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Thread: Question on Painting Highlights and colours?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Question on Painting Highlights and colours?

    Alright, I have no idea which forum to put this in, if any at all. But, I'm learning to paint and simply, I'm totally confused with lighting. I read a really long paper on it at itchy animation website, but it still didn't make much sense. What I've been doing to date is as things get darker I lower their lightness/saturation, and when things get brighter I higher lightness lower saturation. Is this a good technique? I know to make highlights the colour of a light if it's say a blue light, but aside from that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    New Jersey, USA
    Someone more knowledgeable than I can comment, but I think that shadow values are often slightly bluer than "non-shadowed" values of the same color. That said, I often do what you do...


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    The reason for more blue was explained in the paper I read, it's because the sky is a blue lightsource. Though, in indoor lights they don't have a blue tint. My question is (Just from my studies) does the hue lower as it gets lighter?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oops! I meant does the saturation lower as stuff get brighter? Sorry for the stupid mistake >_>;;

    EDIT: After reading plenty on the colour theory, I think I have this down. Objects shadows are always the complementary colour of the light that hits it. Highlights are simply a shift in hue to the colour of the light with increased lightness, No lowering in the saturation, Infact maybe small increases.
    Edit2: Now I REALLY have myself confused. I looked at one picture and it was of a buildings shadow at sunset. Redish/Orange complements green. So, The shadows were tinted green. Now, in daylight the shadows were tinted blue...? Huh?!? The sun is yellowish so it should compliment Blueish Purpleish, which made sense. But, The sky is blue and makes a lot of ambient light doesn't it? So should the shadows have any tint of orange in it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Yeow, willtre!

    I think you're painting yourself into a corner, frankly!

    Painting isn't ABOUT colour theory. It may occasionally USE colour theory, but it IS NOT colour theory in and of itself.

    The key to shadows and highlights is SEEING, not hue or saturation or the colour of the light source. It's WHAT YOU SEE.

    So I'd like to take you back to first principles.

    Set up a few objects on your desk. Place a lamp to the side of them. And paint what you see. Some things will cast a warmer shadow than others. Some will have glaring highlights. Some will have very little reflection.

    There is NO rule that says, 'shadows are blue'. There is only an accepted sorta rule of thumb (rules of thumb are NOT rules, they're guidelines) that says shadows TEND to be cooler, and blue is a cooler colour, so add some blue to your shadows.

    You wanna confuse yourself? Look at rule books. You wanna make art? Look at your subject and paint what you see.

    Blue skies

    Visual Facilitator:

    ArtRage 3.5.5 and 4.0.4 on:
    Fujitsu T901, Asus R1E

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Oregon USA
    One of my very favorite books (and fav contemporary artists) is 'Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory' by Stephen Quiller.

    I think it's one of the best books on color theory and have been recommending it for years. Quiller may clarify the concept of color theory for you or may confuse you even further! LOL Quiller uses purple in most of his shadows...not blue! But he also has a way of using color in striking & unusual ways.

    You can read more about it at amazon
    "The one common element that I have discovered when studying master painters is that they were all 'students'." ~ Stephen Quiller

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    L I, New York - USA - Planet Earth

    Shadow Colors

    Hi Willtre, I am far from an expert in painting, but I think that one of the best ways to get a shadow is to use complimentary color. Not that you would paint the shadow side of an apple green, but you should mix green into the red. It may be tough in ArtRage to do that (or not?) but how about glazing over the color on a seperate layer. I think that red over green would appear "warmer" than green over red. Shadows are tricky in that they will have reflected light in the from whatever they are sitting on or near. they are also darker clost the object and lighter as they move away, and the edges of the shadow blur more the farther away they get.
    I think that the best advice is EXPERIMENT!

    Joe V
    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day - Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day! Joe V.

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