Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

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Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:36 pm

Image

HAY GUYZ LOOK AT MAH BOOTIFUL ARTS!1!

Okay, while art is generally a personal expression, there are some "rules" of sorts that will help you convey that expression in a more efficient way. What's that, you say? Rules in art? Well, yes, it's true... in a manner of speaking. Yes, art is largely subjective. The thing is, the rules are more like a foundation; once you know what they are, then you can get creative and bend, twist, stretch and break them to suit your needs. Learning the basic technicalities will only help, not hinder.

Art often involves ego to one degree or another. However, there are people who think that their works should only reflect their innate, wondrous ability. There are people who will hide behind the defense that they're using a personal style. These mindsets will not help you. While some people may have a bit more of a knack than others, an artist can never stop improving. It's all about practice and refinement. And then some more practice. And some more refinement. And some more practice on top of that. The more you practice, the more you experiment, the more you learn, the more you'll improve. Anyone who believes they have nothing to learn make themselves incapable of learning, and that gets you nowhere.

This thread will basically be covering rules, tips and techniques that generally apply to all visual arts, as well as some specific tutorials for things such as CG. Since this will rely on visual aids, it may take a bit longer to update, but I'll try my best.

Topics:
Colour Theory (part 1)
Colour Theory (part 2)
Colour Theory (part 3)
Composition (part 1)
Composition (part 2)
(Very) Basic Human Anatomy/Proportions

References:
Note: keep in mind that many anatomy guides and tutorials may feature nudity. It is the human body, after all.

http://colorschemedesigner.com/
Basically what it says in the address. Helps create colour schemes based on several variables.

http://www.posemaniacs.com
Contains various highly-detailed 3D renders of human figures in various poses that can be rotated. Shows muscle structure (basically, the figures have no skin).

http://www.posemaniacs.com/thirtysecond
Using the figures above, this is a training exercise that displays different reference images for thirty seconds at a time (though the timing can be adjusted). The idea is to sketch them as quickly as possible to improve gesture drawing abilities.

http://www.idrawdigital.com/2009/01/tut ... roportion/
Basic anatomy for males and females.

http://www.idrawdigital.com/2009/01/tut ... oportions/
Compares proportions between adults and children.

http://odduckoasis.deviantart.com/art/A ... l-27484310
General anatomy tutorial.

http://rymantys.deviantart.com/art/Anat ... -109741146
Another general anatomy tutorial (slightly anime-influenced).

http://fav.me/d37hxqq
Simplified human anatomy tips and reference.

http://www.idrawdigital.com/2010/03/tut ... ands-feet/
Basic introduction to drawing hands and feet.

http://fav.me/dczkd7
Introduction and basics for the digital pen tool.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby SHRRN A FWOOSH! » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:40 pm

*ahem* *stands with honor* i've got all that X3

but i'm REALLY looking forward to this! AWAYEAAH!
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Speedlion » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:44 pm

Lea, upload that pic on DA so I can fave it!
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby SHRRN A FWOOSH! » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:48 pm

if that's really a kid who drew that HE GOTZ LOADS OF TALENT IN COLORING!
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:40 pm

Colour Theory (part 1)

Colour is that magical thing that happens when light goes bouncing off things. It moves in mysterious ways and invokes the depths of the soul.

Or not. Again, because art is a big bomb of subjectivity waiting to explode, it can be kind of hard to label things. In a sense, colour is basically an artist's tool to be used in various ways. There are a lot of schools of thought regarding colour, and a lot of technicalities that lend themselves to its application. We're going to be talking more about colour theory than colour in a scientific sense, but it's not a bad starting point. Basically, it's good to have a general understanding of colour before you go grabbing your Crayolas.

In a very basic sense, colour is what you get when your eye perceives different wavelengths of light. Receptors in the eye pick up the different wavelengths and process them in different values to create the visual spectrum we're capable of seeing. In human eyeballs, there are three types of cones receptive to different wavelengths: variations and combination with those three allow us to see our full range of colour. This is called trichromatic vision. Incidentally, colour blindness is generally caused by a lack of function from one or more of those cones. Rather than resulting in pure black and white vision as is typically thought, it tends to limit the spectrum that the person's eyes can process, so that the remaining cones are only capable of processing certain values and ranges.

The concept of trichromatic vision gives rise to one of our most commonly-used methods of colour perception, known as RGB.

RGB Mode
RGB stands for red, green and blue. The idea is that by using those three wavelengths in various combinations, all other possible colours can be created. You may have noticed this employed on TVs and projectors, especially older ones. In fact, if you were to get a drop of water on a screen, you might be able to see it pretty clearly (note, I am not telling you to go submerse your laptop in the bathtub or anything. Just sayin'.). Anyway, here's an image illustrating RGB colour display.

Image

Basically, you have three spheres of coloured light (red, green and blue) that create new colours where they overlap and combine, and when all three are together, the result is white light.

Note: Keep in mind that this is about light and perception, not colour mixing as you would with, say, paint. We'll get to that stuff later.

CMYK Mode

This is essentially a reversal of the RGB model. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (which in this case means black). Basically, while RGB is about adding to get the desired colour, CMYK is about taking away. It's mostly used for convenience when printing (conservation of ink, basically).

Image
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:42 pm

Speedlion wrote:Lea, upload that pic on DA so I can fave it!


No way. Then it would lose its magic.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:58 pm

Colour Theory (part 2)

Okay, now that we know how colour works (kinda), it's time to talk about how to use it.

Colour can be said to be made up of three basic components: hue, saturation and brightness.

Hue is the pure colour itself.

Saturation is essentially the level of intensity of the colour.

Brightness, also called lightness or value, is, well, how bright it is.

Many art programs such as photoshop use a display for picking colours that illustrates this concept pretty well.

Image

Essentially, you have the hue (in this case, red) displayed in the upper right, while the brightness is shown ranging from pure black to pure white on the left side. The saturation values basically work with those two running from right to left; the further to the right, the more pure the hue, while the further to the left adds more black and white (with gray being dead center), further desaturating the hue.

Adding different amounts of pure white to a hue produces lighter colours called tints. Adding different amounts of pure black to a hue produces darker colours known as shades. Black and white are not considered colours; basically, they're the absence of colour (hue), with the difference between them being the level of brightness.


The Colour Wheel

The colour wheel is basically another model for understanding colour, though it's a bit more relevant on the artistic side of things than some of the others. The basic colour wheel is divided into six segments, though a slightly more detailed version has twelve. This is a twelve-point colour chart.

Image

This colour wheel doesn't take things like saturation or brightness into account. It's all about hue here. So, where do we start?

Primary Colours


The primary colours are red, yellow and blue. You'll notice that they are evenly spaced around the wheel.

Image

Why are they called the primary colours? Well, if you had just three tubes of paint -- in red, yellow and blue -- you could combine them to make every colour on that chart. Combining any two primary colours will yield what's called a secondary colour.

Secondary Colours
These are the three colours you get by equally mixing any two of the primary colours. Again, they're evenly spaced around the wheel.

Image

Red + Yellow = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green

So what are the other spots on the wheel? They basically represent the in-between colours, closer to one side than the other. Basically, while 50% red + 50% yellow will get you orange, 70% red + 30% yellow will get you the creatively-named red-orange.

But wait, there's more...!

Complementary Colours
Complementary colours are two colours that, when paired, are considered to be aesthetically pleasing. They provide great contrast and can be used to striking effect. To find a colour's complement, simply find it on the opposite end of the wheel.

Image

Purple + Yellow
Green + Red
Orange + Blue

Another way of looking at it is to sort of reverse the "equation" from earlier. Basically, if you take a single primary colour (say, yellow) and combine the two remainders (red and blue) you'll get its complement (purple).

Monochromatic Colour

So what happens if you change the saturation and brightness, but not the hue? You get monochromatic colour.

Image

With monochromatic colour, the hue is always the same, but with varying additions of black and white, you get different tints and shades of the base hue. This can create an interesting visual effect with less overall contrast.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Chris000 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:09 pm

Color and I never really got along. I've perfered B&W because it was easier to work with. If I screwed up with that, I could just erase it. Not so easy with color.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:55 pm

Colour Theory (part 3)

Okay, time to get into the realm of subjectivity. We're going to talk about colours themselves and the common themes they're said to represent and other little tidbits.

Warm Colours
Half of the colour wheel is considered to consist of warm colours: reds, oranges and yellows. They're considered to evoke warmth, heat, dryness, passion, energy, etc..


Cool Colours

The other half of the wheel consist of the cool colours: blues, greens and purples. They're thought to evoke cold, wetness, calmness, etc..

Reds
Red colours symbolize passion, heat, love, sin, courage, sacrifice, blood, beauty, guilt, danger, health, etc.. It also represents summer and the South. In many Eastern cultures, red is an auspicious, lucky colour. This makes it a popular colour for brides. In African cultures, it represents death and is a colour of mourning. In colouring, red can both complement and clash with pink; depending on the values, it can appear as a monochromatic combination, or clash harshly (typically, with high saturation, and red bordering on orange + pink bordering on purple). Red combined with green can make for deep shadows. Used with (not mixed) yellow, it can create a deep, warm "golden" effect.

Oranges
Orange colours are often associated with the Autumn seasons as well as related holidays (such as Halloween), especially in North American cultures. Orange represents warmth, endurance, fire, courage, etc.. It's a common colour in many Eastern religions, especially Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Along this line, it can represent the notion that nothing is permanent, or the cyclical nature of the universe (represented by falling leaves). Oranges generally form skin tones (sometimes combined with pink). Because of this, blue (its complement) is used as a common contrast against skin. Also oranges are orange!

Yellows
Yellow colours symbolize happiness, power, fear, friendship, the sun, summer, the South, lemon, anxiety, cowardice, caution, optimism, etc.. In colouring, yellow is extremely versatile; while it contrasts beautifully with purples, it doesn't really clash with anything, so it can be used as an excellent accent colour. Its warmth is emphasized by orange; green produces a more "sickly" tone.

Greens
Green colours represent nature, fertility, love, wealth, envy, illness, decay, jealousy, luck, the East, spring, life, renewal, regeneration, endurance, sacredness (especially in Catholicism and Islam), health, hope, etc.. In some cultures, green and blue are not considered distinct from each other. In colouring, the two colours next to green on the colour wheel, yellow and blue, make for great highlights and shadows respectively.

Blues

Blue colours are commonly associated with cold, water, sky, ice, winter, infinity, truth, sadness, depression, meditation, purity, etc.. In Western culture it's commonly associated with boys; however, in the past, it was instead associated with girls and was a common symbol of marriage. Blue is important in several religions, specifically, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism. In some cultures, blue and light blue are considered distinct, separate colours; in others, there is little to no distinction between blue and green. In colouring, blue is effective for creating shadows.

Purples
Purple colours symbolize nobility, richness, passion, intelligence, wisdom, death, luxury, love, etc.. In colouring, it can easily be played for lightness and darkness as well as warmth and coldness (especially when ranged across pink and blue, respectively). It can create warmth in grays (such as in stone or metal) or deep, warm shadows, especially against yellows.

Pinks
Pink colours represent love, spring, joy, health, girlishness, cuteness, happiness, passion, calmness. Interestingly enough, in many cultures, pink is not considered a distinct colour but rather a variation (tint) of red. It's an bit of an oddity as it can also exist somewhere between red and magenta/purple. While typically considered a "girly" colour, red (and thus pink) used to be associated with boys rather than girls.

Browns

Brown is often associated with autumn, earth, richness, leather, nature, chocolate, coffee, warmth, etc.. In many cultures, brown is not considered a distinct colour but rather a variation/shade of orange. Thus, brown can complement blue.

White
While not technically a colour, white can represent snow, purity, holiness, air, clouds, surrender, silence, etc.. In many Eastern cultures, it is the colour of death and mourning. In Western cultures, it's often associated with brides.

Black

Also not technically a colour, black often represents authority, depression, perfection, death, anarchism, evil, darkness, bad luck, life, experience, etc.. In Western culture, it's the colour of death and mourning.

Gray
Yet another not-really-a-colour, gray symbolizes fog, neutrality, time, old age, wisdom, obscurity, stillness, etc.. It's basically the in-between of white and black, though it can be warmed with yellow or light purple, or cooled with dark purple and blue. Gray can easily desaturate other colours.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Sparky » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:36 pm

Wow!

never knew that.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Ziggyfin » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:33 am

Sweet idea Kureejii Lea! I know I'll be reading this thread a lot! Thank you for the glorious explanations on colour! I'll be thinking about what you said when I colour now!
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Knuxtiger4 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:47 pm

Very good information here! I actually took a color theory class at my college last semester and I can say that it does teach you how to experiment with colors.
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby The Shadow Emperor » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:20 pm

Kureejii Lea wrote:Image

Aha! So that's where they got the colors for the Chaos Emeralds!

...Yeah, so, uh...does anyone have any advice for making a good turquoise? I can never get that color right. :(
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:11 pm

The Shadow Emperor wrote:...Yeah, so, uh...does anyone have any advice for making a good turquoise? I can never get that color right. :(


Well, take a look at the colour wheel. You'll be looking somewhere in the blue-green range. If you're mixing paints, I'd say start with blue with a little bit of green and white and see where that goes. If you're looking through a program or something, try the following hex codes and play around from there: #40E0D0, #48D1CC, #20D5CE
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Re: Workshop: Visual Arts (tips, techniques and references)

Postby Kureejii Lea » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:56 pm

Composition (part 1)

In visual art, composition refers to how you arrange elements in your image and create an effective layout. What counts as "effective?" Well, the purpose of having a solid composition is to engage the viewer. You want to get their interest and keep it. You want them to look.

So, the purpose of having a good composition is to draw in the viewer's eye to points of interest and lead them around the image. If the composition is awkward or poorly-arranged, it's not going to hold the viewer's attention.

In creating an image, you are choosing the viewer's point of view. You are choosing how the image is presented. You may be trying to invoke a specific feeling in this regard, but you still have to draw the viewer in. How you do this depends on how you incorporate the various aspects of composition.

A lot of this may come off as "rules," but remember: these rules form a solid foundation. Once you know them, you can think of them more as guidelines than hard-and-fast laws. With practice and experience, you eventually get a feel for it.

Flow

Okay, so we talked about this a bit already: drawing in the viewer's eye and leading it around the image. How do you create this kind of flow? Well, there are many ways. You can use lines and curves to literally create a path to follow. You can imply it through shapes and perspective. You can imply it through the subject's movement or even by the direction they're facing; make it look like there's room for them to move, like you can see where there motion will carry them. You can create focus by using the empty space between other shapes. You can use an increase or decrease of light to create a gradual focal point.

I'm going to use some of my own images for the sake of illustration, especially since I'll be scribbling all over them. They may not be perfect examples, but they should give the basic idea.

Image

Despite being a dead flower with no eyeballs, it's implied that it's looking to the right, at the flower in the distance. While there's no literal line to follow, the eye is drawn from the foreground to the background and across the image. The viewer is inclined to start with the leftmost flower because it's bigger and in sharper focus, despite the other flower being brighter in colour.

Image

The perspective and angle of the staircase draws the eye from the bottom to the upper left. From there, the vertical lines of the shrine lead the eye upward, while the curve brings it back down and around, keeping the focus inward.

Image

The line of the waterfall draws the eye down and in, while the curve of the bottom foliage and the background's rock wall essentially create a large oval, moving the eye in a circular path around the image. Because we know that a waterfall is pulled by gravity, we're inclined to follow its line downward; we know it's moving in that direction.

Image

Similar to the first image, the eye is drawn from the foreground in the lower left to the upper right. However, unlike the first image, the lines are not merely implied. The curve of the bridge, as well as the railing and ropes, create the lines and shapes to follow. The textures of the boards and the rope, as well as the cluster of rocks, makes the lower left corner "busier" than the background sky, drawing initial focus there.
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