One day….I will conquer the grayscale to color method.
Color theory masterpost! click on the pics for HQ
When you guys ask, I deliver.
I think especially in the case of digital art, there are ways to correct the whole “whitewashing because of lighting/filters” thing. Oftentimes it’s as easy as setting a lightblue layer to act as a universal shadow, for dark images. Kind of like laying a wash, with traditional art. It’s all about foundation.
Color theory is important because certain colors act and look differently on different backgrounds. It’s up to us to acknowledge this sometimes and accommodate for any potential “loss of skintone” against the backdrops we implement.
Did this small ass tutorial for a friend of mine who was struggling with her color making decisions.
Thought this would also be useful for the general artist. Short version: Instead of just going darker with your color selections, change the hue of the color as well!
I’m so glad you asked me this because I love talking about art. I love talking in general ha ha
First of all, what’s the color palette/mood going to consist of in a painting/colored picture? Is it night time, is it daylight, is it supposed to be melancholy/happy? Low/high intensity? These are all things to decide before picking colors for anything.
For the purposes of this little thing, let’s assume it’s just regular medium indoor lighting, no specific mood in mind.
I eyedropped this from a photo of myself I had up in PS earlier. Generally, for a base color for skin, I go with what works with the background, with a specific color range in mind. I’m Caucasian and very pale, so I’m going for light skin. To illustrate:
looks different from this, even though they’re the same color.
When working with something like skin, you have to remember your skin is made up of millions of colors and is slightly reflective. Green, blue, purple, red, orange. Are you going to add all of those colors in? Well, no. It’s the same as not drawing every strand of hair. Skin is also darkened by blood in some places, cooler in some areas. There’s a lot of colors going on in different parts.
Coloring something doesn’t mean taking the base and just lightening and darkening it. Subtle changes in hue, saturation etc added together can create a sophisticated illusion of depth.
Where do we even start?
Let’s start with some shadows. I take our “base color” and move it around a bit and get a dusty sort of darker shade of the peach.
I lower the opacity of my brush and drop some colors in there.
Look, we just made two new colors to blend with! You can pick them up and keep them (by making a little dot of them off to the side), or start blending more by picking them up, laying them down and picking up the color that creates.
Just by picking up the colors and their neighbors, we’ve blended!
I’m not always a fan of the dot palettes. They’re helpful, but don’t rely on them.
Let’s go back to the color wheel and pick up something else.
Throw some saturation on there!
And highlights! (a little off-white was added in the second, if you can’t see the swatch.)
The trick for me is to look closely and vary your colors from the color wheel as much as you pick them up from the picture itself. For anything, even skin. Clothing, trees, animals. Very slight changes in color and saturation can make the difference between a flat painting and one with depth.
For further reading, try this tutorial and its color section. It taught me so much and helped me break out of bad habits!
Also remember: there is no shame in reference photos, ever. Use whatever you can get to make the best picture possible.
;w; i’ve been wanting to do a series of tutorials for a long time, and this is a quick method of coloring that i get a lot of questions about on livestream. so i thought i’d make a tutorial for it! i hope it’s understandable uwu;
Was talking to a friend about this the other day and thought I should just share this tip with everyone. Using layer blending modes is a great way to shade quickly in Photoshop and almost everyone will tell you that Multiply is basically the go-to for adding shadows, but about a year ago I started using Color Burn layers to lay down shadows and I am much happier with the results.
Multiply layers, even when you use a fairly saturated color like I did here, will take the vibrancy out of the colors underneath it. Color Burn will keep your mid-tones really saturated so it looks great on colorful subjects like birds and so on. Also Color Burn responds to both Opacity and Fill % so you have a little more control over the intensity of the effect.
I love using Color Burn to do a sort of “underpainting” which I then paint on top of with a Normal layer to get everything how I want it, since leaving the Color Burn shading as it is can be a little too intense. I really recommend trying this! Hope this helps you guys~
To add: If the lighting is flureoscent, or cool toned in general, you should make your shadows warmer. Basically, the opposite as what has been directed here :) It just adds more life to the entity your painting than just shading with black or grey.
Crappy color/shading tutorial/stock thing for my friend Izu.
Trying to get her away from more muddy hues to sharp contrast and varied schemes.
Anonymous asked you: how do you get the color logic? it confuses me a lot. thanks
Color logic? As in color theory, or just grasping what colors look good together?
Honestly it’s a tricky thing, color. I hate it so much, but when it’s right it’s so right, which makes the struggle worth it. I also don’t see color the way most people do, so I know what I see when I paint probably isn’t what everyone else sees, but it’s this issue with hues and saturation, bla bla bla, very boring stuff. Even so, I can emulate what I see and like, and considering what appeals to me is generally the same sort of stuff that appeals to other people, I feel like the differences in sight don’t really matter all that much.
Which in the end is the key in my opinion. Emulate what you like.
Now, that’s not to say all sources are good sources. I mean, the kind of blown out, lens-flare, dodge and burn tool heavy art that I thought was amazing as a kid is less amazing to me these days. Look at things like magazine adds, national geographic photos, high quality films and the art of the old masters. There’s a beautiful link between them all when it comes to color, even when it’s used in different ways for each.
There are a few simple tips that can help when it comes to color, but these are tips, not crutches, and it’s important to remember that my way isn’t the only way. Better to use it as a step in your own studies and thoughts and expand on it, or slap it down as nonsense as you see fit over time.
Warm to cool is a beautiful contrast when it comes to color. A purpleish-red skin base looks luminous when a cool, pale blue is carefully brushed on top. Fabric that is shiny and reflective can really pop when this rule is used with a less conservative process than what you’d use for skin or less reflective surfaces.
With Flynn, I tacked on some forced blue and bright orange with an overlay layer for each color in photoshop. Why these colors? Because they sit opposite to each other on the color wheel, meaning they’re complimentary colors.
One main color per picture is the easiest way to go when it comes to painting, particularly when you’re learning the ropes. Most skilled artists can choose a primary color without skipping a beat, but personally I’m just not there yet. Now, there are a few websites that can coordinate a ‘palette’ for you, but these colors are heavily saturated and need to be watered down and tweaked with a careful eye to be viable for a painting without looking a bit scary. So what I like to do is start out by painting in colors that are very low in saturation and then tweak them with sliders in Photoshop.
The Color Balance Tool can be found by going into Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance.
There are sliders here for every value. This, right here, is what makes it work. Experiment with it and learn what works for you. Magenta shadows fading into rich red midtones and blue highlights looks incredible, and blue shadows fading into orange and yellow are very powerful. There are a million combinations that work, and it’s all a matter of personal preference.
So since people have been asking, I’m uploading a really simple tutorial of how I color. This won’t be helpful at all as far as color selection/color theory goes (that comes intuitively with practice/observation), but hopefully it’ll help at least a few of you.
1) Gonna use a quick sketch of bby Beryl as the lineart. I just used the pen tool on Painttool SAI.
2) On a separate layer, I use the brush tool on the fine flat setting to color in the base colors for her skin + hair - leaving the eye uncolored for now
3) Added simple shading - SAI has this really excellent automatic blending. Note that I’m using purple for her skin instead of dark brown - I really dislike using just a darker version of the base color for shading because it gives the overall picture this flat dodged/burned look.
4) Colored in her eyes and added another layer of shading in the hair and shirt (highlighted her right cheek using the original base color to make it a bit more 3D). The whites of her eyes are actually a yellowish gray since actual white looks a bit too jarring in contrast to her skin tone.
5) Added highlights to her hair and erased the colors outside the lines. (Note that I basically just color everything on the same layer)
6) I use this dramatic lighting effect a lot, so I’m going to include it here. On a separate layer that I position above the lineart layer, I set my brush to white and use SAI’s watercolor brush to just lightly color slightly into the edges of the lines - good areas are where her skin meets her shirt, in the sharp lines of the hair, any corners and edges.
Hope this was informative!
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