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Value and saturation

From: Foundations of Color

Video: Value and saturation

To understand value and saturation of color and light, let's consider a term in art known as Chiarascuro. The use of strong contrast between light and dark, usually bold contrast affecting a whole composition. Countless films have used Chiarascuro for dramatic effect in film noir. The films were shot in black and white, explored purely in value the use of expressive light. Most people associate Chiarascuro with Renaissance paintings like the self portrait of Rembrandt. His paintings are synonymous with the idea of light revealing only parts of a form in a darkened space.

Value and saturation

To understand value and saturation of color and light, let's consider a term in art known as Chiarascuro. The use of strong contrast between light and dark, usually bold contrast affecting a whole composition. Countless films have used Chiarascuro for dramatic effect in film noir. The films were shot in black and white, explored purely in value the use of expressive light. Most people associate Chiarascuro with Renaissance paintings like the self portrait of Rembrandt. His paintings are synonymous with the idea of light revealing only parts of a form in a darkened space.

My favorite example is a painting by Caravaggio, the Sacrifice of Isaac. As every element of contrasting light and shadow working together in concert for a most compelling piece. This painting, created between 1590 and 1610 demonstrates, not only the effective use of Chiaroscuro but also a strong composition, depth of field and dramatic emotional impact achieved by limited color and saturation of pigment used to suggest the warm temperature of the light.

If we analyze how we view this image, the concentration of the light contrast brings us to the three human heads forming a triangle. We pay close attention to where each character is looking. And move along the triangle from knife, boy, father to angel. The expression on each face exemplifies the drama of this narrative scene and the value forces us to pay attention to the knife. And faces first and finally releases us to travel away from the moment.

Safely to the background in the right hand corner. The knife actually points to the corner, as a means of escape, though we may look first at the angels hand but only moments before stop the carnage. The sheep in softer contrast, a light in color saturation or intensity points us back into the scene even if we try to find safe retreat in the distant horizon. If you focus on the contrast and the use of light, the hierarchy of importance of each element both as a matter of compositions.

And the meaning of the paintings is clearly defined for the viewer by limiting the pallet to have focus on value, saturation and light. The message has become more illuminated.

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This video is part of

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Foundations of Color

42 video lessons · 15883 viewers

Mary Jane Begin
Author

 
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  1. 5m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Traditional media to digital: The long and winding road of color
      3m 48s
    3. Exercise files
      22s
  2. 14m 40s
    1. Introduction: How color shapes meaning
      2m 23s
    2. Universal, cultural, and personal symbols of color
      2m 52s
    3. Concepts made clear
      4m 1s
    4. Brand identity and language
      2m 53s
    5. Sequence and pattern
      2m 31s
  3. 14m 18s
    1. What is the color wheel?
      2m 20s
    2. Primary colors, primary concerns
      3m 59s
    3. Playing with complementary colors
      3m 40s
    4. Tertiary colors: The basics of brown and gray
      4m 19s
  4. 17m 20s
    1. An overview of elements
      2m 48s
    2. Value is not a moral judgment
      2m 26s
    3. Saturation to neutralization
      3m 22s
    4. Temperature: How hot is hot?
      3m 12s
    5. Textures, marks, dashes, and dots
      2m 59s
    6. Seeing through color: Opaque, translucent, and transparent
      2m 33s
  5. 12m 25s
    1. What is contrast?
      3m 10s
    2. Creating focus: Living on the edge
      1m 15s
    3. Creating the readable image
      4m 6s
    4. Connecting contrast with content
      3m 54s
  6. 17m 29s
    1. Illuminating light
      1m 54s
    2. The effect of contrast in light
      1m 53s
    3. Value and saturation
      2m 27s
    4. On temperature
      2m 58s
    5. On complements
      2m 10s
    6. Secondary and reflected light
      3m 5s
    7. RGB vs. CMYK
      3m 2s
  7. 14m 24s
    1. An introduction to palettes
      2m 15s
    2. Limited palettes: A harmonious color palette
      2m 35s
    3. Harmony and discord
      2m 33s
    4. Unifying color grounds
      2m 40s
    5. Unifying glazes and layers
      2m 13s
    6. Charting a color family
      2m 8s
  8. 20m 25s
    1. Balance of shapes: How much is too much?
      3m 36s
    2. Weaving textural color
      2m 50s
    3. Color in context
      2m 31s
    4. Color blindness
      3m 15s
    5. Challenge: Deconstructing color
      1m 28s
    6. Solution: Demo of deconstructing color
      6m 45s
  9. 1m 3s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 3s

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