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Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:30 am
by DarkLored123
Hello, so recently I've been getting more into practicing painting and I ran into a problem that causes me to have a hard time choosing colors. To give some background information, a lot of tutorials about painting with color claim that the midtone should always be more saturated than the lights and shadows. Now this is confusing since I see a lot of artists, particularly anime artists that tend to saturate the shadows more than the base color.

As for my question, under what conditions are shadows more saturated/desaturated than the lights?

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:58 am
by Josephcow
Light and color is such a huge topic.

First of all I get the feeling that many anime artists are just going for whatever they think looks good, or a certain style of shading, and it probably doesn't have much to do with reality or how light and color work. Similarly with the tutorials. I've seen a lot that recommend shifting shadow colors this way or that way, or making the midtones saturated. in my honest opinion I think it's mostly nonsense, though the results are often okay. And I'm talking about your typical deviantart tutorial or youtube video.

One example of desaturated shadow would be outside in sunlight. Because of the blue sky lighting the shadow, you're going to get desaturated shadows.

Inside, you could have a variety of light sources. Say you have a cool, fluorescent light, and warm surroundings. Then you would probably have shadows on the skin that are more saturated and the light more desaturated.

remember that
- colors are relative, not absolute. So there's no such thing as the shadows are always like this or like that. The correctness of the color depends on the other colors.
-light and shadow are separate. The shadow side of objects is not the color of the lit side but darker and shifted in some way according to some rule. It's the object lit by every light source in the scene except the primary light source.

My advice would be to just do what looks good. If you're doing anime, or other stylized work I think it becomes more about subjective color (what looks good) than realistic.

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:53 am
by Wb_draws
I am not very good at painting, but I think that Borodante have a very good content on these topics. I don't know what are you trying to paint, but here is, for example, his video on painting skintones. He basically says that it will be always different, but gives some rules of thumbs

https://youtu.be/8_FnRJtjkj4

You can check his other tutorials and videos, I think he deserves more followers ;)

EDIT: He even have separate video on painting shadows:

https://youtu.be/LY5VWOVtyxQ

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:14 pm
by DarkLored123
Josephcow wrote:Light and color is such a huge topic.

First of all I get the feeling that many anime artists are just going for whatever they think looks good, or a certain style of shading, and it probably doesn't have much to do with reality or how light and color work. Similarly with the tutorials. I've seen a lot that recommend shifting shadow colors this way or that way, or making the midtones saturated. in my honest opinion I think it's mostly nonsense, though the results are often okay. And I'm talking about your typical deviantart tutorial or youtube video.

One example of desaturated shadow would be outside in sunlight. Because of the blue sky lighting the shadow, you're going to get desaturated shadows.

Inside, you could have a variety of light sources. Say you have a cool, fluorescent light, and warm surroundings. Then you would probably have shadows on the skin that are more saturated and the light more desaturated.

remember that
- colors are relative, not absolute. So there's no such thing as the shadows are always like this or like that. The correctness of the color depends on the other colors.
-light and shadow are separate. The shadow side of objects is not the color of the lit side but darker and shifted in some way according to some rule. It's the object lit by every light source in the scene except the primary light source.

My advice would be to just do what looks good. If you're doing anime, or other stylized work I think it becomes more about subjective color (what looks good) than realistic.


Thanks for the reply!

The thing is what I am aiming for is a slightly realistic look, but still clearly stylized and I'll show examples of what I am aiming towards below:

https://darklored123.deviantart.com/art ... -719385404
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/7CPmOtzdn84/maxresdefault.jpg

As you can see it is still cell shaded but has more depth to it through the use of more lighting/shading information, which is pretty much what I am investing my time to gain right now.

This is an attempt of mine at achieving the same effect, although I am getting slightly closer I am very far away.

Spoiler: show
Image


I noticed this morning that since my light is not as strong then the darkest shadow wouldn't be able to cover so much of the face as it is doing right now, I also tried applying color relativity which I learned how to do by hue shifting slightly when I move more towards my shadows, correct me if I am wrong with this one. As you can see as well the skin feels like plastic, I think mainly because of my poor blending.

So do you have any suggestions about what I should go for to get the same effect as the examples above?

@Wb_draws thank you for the suggestion, I'll check it out when I find the time.

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:43 pm
by Audiazif
DarkLored123 wrote:So do you have any suggestions about what I should go for to get the same effect as the examples above?


In the examples above they are not really relying on value to create contrast between the light and dark to create form. Contrast is what I believe is the driving factor in seeing form. The above examples are using more hue and saturation variations to create the contrast rather than value.

I think the issue with your drawing is you are trying to apply color over the black and white values. This is killing the saturation and hue aspects because you are muting the colors by basically mixing them with grey. There are a few things you could do to achieve similar results as the examples you linked. One way you could do it is toning the black and white values and make it monochrome, this will make it so you are not mixing with grey. Or you could scrap the values and go straight to color with hue and saturation in mind and have value take a less important role in the drawing.

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:33 am
by Josephcow
See with your example, i really don't think the problem is the color. My initial reaction is to lighten and saturate the shadow. But this doesn't really fix the problem, which is where the shadows are. In the attachment I feel like this is more like what we're used to seeing, but it's not necessarily that much better.

Spoiler: show
Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 6.14.22 PM.png


You mentioned that maybe not so much of the face would have the shadow and I think you're right. And i think your blending is good.

Cast shadows should always be cast away from the light source. You have some cast shadows cast toward the light source. Like around the bangs. And where the face turns into shadow is also important. Your shadows follow the form, which is good, but they don't all seem consistent with the light position.

It kind of feels like the face is lit by a tiny firefly in front of the face. But I think you're going for light from below.

That being said, i do think the colors could be tweaked. to make it all make sense, everything in the light needs to take the light source color. So we shouldn't see blue-grey teeth if the light is warm.

I'm not sure if i can paint over it well enough to really show you. Lighting from below is pretty tricky, and this is a stylized head.

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:42 pm
by DarkLored123
Josephcow wrote:See with your example, i really don't think the problem is the color. My initial reaction is to lighten and saturate the shadow. But this doesn't really fix the problem, which is where the shadows are. In the attachment I feel like this is more like what we're used to seeing, but it's not necessarily that much better.

Spoiler: show
Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 6.14.22 PM.png


You mentioned that maybe not so much of the face would have the shadow and I think you're right. And i think your blending is good.

Cast shadows should always be cast away from the light source. You have some cast shadows cast toward the light source. Like around the bangs. And where the face turns into shadow is also important. Your shadows follow the form, which is good, but they don't all seem consistent with the light position.

It kind of feels like the face is lit by a tiny firefly in front of the face. But I think you're going for light from below.

That being said, i do think the colors could be tweaked. to make it all make sense, everything in the light needs to take the light source color. So we shouldn't see blue-grey teeth if the light is warm.

I'm not sure if i can paint over it well enough to really show you. Lighting from below is pretty tricky, and this is a stylized head.


I have tweaked it a bit and it is much better, but I still fail to evoke the same quality or feeling rather as the examples above have.

Spoiler: show
Image


I've saturated the shadows a bit more, but it doesn't seem right at all or rather not as appealing as the ones shown above.

Here is another example that works a bit more with the lighting situation I am trying to create.

https://kyuriin.deviantart.com/art/Shiki-709516463

I am trying to aim for something that is shaded in a proper manner, but is still clearly visually appealing like the illustration examples I've showed you. However, I simply have a hard time evoking the same appearance, I am not sure with whether the problem lies with the way I blend the colors in or otherwise, but what I am aiming for also is to have my cast shadows maintain hard edges but still blend well with the midtone color.

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:18 pm
by Josephcow
Yeah I think you might just need more practice with lighting. Try adding shadows to more simply constructed objects to reveal where there might be gaps in your knowledge.

In this update the colors look better, but the bluish reflected light seems implausible because the hair would block whatever is causing that.

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:41 pm
by Ambiguity
I agree with Joseph in that this is not simple to explain. If you think about this in terms of the Photoshop color picker, for a realistic image you always move down and to the right for a shadow color that isn't being affected by a secondary light source of the opposing temperature(color pick a few images to see this for yourself). So according to Photoshop(or whatever digital program you use), shadows are technically almost always more saturated than the light. However, in tradtional terms, because of the nature of mixing pigments and the fact you're adding "black"(although there is no one type of black pigment), you're technically always desaturating your shadows.
Image

So why do they say the midtones are the most saturated? It has to do with intensity of light, since the brightest a light can be is white, you're always adding some a bit of white to the brightest portion of the object(in most cases you shouldn't be painting actual white on objects though), thus you are also desaturating the light. So that only leaves the half touched area of the light side of an object where there is enough light to show the local color, but no so much light that it washes out the color identity completely.

All of this is assuming we're talking about the most neutral settings like a white light on a completely matte surface, with no strong bounce lights(more than space, less than a reflector). When you start adding more lights of varying temperatures and complex materials that are high gloss and translucent, things can get pretty crazy to calculate.

Some good crash courses on color and light:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjagWLh4bw4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1p6vylZSO8

Under what conditions are shadows more saturated than light?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:19 pm
by Kam
Really useful stuff here, I always got confused with color and light with the relatively forced idea of desaturating shadows, while I've seen it in real life and in artwork it's something I haven't really been capable of working out, I'm not experienced with color nor understand it well so what generally works the best for me is saturating shadows but if there is some secondary light (e.g. blue light on skin) I kinda try to use the basics of how colors affect each other and it sorta works (sometimes), I think the best way to get better at painting is to do studies and analyze other artists' works and real life.

Color picking other artwork and making swatches of what you see can kinda help but it's gonna be hard to replicate the painting style unless you can make a good guess on how they painted it, I recommend watching painting processes on Youtube, it helps me a lot.

Some people say work from dark to light and some say light to dark but what I found better is to work with the midtone or close to midtone color (some consider this the local value) so at the end it boils down to studying and experimenting and finally applying it, as it's already been pointed out color theory is incredibly complex but you can get away with incorrectness as long as things look nice.