Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Value Scale

The value scale is best thought of as a gray scale and can be 
directly related to color value.

The value scale, as illustrated below, is often shown as an eleven point scale, with black at the zero point and white at the ten.  But, I want you to consider selecting only a few to compose your values in a picture.  For instance, you may choose a three or a five value set to keep your painting simple.

As an example, you may want five values only, and perhaps they would be numbers 3,4.5, 7, and 8.  Notice that you may skip numbers in the sequence, because this creates depth and interest.  You may choose 3, 4 and 6 instead for an even simpler composition.

Another way I keep it simple is to assume the polar values that will be in my painting.  Have only 3 values in your range.  Say 2 is darkest and assumed, or put out of mind, and the lightest value assumed is 7.  Then, I am free to work with any three values within those parameters.  3, 5 and 6, for instance.  You get the idea - it is a mental trick I use to focus on fewer details and provides for me a very basic composition.

See the video in the sidebar that covers this topic.

Five values, represented as gray, may be used 
to compose a unified painting.


Linda Roth said...

I like this blog Casey. You clarify things that I think while painting. The skin tone of my nose painting (yesterday's post) were very difficult. There was a direct light factor and a reflected light factor that multiplied the values in his face--plus the fact that his face was sunburned. I have always had a difficult time eliminating--being that my eye catches all the shades and tints. I find them hard to overlook. The day before, I did smooth out the skin tones and I lost the character in the face...

Casey Klahn said...
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Casey Klahn said...
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Casey Klahn said...

You bring up a good point, Linda. Faces are so detailed. I do a little reading before I post these elements blogs, and what I read speaks to this, and I know you know this stuff, but for my readers, I'll say what I found.

Make the face into planes, and keep the values similar within the planes. Have fewer planes. So easy to say, but the face is challenging. Yours is a great rendering!