Join Simon Walker for an in-depth discussion in this video Observing the light and color in paintings, part of The Art of Color Correction: Artistic Color Grading on the Timeline.
Classical painters, who spent their lives investigating light, color and form have taught us a great deal about composition, color and lighting in video. It's really interesting to see how the colors in a painting work together to tell a certain story. When painting artists regularly use complementary colors that work well together. Complementary colors are essentially opposite contrasting colors. This means that they are generally colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. When placed next to each other in an image, complimentary colors cab be aesthetically pleasing. The way our eyes process a certain color changes when two colors interact with each other.
You can bring out or accentuate one color by adding in it's contrasting color somewhere else in the shot. So this idea of complimentary colors can help separate a subject from their background. It means that adding a contrasting color in the background or shadows can help the fore ground stand out. It makes it easier for the viewer to see whats going on in the shot, and it's easier for them to interpret the image. This combination of colors is also satisfying to look at, and is pleasing to the eye. Lighting a scene is, of course, one of the most essential parts of setting up a shot, and is another way of making your subject stand out. In grading, as well as in painting, we can simulate lighting effects and highlight specific parts of an image by enhancing the lume levels, or brightness levels, of a specific part of the image.
A really interesting part of observing paintings is to look at the way artists used brush strokes to create effects like softening and blurring. Which is very flattering for their subject's skin tone, but we can simulate these softening techniques and apply them to video. This is especially useful when smoothing skin and softening the harsh lines that can appear in digital video. Similarly, detailed and textured brush strokes can also be simulated in post-production with sharpening techniques to make objects stand out and also to give character and mood to images.
We're going to be investigating these methods during the course and looking at how we can translate them into color correction and grading techniques for video. There is, of course, no substitute for seeing paintings in the flesh, though. You can get up close and personal, and see the brush work and the layering. And how the colors interact with each other. And then, when you stand back, you can see how all these elements combine together. Which can really inspire your own work in post production.
- What is a grade?
- Starting with contrast and color
- Observing Michelangelo's approach to high and low contrast
- Accentuating highlights in the style of Fra Angelico
- Working with Leonardo da Vinci's limited palettes
- Using chiaroscuro to increase tension
- Changing the mood of a scene with light and shade
- Applying colors to complement skin tones