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Author   Topic : "Colour picking"

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Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:59 am     Reply with quote
Hey sijuners.

I have this semi-pro / pro friend of mine that is ass crazed about colour picking. He jumps at an image (photo) and picks whatever colour he wants until he has a fair representation of the image painted next to it.

Personally I almost never use the colour picker except for on my own images because I have this romantic notion that I can learn to see colours without picking them from the painting with the eyedropper.

he's telling me im crazy for not using the full spectrum of colour that can come from picking colours from photos and that his method is industry standard.

What are your thoughts on colour picking references ?
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Joined: 04 Oct 2001
Posts: 149
Location: Uppsala, Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:36 am     Reply with quote
i'd say it depends on the purpouse of the painting.

when it's just for practice:
i only use the eyedropper to see how close i got AFTER i've tried to eyeball the reference. same with tracing. first pure eyeballing, then when i can no longer figure out what it is that is off with my version, i eyedrop and trace abit to find the errors. then i throw away the trace n' eyedrop and go back to eyeballing.
back and forth like that seems like the best way for me to learn.

if it's for work, then whatever produces a quality result goes i guess.
although tracing and eyedropping MIGHT be a crutch if you don't know how to do it without them. such a crutch might shine through in the final piece...
The horror...
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 229
Location: LA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:44 am     Reply with quote
Ahh...color picking.

As a_sh said, it does depend on the purpose of the painting. As a beginner, one should use the color picking as a guidance to understanding color concepts/theory. (a great way for your mind to understand color placement/relationships is to paint color charts as seen in "Everything I know about Painting" by Richard Schmid.)

When trying to learn how color works, it's necessary to understand different color relationships (warm vs. cool, unsaturated vs. chromatic...etc), lighting situations, mood, triads and much more. Personally, I use the color picker all the time, out of laziness. If painting from a reference, I can usually tell where the color is within the color picker dialogue box (at least a ballpark...). So when I know I can find the color, then it's okay to just use the color picker. (imho)

When looking for a color (without the color picker), I consider several factors.

These first two are like pinpointing a (x,y) location on a chart, with respects to x axis and y axis.

-How much saturation does the color have? (x)
ex. Pure Grey -or- Bluish Grey -or- Pure Blue (there are many colors in between, of course.)

-What is the value of the color? (y)
ex. Black -or- Dark Blue -or- mid-value Blue -or- Light Blue -or- White

-Is the color complimenting another color?
ex. If painting a face with a warm light on it, you would use a complimentary color for the shadows (cool color).

There are a few other things too, but those are the main things that I think of.

Anyway, if one understand the aforementioned factors, then by all means go ahead and use the picker for the sake of quickness. Even if it's from a reference.

But this just my opinion, I'm curious to see what others think.
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Mikko K

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Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 639

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:17 pm     Reply with quote
Even when color picking from photos you need understanding of color theory. You need to be able to judge things like exposure, value, temperature and saturation and it's hard to do that without some level of knowledge.

For example, you might color pick from a badly overexposed landscape or a crappy postcard that has a super dark and 100% saturated sky. That probably would result in a bad painting in the end, and you wouldn't realize what's wrong without some knowledge of color theory.
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Joined: 02 Oct 2007
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 1:17 pm     Reply with quote
I agree and I'm glad you guys seem to have a (in my opinion!) down- to- earth view of the whole situation.

That's a great post Med, I have the Alla prima but i havent jumped the charts yet. I believe Loomis and Leffel have some nice pointers on colour in their book aswell.
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Joined: 28 Feb 2004
Posts: 401
Location: Kalifornia

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 2:40 pm     Reply with quote
good topic. I have color picked to speed things up in the past, but the only time I really color pick now is to see how close I got in guessing a hue, value, or temperature. I've really shied away from this though because in the end, I realized that a painting is not good or bad because of accurate color matching.... but instead is good or bad based off of value and temperature relationships (and edges). Mullins did a painting of a baseball pitcher one time and put the ref up in the corner of the image... it perfectly proved this point to me. In my opinion, he actually made the image BETTER than the photo.
Following Painting by Craig Mullins.

Lately I've been using the color sliders for selecting colors as opposed to the pop up color chooser. For some reason I feel a little bit more like I'm "mixing" my own colors this way. try it out, it will make you think more about temperatures and values..... at least for me it has.
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