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View Full Version : Value led painting vs Colour Palette


rebo
06-28-2005, 02:35 PM
I wonder what peoples opinions on the above techniques are. I beleive its a comparision that can only really be made in digital media, where we have complete control over hue changes and ability to work retroactively in layers.

By the term Value Led painting, I mean the process of painting in pure greyscale intially, and then using digital tools to colour the image after those values are layed down. This seems to be particularly used by some 3D texture artists where adjustments are often required at a late stage. On the face of it I can certainly see the advantages; ability to incorporate baked occlusion passes, ability to seperate hue considerations from value , ability to radically change the look of your painting by a few adjustment layers in photoshop, mentally reduces the sometimes overwhelming choice that a complete colour wheel can give you.

However there also seems to be some important disadvantages too, for a traditional artist this way of working must seem artificial and forced, one is not able to experiment with colour wheel contrasts and complements, its not suited at all for work that requires brush like quality, a single sweep of a coarse brush in a certain colour contrast can sometimes mean more than any amount of tinkering with values and hues.

Why am I asking these questions, well instintively I prefer to work with a colour palette and use the various brush techniques in Painter. I have felt that it provides the most creative choice. However recently I've found my self doing more and more texture painting where overt brush characteristics of the final peice is not an option, here ive struggled hard to manage my colour palette and often find myself drifting so far out of saturation value and tone ive had to almost re do the entire thing. At these times im sad to say the value approach has saved me and let me salvage some of my texture work ( by applying seperate luminosity - hue and saturation layers to patch up the texture).

So I guess im asking is, as I want to persevere with using a colour palette when painting realistic textures what can I do to not get so lost and off target colour wise. Maybe I should be more strictly limiting myself to a palette, and only mixing from those colours? Is this sufficient for texturing? Maybe a combination of the techniques is best?

LoTekK
06-28-2005, 04:38 PM
I'm no expert, so feel free to ignore my babbling. :) I've been having an awful time of working directly in color, so I've been trying to use a good mix of the two techniques. I typically start laying down my groundwork in monochrome, whether black and white or a color that I feel suits the mood of the painting. I typically don't get too detailed in my underpainting, just to get the basic groundwork laid out. After that, I start to lay down colors (usually using the Color blending mode, but depends on the situation). Once I've got the basic colors blocked in, I typically go back and start painting purely in colors, using the underpainting as a guide.

Lunatique
06-29-2005, 03:31 AM
I think the important thing is to be observant of not just the color or the value, but the chroma as well. Realistic colors are often much lower in chroma than they initiall appear, but people have a tendency to reach for more saturated colors. The way a color appear is relative to its surrounding. Grey can look like blue if you surround it with warmer colors.

I dont' like to do a value painting first and then add color, because like you said, sometimes a slight color variation with a brushstroke is what makes things interesting. Also, once you visualize the piece in B/W, it will become ingrained, and when you add colors, it will be disconcerting and won't look like what you had in mind (at least that's what happens to me). However, some people can do great works using the value painting method (Steven Stahlberg does that). A good compromise would be to do the values, add the color layer, flatten, and then do another pass of the subtle color variations with decorative brushstrokes.

Personally, I think it's much better to just start with color. Start simple by blocking in the basic color variations of larger shapes, then start working in the smaller details and color variations. Watch closely the chroma of your colors--pull back if things start to look too garish, and saturate more if you need the effect.

BTW, traditional painters painted monochrome underpaintings all the time. Those guys would then glaze color on top of the monochrome painting.

JMcWilliams
06-29-2005, 03:36 AM
Personally, I think it's much better to just start with color. Start simple by blocking in the basic color variations of larger shapes, then start working in the smaller details and color variations. Watch closely the chroma of your colors--pull back if things start to look too garish, and saturate more if you need the effect.

I concur. Personally I need to work with colour straight away. I do know quite a few guys that work in grayscale first though and it works for them. :D

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