Getting mad over light, shadows and values
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  1. #1
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    Angry Getting mad over light, shadows and values

    Hey CA, it's late and I release my thoughts.
    Maybe some of you can help me to gain new perceptions or a better understanding.
    When studying anatomy, I'm all fine with it. Because it has some guide lines which never change. Every man, woman or child is build in a same way - no matter if thin, chubby, muscular and so on.
    But with light and shadow it seems different to me! Sure, there are cast shadows you can easily identify.
    But that's it. There are so many possibilities, maybe MILLION ways of how light can bounce on a body.
    And let's not talk about the colours!
    Sometimes I wonder if I think too much about light and colours.
    The human brain is no computer which can calculate lights and shadows like in a videogame.
    But how do pro's do it?!
    I don't know how to find out to shade stuff correctly. Muscles, arms and legs can be shaded like tubes if the light is regular and not strong but thats it...

    I picked this artwork by Mike Azevedo as an example:


    How does he know that the light falls THIS WAY on the Monster on the right side? How does he determines the colours of the reflection? Look at that grey on the back and the white on it's right side.
    IDK how i could every find this out. when i copy photos with human models and learn a bit about values - it's only a minimal success because you all can agree that this monster has very little human shape. and also every light siutaion is different...
    Sorry for the long text but its hard to explain.

    TL;DR: How does an artist chooses the right lights and colours among the incredible amount of possibilities?

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    I see a bit of colour theory here.
    Orange lighting, blue eyes. Green and orange on the middle guy. The ilumination on the first dude have something blue, maybe the helm, so there is orange and blue again.
    Sketch muscles without the skin, understand how they are, and paint them on grayscale, to understand the volume, that might help

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lux_Aeterna View Post
    How does an artist chooses the right lights and colours among the incredible amount of possibilities?
    Reference, if possible.

    Plus lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of practice. Preferably from life, because photos simply don't have the full range of color and value and subtlety that you get in real life. Trust me, if you start painting from life you'll start getting a feel for how things should look, and the more you do it, the more you'll internalize how light and color work.

    Also, light and color do follow certain laws of physics, it doesn't hurt to get at least some passing familiarity with them. If you haven't slogged through them yet, these sites cover more than you probably want to know:
    http://www.huevaluechroma.com/
    http://handprint.com/LS/CVS/color.html

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    this like everything else has rules under which it must comply. do as many studies as you can to learn how light reacts to different surfaces and how shadows act to specific shapes. you will eventually be able to give a pretty good prediction of how a light source would effect your subject matter. just practice like the post above says!

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    In any case, this picture you're showing as an example shows signs that the artist is ad-libbing. That is simplified lighting, not referenced or calculated lighting there: using the overall familiarity with dramatic lighting to "fake" a more or less convincing scheme, quickly.

    If you want to be able to do that, get familiar with real lighting first. It's simpler than it can sound: for practical purposes it depends on the direction of the falling light, plus the influence of the diffused light.

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    Sometimes artists just simply look at their painting and eyeball things. Art is not math, and you do not have to calculate the shadows or highlights or whatever. You just develop a sense of form with a lot of studying and painting, that's it. Learn about core shadow, cast shadow, bounce light, rim light etc., and you'll then create complex lighting situations on autopilot.

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    Thanks much guys. that hinnt with the colour theory was very useful, I never thought of that while drawing.
    Thanks for the links, too, I'm studying them.
    Somedays I use for learning anatomy, I do this with the pencil a lot. Other days I try to learn about values and colours what happenes mostly digital. Can't decide what's more difficult anyways. =p

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    Representational Art has elements similar to math, in that there is a correct way and an incorrect way to do something. In the realm of rendering human figures, there is anatomy and the physics of light about different types of form.

    One way to approach shading is to practice outlining the form shadows and cast shadows. The problem here, is you want to think in three dimensions about a two dimensional surface, and then imagine where the cast shadow or form shadow begins and ends. The cast shadow will require proper knowledge of perspective, which is taken from the mathematics of geometry.

    The next step is to organize the picture in terms of simple value relationships. Shade all of the shadow in one value. You can also work in the light areas similarly by delicately outlining the highlights, with the outline's line value similar to the value surrounding the highlight. You can also outline slightly darker areas that are in the light areas and shade them.

    But, if you can't even shade basic geometric forms, you shouldn't be attempting to shade complex objects such as people. And from the looks of your sketchbook, it seems you need to understand basic forms better before moving on.

    P.S.

    You only suck at math if you don't practice often, just like in representational art. In the beginning, things are too analytical and there is too much questions. Then, after a while, math becomes intuitive, just like the process of drawing representational art; you start to see patterns of calculations in math and likewise in representational art, you start to realize the patterns of form and light. When it comes to representational art, the left hemisphere of your brain is as important as the right hemisphere.

    Last edited by Vay; October 3rd, 2012 at 05:12 PM.
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    Gotta learn to make it before you can fake it.


    (There's my one liner response. Translation: Practice)

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    arenhaus is exactly right - the lighting on all three of those is not even remotely accurate and just faked in for dramatic effect and definition. Which is fine for this kind of thing - quick, loose character sketches...but a far cry from realism. So yeah, this particular artist knows lighting theory, probably from observation and study, well enough to use a formulaic approach to add the punch they want.

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    Not everyone is interested in maths, but everyone's visual system is interested in maths. By that I mean that our seeing relies on our ability to detect the quantitative relationships between colours that act as signatures for illumination gradients, transparency, translucency, etc. Creating vivid effects of light and atmosphere is not to everyone's taste, but if that's your aim then you need to learn how to build these colour relationships into your pictures, which means understanding modern colour theory, combined with plenty of painting from observation, obviously. The good news is that you can make use of the tools already available in Photoshop to do most of the maths for you. The sites recommended by QueenGwenevere can be daunting, but you'll find a summary of some of the most relevant ideas on the ten pages starting here:

    http://www.huevaluechroma.com/101.php



    Last edited by briggsy@ashtons; October 23rd, 2012 at 10:12 PM.
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