Been lurking for more than a year now, figured it was time to register and post some... thought I'd start with something constructive and repost Jason's great notes in the old Sijun Color theory thread, and maybe with that as a base, people can discuss it, especially those of you who attended the Amsterdam workshop.
Hopefully a thread like this doesn't exists somewhere on Concpetart.org that I couldn't find...
Jasons original posts can thus be found here:
I've re-edited the main parts, and since most of the links to paintings that Jason provided are dead, I chased around the web and found some new working links.
but first, a few disclaimers:
- Are you ok with this edited repost of your old notes, Jason? If not, please delete this thread with my apologies.
- This is edited down, for the full effect, take a peek at the original Sijun thread, where you can also follow different tangents, and listen to other people who have other great takes on this subject.
- I can't be 100% sure I found the exact paintings Jason were talking about, do let me know if you find a mistake, or have a link to a higher-res version of any of the paintings, and I'll edit it in.
Here we go, Jason Manley Color Theory notes:
Light and thus color has three properties..VALUE (light to dark), TEMPERATURE (warm and cool or you could say bluer vs. oranger) and INTENSITY (brighter more saturated to more dull and less saturated)
Colors have their opposites and colors that are closer to them in the color spectrum...blue is close to green and purple but far from orange...red is close to orange and purple but far from green...yellow is close to ..and far from purple(get my meaning?) these colors that are farthest from each other are called COMPLIMENTARY COLORS.
The definition of complimentary colors is any two colors that are maximum distance away from each other in the color spectrum...and that means that any two colors which have the absolute least in common would be compliments.
Mixing compliments does not make colors darker in my experience...there may be a mixture that seems darker..but it is not..it is simply less intense..less saturated. The value does not change (unless the compliments mixed are of different value in the first place)...just the intensity changes.
Mixing compliments makes an entirely good variety of colors. it is these colors that hold your images together if you use them right...the impressionists used them A LOT..they are called transition grays. They can be orangish..bluish..greenish..reddish..any color you choose. All browns..and grays will seem like a color when it is used in conjunction with other colors.
Basic compliments are below:
red orange/ green blue
warm orange/cool blue
cool yellow/warm violet
SHADOWS are often the opposite temperature of the LIGHT as well as the opposite color. Sunsets are a good example...the sunlight is warm and orangish...while the shadows tend to get bluer...the warmer the light...the cooler the shadows. If you are painting or using 3d lights then you simply paint or choose cooler reflective lights and shadow colors than that of the lights if you are using warm lights.
Light is also often the opposite color as the shadow as well if you set up a green light then the shadows will look more red etc..by adding a red fill or reflect light.
There is always color variation in any one value of light...look for it..you will see it. Highlights are almost never pure white...unless you are making a black and white drawing...just as shadows are never pure black...unless you are in a vacuum or a black hole.
Highlights contain bits of color from the main lightsource in a subtle degree. it is important to put bits of color in your highlight as that shows the viewer (whether they know it or not) what color the light is.
all colors are RELATIVE to those that surround it.
I donít ever use the color tools in Photoshop to dictate the colors of my painting. It is better to understand your colors from the start.
The rules of color theory can be broken easily for different moods and different effects. None are meant to be "this is the only way it is" if ya know what I mean.
Something that helps your colors to glow like light and not just look "whiter" is a thing that I call SAME VALUE COLOR VARIATION. Basically, if the forehead of a character is hit by a yellow light, I will also put subtle pinker yellows, greener yellows, oranger yellows, etc.. in the same area that are exactly the same value as the yellow light. This is something that art history learned from Monet and from the other impressionists (except for muddy Manet). Other artists before them used the same idea but the impressionists had more colors and exaggerated it when using this formula.
The same thinking goes for all value patches of color..light or dark. If there is a patch of value and it seems green...then if you really look you will see other subtle differences in that greenish area of color and value. These differences are often in color only and the same in value.
Take a look...no matter what value you find, you will see subtle color in almost all patches of any given value. If you look at a dark shadow you will see broken pieces of color in it that range in color.
You can exaggerate this as much or as little as you want...just like the impressionists! hehe
The impressionists provide excellent examples of color theory at work. Their works are about light and color and thatís pretty much it...itís not about the subject matter but about the light...beautiful stuff indeed!
Thatís how you get colors to feel like light...even in 3d we use this technique when making texture maps. It is the subtle color variation in the color maps that is present in actual light and on real surfaces that makes computer light sparkle like life.
But this is only a rule and sometimes rules are stretched...pushed...or even broken.
This type of color variation is almost impossible for a regular camera to pick up. That is why photos are poor at helping with color in resource material. but...if ya know all your color theory then you can add color theory to photo color and get your work to the next step.
that is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about...the reason it looks brown but is made up of many colors is because same value color variation mixes optically. it is simply called OPTICAL COLOR MIXING
Seurat(french 19th century impressionist) used his little dot painting to achieve the same thing...take a look:
It doesnít have to be done with just dots though...the color variation can happen on the strokes of color as well.
Take a look at all the subtle colors in each area of value:
If you have a blue light you won't see an orange shadow like the fruit orange...but you will see that the shadow color is warmer...more orange than the light. It is very subtle....but also if your light is neutral in temperature you will get a neutral (neither warm or cool) shadow...its all RELATIVE.
This is a theory that is taken from life and can be pushed around as you the artist see fit. Its only a theory, not a hard and fast rule. You can find exceptions as well.
If you still disagree...take a painting class where you spend hours painting still life and landscape and figure realistically. I had 6 years (22 semesters) total of painting and drawing from life...I didnít see it at first either...but if you relax...look...observe...and see...than you will find the things that I am talking about.
(.. notes continued in next post....)