Monday, August 4, 2014

An easy way to do value studies.

I'm always advocating value studies in my classes and while I enjoy the mindless contemplative task of shading (usually I'm listening to an audio book, to be honest! currently Tartt's Goldfinch and hoping there's a happy ending but increasingly doubting the possibility)...eniow, while I don't mind shading away with my pencil almost horizontal, I know many find the task quite irksome.

So why not use Photoshop © or Photoshop Elements ©?  
This is what Susan Lane did in my Abstract Art for Quiltmakers class ( and everyone was admiring how crisp and clean her drawings looked.  

Here are the instructions (thank you Susan!)

1.   Draw the sketch using a bold dark line.
2.   Make sure all the corners and points where the lines connect are closed. 
        Otherwise color will leak from one area to another.
3.   Scan your drawing and save it to your computer as "Drawing 1" or,
          make a duplicate file, so that you can always go back to the original.
4.   Open the file in Photoshop
© or Photoshop Elements ©
5.   On the Toolbar (left side of screen), find the “color” tool, two overlapping boxes, one black and one white. The black should be on top. If it isn’t, click on the little double ended arrow, top right corner of the two boxes. This arrow switches the boxes.
6.   With
Black Square on top, you are ready to fill the black areas of your value study.
7.   Click on the “paint bucket” tool. This tool fills large areas. Now this tool often "hides" under other tools! On my (very old) PS, it is hidden under the Gradient tool which is a square that shades from dark to light.  In order to find the hidden tools, simply click and hold on any of the little icons - you'll be surprised what you find! The paint bucket tool looks like a little paint can spilling out.
8.   Now back to your drawing, click on the area you want to fill. The color tool shows that your current "color" is black so that is the color that will "fill" or "paint" or "shade" any area you click on. 
9. When you have shaded all the areas you want to be very dark with black, open the color picker box by clicking on the black box in the color tool.
13.   The “Color Picker” box will open. On the bottom right of the menu box is C Y M K with percentages.  These are the basic colors that put together in different mixes create all the colors in the program - similar to the ink cartridges in your printer: Cyan (blue), Yellow, Magenta and K (black).
14. Decide how many shades of grey you want in your drawing - how many different values.  You already have two with black and with white (for white of course, simply don't add any "color" to that area of the sketch). 
Set C, Y and M to zero, 0%
Now you can decide how dark you want your mid value - or values - to be.
If you only want one mid value, then set K to 50%.
For two mid values, I'd set it to 33%, fill those in, and then 66%.
In my example below I decided to have 5 values: white, 25%K, 50%K, 75%K and 100%K.
15.   So I set CYM to 0%, and K to 75% then clicked on OK at the top right of the menu.
This put me back to the drawing, and I filled all the areas I wanted to be medium dark.
16.  Back to color picker, and reset K to 50% for medium. then filled the medium areas.
17. Back to color picker and rest K to 25 % for medium  light. Then filled the med light areas.
Now I saved every step so that I could show you, but obviously you don't usually need to do that.
If you fill an area and then decide against it, just "Step Backward" i.e. Alt-Ctrl-Z.
Or you could refill with another value.

Here  is my basic drawing:
 Drawing 1, no values added
 Drawing 2, black added
 Drawing 3, medium dark and black added
 Drawing 4, medium, medium dark and black added
 Drawing 5, medium light, medium, medium dark and black added

Hope you have fun!!!
And, as always - if you have been, thanks for reading!!  And thank you to Susan.    Elizabeth


Linda said...

wow!!! Awesome! Thanks
I'm printing this one!!!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Excellent-thank you for sharing this! I'll have to try this for my future value sketches.

Connie in Alabama said...

Wonderful! I have done value studies using PowerPoint, which is much more tedious. Glad to learn how in PE. Just finished reading The Goldfinch last month.

Nina Marie said...

I bow to Susan's greatness. So thankful!!