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msoshu
06-12-2015, 11:15 AM
Novice question.
I am trying to make a 9 step value scale. From what i have read, the gradation has to be even. In Charles Slovek's "Paint Anything", the value scale shows a steeper change in value from 9 (black) to 8 than in the other steps. The grey scale by Schmid seen online also shows the same kind of 'jump' . Is it just my eyes?

I thought that it may be because, the gradations in the lighter values are more visible. If i mix small steps in the darker greys the distinction seems to be lost when seen from a distance.

So, some guidance please? Equal steps or more steps in the lighter values?

cinderblockstudios
06-12-2015, 12:31 PM
Personally I'd suggest working from light to dark, it's easier to do that than try and keep mixing lighter and wasting paint.

cliff.kachinske
06-12-2015, 03:51 PM
The gray scale is a useful exercise, but I wouldn't worry too much about the equal interval issue. You have already grasped the important point, which is that thethe border between adjacent colors disappears if the tonal values are too close.

As I'm sure you're aware, the gray scale is just an arbitrary selection of grays from the whole range of grays from photographic black to photo white. Equal intervals come into play because each step on the scale is exactly one f-stop away from neighboring steps.

There are many possible reasons for what you are seeing. One is your vision, of course n but others include printing problems or problems with the master.

Mike L
06-12-2015, 04:27 PM
Like you, I'm a novice. Well, probably not that good, yet, but working on it in baby steps. :lol:

I haven't seen the book, so I can't comment on the image. However, I do know that what/how you see any image subjective. I have a gray scale & value finder I bought from Jerry's because I was having (and still have) the same kind of issue - how much "space" from one value to the next.

My scale goes from black/darkest to white/lightest with darkest getting a numerical title/name of 1 and the lightest a numerical name of 10. Going by the number designating each value (10-1) the implication is that there is a 10% shift from one value to the next, but 10% of what? Not all colors lend themselves to that kind of mathematical precision.

I do think, at least for me, it simply seeing the difference. When painting, the artist should do her/his best to match the values seen in the subject. If you see a larger difference between one value and the one next to it than you do between another value and its neighbor, then that is what you see and what you should paint.

When making your own scale having something to refer to is more than handy of those of us without enough experience to just know how much paint to add. I mix the lightest and compare to the chart - if my eyes say I'm close I move on to the next. If my eyes don't tell me I'm not close I adjust and then move on. A technique that I use for viewing is to hold the scale at arms length and at least that far from the image (in this case a smudge of paint on the pallet).

All that said, I'm sure more experienced artists have better answers, but this one is working for me right now. Hope it helps you a bit, too.

I agree wholeheartedly with cinderblocksstudio - mix the lightest value first and slowly add the dark. If done in reverse a whole lot of white will be used than is necessary.

R/Mike

cliff.kachinske
06-12-2015, 05:22 PM
Mile, you've done photography so you may know about Ansel Adams' s zone system. This is the same thing.

But here's something else to think about. The paint will darken as it dries. Some paint will shift more than one step on the scale.

The gray scale is a good idea, but more importantly step back and make sure you can actually see that exquisite branch you just painted. Maybe give it a minute or two for the color finish shifting.

msoshu
06-12-2015, 10:18 PM
I feel that in the value scales I mentioned which were my references to make my own, the middle value actually leans towards the lighter side. In a practical way this seems to make sense too. Though many steps can be mixed in the darker values, they loose their definition when viewed from a distance.
Your answers have made things clearer, thanks cinderblockstudios, StumbleFingers and Mike L. As you point out, ultimately it is subjective and individual perception is what you go by, but till I reach that level I do need some crutches :)

Jon Bradley
06-13-2015, 05:03 AM
I have a more simplified stance with values you might get something out of. I always reserve the darkest and second lightest (that's 2), I know there's a mid tone (1), there is likely a lighter and or darker variation of that mid tone (another 2-if even more variation then, 2 more) and finally a highlight if needed (1.)

My personal draft style if to piece in some absolute darks, key in the rest with a mid tone and adjust the relation of the two from there. Inset some lights and form the image. That usually does about all the heavy lifting.

msoshu
06-13-2015, 07:39 AM
Jon Bradley: Thanks for your answer. That works out to 2-3 steps between white(highlight) and midgrey, 1-2 steps between midgrey and black(darkest)?

Before getting answers to this post, i thought the midvalue grey was somewhat fixed, whatever scale you used. Value scales are not locally available to me for purchase.

Andrew
06-13-2015, 08:30 AM
The bigger jump you see, may be your perception. Like colours we all see value slightly different and you may be able to see certain set of values cleaner than others.

As far as mixing grey scale, what worked for me was starting with a basic value triad of lightest light (white), darkest dark (black), and a mid-tone grey. This worked for me as I can readily discern that mid range. Then working light to dark I just keep mixing successive mid values until I complete the whole value scale.

I did not only the full value scale (9 or 10 depending on the instructor/author) but also a 5 value range and a 7 value range scale. For studies and plein air work I try to keep to a 5 value range, and in the studio, I have found a 7 value range to be more than sufficient in most cases.

Andrew

msoshu
06-13-2015, 09:30 PM
Andrew: My problem is that the mid value between white and black that looks in the 'middle' to me is darker than the one in my reference value scale, by Charles Sovek found here - http://www.sovek.com/view/basics/tone/01.htm

Glean
06-14-2015, 01:38 PM
One thing you might be running up against is the limitations of printing and/or screen display. Print often has trouble with detail in the darks. I wouldn't worry too much about making your scale match a reference scale exactly. Not only will the way the original is displayed make a difference, but stuff like having a different kind of black/white pigments etc have slight differences as well. It's probably better on just making a scale that will work for you with your paints. Small changes from a "true" scale wont look out of place as long as they aren't real lopsided. At 9 steps, with just a fraction of a step being off, (ie step #8 being 10% off = like 1% of the total scale) your getting into the range where a slightly different blend of cloth or something like a bit of wax on your apple will have a bigger effect than the scale. So I doubt that the one step is bigger than the others on purpose, but if you were to use the scale exactly as it is I would think it would still work well I would guess.

Dcam
06-14-2015, 01:56 PM
Making value scales or color charts will make you good at filling in little squares or shapes. Limited learning.
Working from full value black and white photos and trying to match the values or (colors) will give you a better "painting experience".
Try working on a van gogh or cezanne (black and white image).

More valuable to my students who used to hate the "scales".

Just my humble "teacher" opinion. I DO love Schmid though.

Derek

Andrew
06-14-2015, 02:04 PM
Making value scales or color charts will make you good at filling in little squares or shapes. Limited learning.
Working from full value black and white photos and trying to match the values or (colors) will give you a better "painting experience".
Try working on a van gogh or cezanne (black and white image).

More valuable to my students who used to hate the "scales".

Just my humble "teacher" opinion. I DO love Schmid though.

Derek

Which is perfect. value studies is exactly what I did to learn and control value. Still go back to it occasionally when there is something I find niggling at me that is not quite right in a piece. Still did the scale, to use as a continuing reference, as well as Schmid's colour charts and the value chart that compares tube colour, as well as tints and shades to the value scale. They helped train my eye, but doing monochrome master copies and field value studies allowed me to apply that knowledge.

Andrew

Mike L
06-14-2015, 04:35 PM
Andrew: My problem is that the mid value between white and black that looks in the 'middle' to me is darker than the one in my reference value scale, by Charles Sovek found here - http://www.sovek.com/view/basics/tone/01.htm

Hope you don't mind me jumping in here since you addressed your comment towards Andrew, but I had a thought. Are you painting on a similar neutral gray background (which will end up being the mid value of your scale) as in your reference scale or on white? The high level of contrast between white and black could be what you're perceiving.

R/Mike

Valri Ary
06-14-2015, 07:55 PM
Yet another thing I have never done!
I'm not sure I will either BUT I love watching other people do cool stuff like this.

msoshu
06-15-2015, 06:32 AM
I have not yet done any proper value study, this is my first step to learn, so thanks for the input from all you experienced artists. I am still working on it, judging the swatches I mix from a distance as well and adjusting the steps.

I saw a screen version of Denman Ross 9 step value scale which seems closer to how I thought equal steps would be! But right now I am working with the 'lighter' mid value. While adjusting the greys I suddenly grasped what Stumblefingers meant by 'arbitrary values'. So I will keep on at it, and maybe grasp some more ideas.

Mike L: I try my greys on a white copy paper but I hold the swatch close to the printed version of Sovek's scale to compare :)

msoshu
06-18-2015, 05:04 AM
Here is the 9 step value scale that I made, and a 5 step one using the same (1,3,5,7,9) values. I used acrylic craft paint, white and black.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jun-2015/1963949-val9.jpg

Some of the value patterns I made, using values 1,5,9 and 2,5,8++ (black is 9 ).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jun-2015/1963949-pattern01.jpg