How do i block my values on a digital painting?
I truly dont understand this and everyone seems to have a different approach. What do i do first??? I have seen some people start with a midtone grey over a sketch on a light grey canvas and then erase the midtone grey with a brush in order to get the lights (ctrl+paint method). Should i do that always? Other people start with the shadows and then add a gigantic blob of midtone grey with some weird gradients and then reorganize the values in a weird order like in the proko Digital painting course. Other people like moderndayjames and sinix recommend starting with 1-2 values, focusing on shapes and then going from there... but there is no refinement and it looks like an out of focus representation, i get how to do that but it doesnt look good and dont know how to advance from that. Where do i get the values from if i dont use color picker? If i try to invent them they seem wrong. Where do you get the value scale for every color? you add a red robe and everything changes, because you cant use the same value scale for it.... how the hell do i get my values? I have used the color picker but it feels like a clutch now, feels like i dont know what the hell im doing, and cant find a simple deconstruction method of the STEPS i need to follow in order to paint and learn. For example, if i need to start with a midtone grey, where the hell that midtone grey comes from, supposely you have to separate your values in lights and darks. Do i get a midtone grey from my lights or from my darks? or should i break the rule and get one in between?. And then after that, should i start blocking the lights? the darks? the different color values first and then the light and the dark with blending layers? I dont know everything is confusing, every single instructor likes to go right into the refinement of values instead of explaining where the hell did they come from, please, help me out, im lost.
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Steve Lenze
Dude, I feel your frustration. One of the problems with digital anything is that there is a thousand ways to do the same thing! So frustrating, it's the reason I never wanted to do computer animation. So, This is what I did- I do it exactly the way I would traditionally. I start with a line drawing, including the lines that define the shadows. I fill the drawing in with a mid value gray, like if you are working on toned paper. Then I fill in my shadows with a dark, but not black, shadow value. Then I put in my darkest dark Then I work from my shadows to my lights. I do this by just using the color box all the way to the left were there is no color, just black and grays. The way I know what value to use is by comparing it to my shadow values, just like I would in a traditional drawing. Is it as dark as my shadow? is it as light as the highlights? I just compare and adjust as I go. Then I start to render the light using the same comparisons until it's all rendered. Then if you want to color it- go to blending modes, and create a color layer, and paint right over your b& w painting. I included the steps I just described in a digital painting I did recently. I hope this helps and eases the frustration a little bit. Good hunting :)
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Thank you for sharing your method, this is very helpful! Do you limit your values to a palette and then blend? or just find the value you need on the go.
Rebecca Shay
There are so many different ways to approach this. To minimize confusion, the best way is to do some black/white master studies of good movie scenes, or famous artworks. Start with 2-3 values only, break things down. Don't spend too much time on each one, just 5-10 minutes each. 2 Value can be very difficult depending on the artwork, and it's not always possible to get a good read with 2. The challenge with 3 value is, like you said, pick a mid tone. To start you can just 50% grey as the midtone. But after a while train your eyes to pick a midtone that is a little biased towards light or dark. You'll notice most good artworks or film scenes are not half in the light and half in the dark. It's usually 20/80 or 30/70. So in a generally dark scene, your mid tone could be 75% grey instead of 50% grey, if that makes sense. After that you should be able to apply that to your artwork, and you'll probably have more questions then. But for now just focus on master studies to at least understand the concept.
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