final composition course assignment -problems with colors!



  • @arielg

    The best colour combinations you have in this image are in the grass, shadow of the tree and tree trunks because they are harmonious in their tones. If you bring everything else in the foreground into that same colour relationship they will appear as though they belong to the same space (affected by the same atmosphere - light and shadows). Just remember that anytime you break that pattern, like by introducing a contrasting tone you are going to draw the eye to it so you need to wield that power with purpose and intention to tell the viewer where to look. The background hills are really eye-catching because they are so highly saturated and the bushes at the front are heavy and dominating because the colours are dark in a saturated tone - they look like they belong in a different picture.

    As for the Salamander he is very bright considering he is in the shadow of the big tree, you could tone him down a lot by using the red that you used for the shadow on his body then deepen the shadow with a purple red. Also his expression is getting lost because his head is overlapping his body. I would lengthen his neck out to make it a clearer silhouette against the grass.
    The log he is on could also do with more colours to show shadow in the grooves of the bark texture and the hollow in the middle.

    The bison looks more like a house to me, perhaps bring in down onto the hillside and have him grazing or standing in a more recognisable silhouette. He is also looking ginormous in scale, not sure if that is part of the story.
    The rocks give a good sense of depth because of size variation but they look very tidy and uniform, perhaps have some spilling towards us and into the forest behind the main tree. The perspective of the trees are at odds with the hills in the background/horizon like they’re all falling over, I would straighten them and also vary the way they lean so it looks like natural growth.



  • @Lovsey thank you! great feedback!composition final color fixes 1.0.jpg

    I'll get to redrawing later on, just had some spare time to play around with the saturation..

    thanks again guys!



  • @arielg Great! It’s looking so much more cohesive already. Just toning down the colours has completely changed the way my brain can see what is happening in the image: my eyes go straight to the yellow squirrel and then to where he is looking (the salamander).



  • @Lovsey you did it my friend, the credit is all yours. i've learned something.



  • @arielg 😁 Happy to help in any small way - you did the hard part!



  • I have a question though, which sounds to me alot like mixing audio:
    i feel like i have lost the "quality" of each color I de-saturated, like its essence to the expense of the whole.

    are we all sure that's what it takes-to lower saturation, and to lose the liveliness?or perhaps the color picking is the real issue?

    in mixing, you use equalizers to lower the audio parts that are making the mix more muddy, or that are lost in clarity, and you lower certain frequencies to make the whole mix clearer. i had problems in that field too... I feel like if the performance is great, then everything else falls in place.. but i don't know what it means technically



  • @arielg said in final composition course assignment -problems with colors!:

    I have a question though, which sounds to me alot like mixing audio:
    i feel like i have lost the "quality" of each color I de-saturated, like its essence to the expense of the whole.

    are we all sure that's what it takes-to lower saturation, and to lose the liveliness?or perhaps the color picking is the real issue?

    in mixing, you use equalizers to lower the audio parts that are making the mix more muddy, or that are lost in clarity, and you lower certain frequencies to make the whole mix clearer. i had problems in that field too... I feel like if the performance is great, then everything else falls in place.. but i don't know what it means technically

    I’m not entirely sure I understand your question but I’ll try to answer...if you’re asking if you have to avoid saturated colours to make a pleasing image, of course not. Part of colour composition is personal preference and there is a place for bright colours when done well, like in more graphic or editorial illustration and in children’s books when it suits and doesn’t distract from communicating the story. Lots of highly saturated colours can convey a bright, sunny, positive, cartoony world (perhaps the ‘liveliness’ you’re talking about) that is especially attractive to very young children. But like in music, it’s about balance between the colours - the different notes, rhythms, instruments all complimenting one another so that they sound pleasing and like they belong together in a song. The craft is revealed in the artist directing and managing the balance of all the levels and it takes many years of training and practise to develop proficiency in any craft.

    Colour picking is usually the issue, the more one learns about colour theory and the more they practise painting and experiment with colour mixing, the easier it will be to pick the right colour levels on the first go without having to desaturate and repaint so much along the way. Doing greyscale value studies to find the light, mid and dark tones before you begin can help direct colour selection because you’ll know where the light is coming from and where the focus should be. I haven’t done it yet but Will Terry’s class on Choosing Colors for Storytelling might be helpful for you.

    Also in this particular work, you can add in saturation through lighting - for example the salamander’s face is entering the sunlight so you can brighten the red to show that light and add highlights in the same or similar tones on other parts of his skin to unify and add form.



  • yes i did that with the face. but i should make it more saturated..!
    thanks again, yes, its a craft. don't know why i thought it would be easy heh...
    well i didn't know it'll be this hard perhaps. but yeah, there's a learning curve for everything, and i haven't really practiced that so yeah.



  • @arielg i think you may be better off thinking less about colour, and more about light. Think in terms of value, then you will realise that colour is actually a lot less important than you think. Get the value right, and you can pretty much use whatever colour you want, within reason.

    The colour of your object is a combination of the local colour (a red salamander) and what ever colour you shine on it. If you shine a bright blue light on a red salamander, in a pitch black room, it will certainly not appear red.

    Watch this video, it will change your life!

    https://youtu.be/_fyo_cHVlFg



  • @gavpartridge hi
    im sure there's alot i dont know in terms of color/light/shading, since i havent taken the time with it. i will get to this foundation later on, even though i see it has a big impact on composition.

    thanks for the video and the suggestion



  • @gavpartridge
    great video, indeed it opened up new worlds for me, but also many questions hehe.



  • composition final assignment.jpg

    unfinished, but what do you think now of the colors and shades...cool warm...saturated..i don't know alot, but i experimented...



  • @arielg Hi so I have only read some of the previous posts. I use colour sparingly, because I am not that great with it but I love it. If you haven't taken Lee's Light and Shadow class I think it would really benefit you, especially understanding local colour, local tone and setting up light on dark, dark on light (as in darker characters on lighter backgrounds, vice versa).

    After all that said I realize you are focusing on composition. I don't understand why there are green hills and blue sky on one side and a extreme jump in colour of oranges and yellows on the right. I don't know terrain to change that abruptly personally. Colour wise I also get easily distracted by the vibrant lush green bushes on the right side (front and middle). If you made the yellow grass/ground a more saturated green than the background, I think that would avoid the separation of the colours in the back, emphasis the yellow squirrel (right now it's getting lost from all the yellow around) and then the salamander might think he can slither away and hide with the green surroundings.
    Just a thought.

    I know people have suggested in other threads to find a colour pallete in other people's work and borrow from them the type of mood/feeling you want.

    🙂



  • @Heather-Boyd
    well these weird choices are because i have no idea in colors.
    i dont understand that there shouldn't be an odd jump in colors 🙂 i mean in the sense that you've said.

    perhaps i will just redo the whole thing again..heh, redraw the whole thing and think over the composition again. no one commented on my first black and white, so i thought it was ok...

    the weird reasoning behind that terrain change and bushes are to focus the eye over the middle(hence the darker green) and also to try and create rotating eye focus. but i think that didn't work. also, I dont know how the light will work under foilage of forest. so i thought it will be easier with the salamander at the edge of a forest. but yeah. its kinda silly composition wise.


  • SVS OG

    @arielg hi! I just got the time to reply to your post. Ok, so before I go to your colors, I would first like to tackle your composition. I'm a bit strapped for time so I just wrote on your work instead of typing.

    Ariel G critique.jpg


  • SVS OG

    @arielg if I were to redraw it, this what I'll do. Disclaimer: there are other maybe even better ways to go about this. This just my personal take on it.

    1. i suggest simplifying your horizon line.
    2. enlarge you characters for easier read
    3. exaggerate your character's expressions
    4. bring your salamander to the fore ground and give it a darker value compared to the rest of the piece.
    5. move squirrel more to right to align with rule of thirds
    6. simplify whole piece to convey story quicker.

    Ariel G critique a.jpg



  • first, thanks so much for taking the time.
    I will read it(i've drawn this before reading your post)
    this was drawn with fingers. I dont feel i'm making progress heh... i dont know how to make the face of the salamander so big without sticking to the story where you can feel she's scurrying on the forest floor.
    and also if she is escaping the "evil" squirrel he shouldbnt be that close, so his face is afar, hence you can't really see the expression..?

    I mean your composition is clear but i'm not sure it covers the forest floor from the story, it seems as if it was convenient that your salamander went abit up hill to emphasize a closer face.
    @Nyrryl-Cadiz copm. final 2nd idea.jpg


  • SVS OG

    @arielg Hi! So what is your whole story? Your initial piece does not convey a lot to us viewers. You've only given us bits and pieces here and there. So what is really happening here? Why is the evil squirrel chasing the salamander? There's a huge gap in this tale.

    Despite being far away, you still need to show clearly your squirrel's expression. It's a huge piece of your narrative. Otherwise, viewers will read your piece differently. Lastly, the salamander I drew is not on a hill but on a log like your initial piece.



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz
    hey, thanks again, for taking the time with me. i'm abit difficult maybe.
    but that whole slamander deal isn't my story at all. that was final assignment of creative composition course. he gave us 25 items to pull on the drawing and then gave us this phrase as a goto to composite : " quickly the little salamander scampered down on the forest floor and hid from the squirrel"

    so i'm basing this on that.
    I thought somehow poeple commenting on this would know the course. but not neccesarily important to me obviously, if they know composition



  • @arielg said in final composition course assignment -problems with colors!:

    he gave us 25 items to pull on the drawing and then gave us this phrase as a goto to composite : " quickly the little salamander scampered down on the forest floor and hid from the squirrel"

    Hi so let's say this was for one of svs monthly contests -it's a prompt, yes. I think @Nyrryl-Cadiz means as I interpret it, develop a story around this prompt. Ask yourself questions like why is he/she running/hiding from the squirrel? 1. Maybe it's a friendly game of hide and seek, 2. Maybe the squirrel is on a hunt, 3. Maybe the salamander did something to irritate the squirrel, and the squirrel is going to level the playing field, so to speak. It may not be your prompt but make it into a story you want to tell, with characters that you want us to connect with.

    I did work on this class but never put in the time to do the final assignment -I will get back to it as I go through the curriculum -so I understand the homework assignment. Maybe avoid the colour altogether and do a black and white one again, focusing on the composition, getting in those "25 things" to tell your story and getting your values right and then move to colour slowly or return to colour when you get through one of svs colour classes.

    People may not reply as soon as we would like, but keep working towards your goal and take care of what people have already said. 🙂


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