh as u getting better ,move on to the more complicated stuffs...hope this helps

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    I was gunna say yellows are kinda lighter and blues are kinda darker but then I did this test in Photoshop and my head asploded.

    Who would have thought that yellow would be so dark grey? Now I want an answer to this question too XD

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    You just de-saturated it, Use gray scale conversion for a better outcome.

    This is not directed at the people in this thread but it bears repeating since it illuminates a problem I see all the time. Reliance on technology for answers. Cameras make lousy substitutes for human eyes and computers are lousy substitutes for human brains. It seems like they are better but that is only ignorance. The tech most people have access to are worse so they make really poor learning tools.

    If you want to learn to draw and paint do it traditionally, it takes longer and is harder because you are actually gaining a skill instead of pretending to have ability that you don't have with software and hardware helping you

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    Last edited by dpaint; July 26th, 2012 at 10:48 AM.
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    Get this.
    Read the book.
    Assemble the charts.
    Do the exercises.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You just de-saturated it, Use gray scale conversion for a better outcome.

    This is not directed at the people in this thread but it bears repeating since it illuminates a problem I see all the time. Reliance on technology for answers. Cameras make lousy substitutes for human eyes and computers are lousy substitutes for human brains. It seems like they are better but that is only ignorance. The tech most people have access to are worse so they make really poor learning tools.

    If you want to learn to draw and paint do it traditionally, it takes longer and is harder because you are actually gaining a skill instead of pretending to have ability that you don't have with software and hardware helping you
    God dammit it, i knew it didn't look right... lol

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    1. Buy, or better still make a greyscale of nine perfectly evenly spaced and numbered steps (or seven or eleven steps - the odd number is important so that you have a middle grey).

    2. Practice analyzing scenes in terms of those values. Decide what component of the scene needs to be near-white and what needs to be near-black, and then what component would you want to make a middle or number 5 grey, and then a number 7 grey, so on. Squint!

    3. Mix up pools of paint of each of the greys (or a greyscale palette if you work digitally) and then test and if necessary correct your decisions by making a thumbnail sketch.

    4. Repeat until you can confidently see scenes in terms of these value steps.

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    Dpaint: I have to agree with you about the technology getting in the way, ive been putting the tablet aside and just getting back to the basics with the pen and paper, the beauty of using the pen and paper is that I can go just about anywhere with them.

    This is actually one of the reasons why I asked the question about perceiving value in colors, because in real life, with eyes that can register color, we cannot put a b&w filter over the top of everything to check value, one is forced to develop the capacity to perceive the value, unfortunately at this stage im not there yet, because the colors throw off my sense of seeing value for the most part, unless its really bright or really dark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopSecret View Post
    This is actually one of the reasons why I asked the question about perceiving value in colors, because in real life, with eyes that can register color, we cannot put a b&w filter over the top of everything to check value, one is forced to develop the capacity to perceive the value, unfortunately at this stage im not there yet, because the colors throw off my sense of seeing value for the most part, unless its really bright or really dark.
    Actually you can. There are a number of products that will reduce a scene to relative values...usually just amberlith mounted in a matte frame. Here's one: ValueComp from Artwork Essentials.

    Squinting helps to see value and diminish detail.

    Another trick is to "relax" your eyes from intense focus and let them sort of freely bounce around a scene - eventually your eyes will start hitting on the darkest darks in the view.

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    I would never never never trust a colored filter to give me accurate values. If that did work, 3D movies wouldn't.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    I would never never never trust a colored filter to give me accurate values. If that did work, 3D movies wouldn't.
    while i agree on the first statement, thats exactly the reason 3d movies actually do work. without the filters it would be nothing than a dizzying mess of visual impressions.

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    I wouldn't either...just saying they're out there. They do however reduce the scene to relative values.

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    As Jeff just stated, I also find that it helps to squint and unfocus your eyes when perceiving values from life. Unfocus isn't an actual word but blur sounds a little too extreme, I suppose "blur slightly" haha

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    Quote Originally Posted by sone_one View Post
    while i agree on the first statement, thats exactly the reason 3d movies actually do work. without the filters it would be nothing than a dizzying mess of visual impressions.
    My point is that a colored filter will raise the values of colors similar in hue, and lower the values of colors opposite in hue. That's how anaglyph 3D works.


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    Quote Originally Posted by PyramidVega View Post
    As Jeff just stated, I also find that it helps to squint and unfocus your eyes when perceiving values from life. Unfocus isn't an actual word but blur sounds a little too extreme, I suppose "blur slightly" haha
    I just take off my glasses and get instant extreme blur. Great way to simplify a scene.

    Now if only I could actually see what I'm doing without my glasses...

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    Jeff, thank you for bringing up the squinting technique, so simple yet effective.. and free!

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