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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Thanked 8 Times in 6 Posts

    Colors in a painting that are not what they seem to be?

    I know color is an illusion and is only what it is when surrounded by another color, I’ve found articles about this, but none that explain how to control this phenomena. In this painting that I found online, by Marc Simonetti, it’s a good example of yellowish light with even warmer shadows. What appears as green shadows and local color, is actually ranging from yellow to reddish brown. How does one go about knowing what color to lay down to have this effect? I know neutrals are a powerful thing in a painting, I can only reproduce this effect after numerous and random attempts, I’d like to know how to control it a bit more and how’d I go about planning my painting for this effect. P.S. Is there a particular set of percentage of saturation in specific colors that make them look like another color, no matter the setting? I know from this painting, RGB: 173,170,136 is a yellow that looks like a green? I can’t seem to find a good explanation online on this.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Thanked 128 Times in 101 Posts
    I think fundamental of lighting is a crucial component when you want to study color for realistic painting. Check out ( if you hate yourself ) , schoolism has some nice courses covering the subject.

    A really good way to think about color is through the Dimensions of Color ( cover in ) . And then all of them can be composed to 2 main components of color: temperature and value(lightness ) . So instead of thinking it in RGB , think it in Hue Value Chroma and then boils it down to Value and Temperature

    Your image has a warm light and a cooler shadow, here's your image without value information ( change image mode to Lab color and hide the lightness channel )
    Colors in a painting that are not what they seem to be?

    Technically, yellow is kind of a warm color, but in this context, it's a cooler shadow compare to the color of the objects in the light . This is just my idea( no proof) but i think when it comes to Hue , the warmest is Orange ( H: 15-20 ) and the coolest is Cyan-something ( H: 180 ) . And then you just add saturation to the mix when it comes to temperature ( they also affects the value too ) , if you work using Photoshop HSV sliders

    I think most painters set up a general plan for the color of the painting and just work relationally from there. Like in your painting he would start with a warm , orange tone and then just think in value and temperature . Traidtional painters do this by thinking and mixing color in a imaginary 3D space , but in Photoshop we can get that just by moving slider around.

    I got the color of the skin decently accurate on the first try by thinking in value and temp and move my sliders accordingly on this study. I thought that it needs to be slightly darker and warmer than the cloth but not as warm as the skin in the light
    Colors in a painting that are not what they seem to be?
    People keep telling me : " Why do you keep suggesting courses and books instead of just giving me the solution directly ? "

    Well if i could condense all the necessary informations that take hours of explanation and demonstration into a single post, i would gladly do it

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Thanked 8 Times in 6 Posts
    Hi! Thanks for your time! I like your painting!
    I think I just suck at explaining myself. I mostly study with the kelvin color temperature in mind, to check smooth transitions and shifts between colors, and also look for relations of warm shadows / cold light and cold light / warm shadows, it seems to be enough to de-construct a photo reference accurately.
    What I really don't understand is how can something look like it's green in the painting, when it's not! (it's orange/brown)

    I've seen other artists do this, in a green forest, they'd go for a neutral blue for the tree trunk, and it'd look red, when it was blue!
    As I said, maybe I just have to study this further, because I didn't explain myself well, and look online for sources, huevaluechroma is not working for me for some reason, it's redirecting to some other site.
    I appreciate your input!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    Thanked 1,282 Times in 1,018 Posts
    I suggest you study simultaneous contrast, i.e. how the presence of one colour elicitates the presence of its complement.
    Grinnikend door het leven...

    Sketchbook Blog

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Thanked 522 Times in 435 Posts
    Yea colors are pretty much relative what you have next to it, for example blue can be warm if you have cooler color next to it.
    He uses cooler and less saturated colors to push things further in space, I think you should study from old masters and from life.

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