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Understanding color

From: Digital Painting: Street Scene

Video: Understanding color

Besides indicating details brushwork, you can also indicate depth and visual importance with color by controlling its temperature and saturation. Atmospheric or aerial perspective is a painting technique in which three-dimensional depth is portrayed by reducing color saturation and tinting retreating colors towards blue. This mimics the effects of the atmosphere on distance. We can additionally use this optical queue to place greater importance on subject matter in a painting.

Understanding color

Besides indicating details brushwork, you can also indicate depth and visual importance with color by controlling its temperature and saturation. Atmospheric or aerial perspective is a painting technique in which three-dimensional depth is portrayed by reducing color saturation and tinting retreating colors towards blue. This mimics the effects of the atmosphere on distance. We can additionally use this optical queue to place greater importance on subject matter in a painting.

In this video, we'll take a look at how to use this technique. So here's where we are. This is the work I did since we last talked and I wanted to show you that within each of our cloning groups, there is a Hue or Saturation adjustment layer and I'm going to take advantage of that now, because I want to start to play around with this saturation of these images to provide more focus on the subject matter, which is really the cars in the foreground here.

That's the most important element. We will be adding some people into the scene later, but we want to start working already on getting the stage set for our actors that we're going to supply a little later. So I'm going to go to the Underpainting first and turn it on. What I want to do is reduce the Saturation. I'm going to overplay it here because I want to see exactly what's going to happen. Okay, so can see we've almost turned into black and white, which is too far. So I'm going to start to bring it up a bit. And like so many settings in here, I can't tell you which one is wrong or right.

I'm just going to turn this on and off and watch the image. And I can see here some color brilliance is definitely been removed, but it's not noticeable and that's the other thing you want to do in these kinds of effects. When they're done right, the eye isn't attracted to them and so even on a small scale like this, where I'm just slightly adjusting the Saturation, less is generally more. You don't want to turn that into a black and white painting in the background. It would look unnatural.

So we've done that one. Let's now go up to our Intermediate layer, Hue/Saturation, and in this case I'm going to increase it and once again I may just overshoot. Let's see what it's actually affecting and yes, it is affecting quite a bit there. So I'm going to start turn this down and I can turn the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer on and off in the Layer panel to see the difference. It's definitely changing it and I might punch it up just a little bit more.

Remember these are nondestructive adjustments, so if later on I realized gee, I kind of over did it and that taxicab is way too yellow, I can always come back and fix this, but I want to at least have the start of the visualization of how I'm going to control the hierarchy of importance through color saturation in this image. The other thing I could do, we'll just try it to see if it does anything, is if I go here I can play with the Lightness.

Let's, for example, turn it down to see what happens. It kind of hiked that a little bit. This is the kind of thing where if this was a traditional painting, you could never see these to try them out and because we have this as a safety net, I can try things out I never even would try. Who would have thought that darkening that a little bit would make a difference? And yet now that I'm looking at it, I really like it. Let's go to the Intermediate Hue/ Saturation and toggle it on and off. And sure enough you can see how that's just adding a little bit more life to what is right now our primary subject.

So what I've done here is used warm and cool color and brightness as a useful tool for focusing viewer attention to desired areas within our composition. The trick is to be subtle about it and not let it call undue attention for the wrong reasons. And in the next movie, I'm going to talk about adding texture, which is another visual element that attracts the eye.

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This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Street Scene
Digital Painting: Street Scene

45 video lessons · 15076 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 8m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Installing custom brushes
      7m 0s
  2. 22m 3s
    1. Understanding the visual vocabulary
      4m 46s
    2. Using the vocabulary of photography
      6m 41s
    3. Using the vocabulary of painting
      7m 1s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      3m 35s
  3. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
      3m 6s
    2. Understanding the subject
      7m 16s
  4. 16m 1s
    1. Removing lens distortions
      2m 33s
    2. Using the Free Transform tool
      4m 42s
    3. Using the Lens Correction filter
      4m 36s
    4. Understanding the ACR lens correction profiles
      4m 10s
  5. 12m 23s
    1. Working with Vibrance
      3m 14s
    2. Using the Match Color command
      2m 59s
    3. Understanding the traditional paint color swatch set
      6m 10s
  6. 16m 6s
    1. The eye has a bettor sensor than a camera
      3m 16s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight filter
      3m 17s
    3. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding how RAW files provide malleability
      4m 10s
  7. 14m 42s
    1. Working with the Reduce Noise filter
      2m 50s
    2. Working with the Surface Blur filter
      3m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur for simplification
      2m 51s
    4. Working with the Topaz Simplify plug-in
      5m 55s
  8. 31m 10s
    1. NDLP: A creative safety net
      5m 1s
    2. Using custom actions
      9m 41s
    3. Using the reference layer
      5m 29s
    4. Cloning layers
      6m 5s
    5. Working with the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 28s
    1. Brush categorization
      10m 1s
    2. Working with canvas texture
      3m 41s
    3. Using Sample All Layers
      3m 46s
  10. 12m 48s
    1. Being willing to destroy detail
      7m 21s
    2. Establishing the painting style
      5m 27s
  11. 25m 1s
    1. Simplified indication
      9m 3s
    2. Understanding color
      4m 10s
    3. Introducing texture
      11m 48s
  12. 17m 36s
    1. Providing rest areas for the eye
      6m 55s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      10m 41s
  13. 24m 20s
    1. Being willing to depart from the original
      6m 48s
    2. Creating detail to enhance the artwork
      8m 36s
    3. Creating physical surface texture effects
      8m 56s
  14. 10m 33s
    1. Waiting a day
      4m 14s
    2. Examining your importance hierarchy
      6m 19s
  15. 57s
    1. Goodbye
      57s

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