Values ok?

  • Pro SVS OG

    I've posted a WIP of this on the studio thread and I thought I'd post the final...for your eyes only, as this is technically client work.
    I like how it turned out but I'm wondering if there could be more value contrast? All the illustrations in the book are kept in a narrow value range, but I'm wondering if this is too complex for that. There is going to be text in the spaces left blank on the wall, newspaper and tablet.


  • The first thing I noticed that I would change is the chair color on the left. This character would be a good primary focal point, but the chair is too similar to in color and value to the sweater. Also, it appears your secondary focal point is the lady climbing the ladder? I would have given her a red or yellow sweater (something that pops).

  • @smceccarelli Beautiful colors! I think a shade darker in the foreground could make it look even better but I already like it as it is. If anything I think the only thing that could use some work is the girl on the ladder.

  • @jcantwellart oh no not the chair 😮 I love it the way it is! but yes may be change the color of the sweater or something

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli I'm not sure what the "narrow value range" allows you to do (or not do), but I do tend to like more contrast (overall, I really tend to like bold values & other attributes so perhaps I'm too bias that way).

    I pulled the image, turned it grayscale, and looked at the values in blocks (much like how @Will-Terry instructed in the 50-things challenge which you absolutely dominated! So good!). I would personally tend to like even stronger value contrast than my modified version, but I backed off due to the "narrow value range" restriction.


    You can probably achieve this quickly with Multiply(Darks) and Screen(Lights); though you'll probably have to reduce the saturation of the modifying layer and maybe even modify the overall hue.

    Hope these thoughts help - Had just a few min and figured I'd share.
    Regardless, wonderful work as always 🙂

  • @quietyell Nice! I like what the changes you've made. Definitely easier to read. I would still adjust the values on the ladder girl to make her stand out more. Also, that sweater is basically the same value as the chair. And I'd recommend throwing some additional light value on the face of that character with the scarf; one could argue that the light flowing in would bounce off that paper and onto the character's face. Just to up the contrast a bit.

  • Moderator

    I think that your values are good. Having a close value range tends to make colors pop anyway and your colors are beautifully bright. I think that maybe its too bright all over. And that may be causing your issue. Maybe reduce the saturation behind the girls head (book case) a little since she seems a major focal point. I love the colors on the boy so maybe lightening his shirt a little more to create a contrast between him and the chair. Maybe darken the side of the orange chair a teensy bit as well. And the teal chair in the front could stand a little darkening in value. I would leave the lady on the ladder alone.
    Please take all this with a grain of salt, because I think that your work is WAY better than mine. Good Luck! =)x

  • Pro

    @jcantwellart Your change in contrast is nice but the brightest place in the illustration becomes the hallway, which we have no reason to want to look at. I doesn't do any good to boost the contrast willy-nilly, it has to serve to attract attention to the places that are important!

    @smceccarelli I wonder if it's possible to change the color of the hair and sweater of the character reading the newspaper? If she's not a recurring chara, giving her dark hair and a blue sweater would really make her pop! Apart from that, it really is quite a busy image... It's gorgeous right now but I worry about when they add the text in! There will be no place for the eye to rest... I'm wondering if you really need that globe and the books on the floor - removing them might give you a little breathing room!

  • Moderator

    @nessillustration I was looking at that globe too. I love it, but I thought it might be good to move it over to the left a little. Block the eye from going off the edge there. But it may be too far along in the production to change that major feature. Its a great globe. The reflections in the metal stand! 👍👍=)x

  • Pro SVS OG

    Thank you all for taking the time and for excellent suggestions! Maybe I should have added that these are chapter openers and it´s a school anthology - so the characters have no relevance or continuity and there is no narrative element to the illustration (the brief for this is to represent “non-fiction”). Also, there shouldn’t be a too strong focal point in any of the illustrations - they´re more “Waldo-type” images. (hence the narrow value range). @jcantwellart @HeidiGFX very good point with the color of the sweater of the newspaper-character. The girl on the ladder falls into the gutter, so I would not give her any focal boost (actually, I reduced the contrast on her a lot), but yes a darker foreground is a good idea. @QuietYell thank you for the makeover! I like how you boosted the contrast on the girl in the foreground - I´ll do that in the edits. @burvantill you have a great point with the saturation being too high. Actually that´s probably the major problem and solving that will make tackling the values easier. @NessIllustration thank you for tuning in! The globe is actually completely covered by a huge text box in layout.... That´s actually a problem I’m having with text-heavy books now (I did quite a bit of those this year - school books and non-fiction). The illustrations look “incomplete” when they´re not in layout. So when I want to have a piece work for my portfolio (like in this case) I almost have a double design problem: to have the illustration work in layout and to have it work out of layout. This gives some wonky composition. When this one is in layout, the only thing you see are the three characters and some sense of the location. Most bookshelves are lost, as well as the complete bottom left section. I have three books like this in my hands right now, risking to work on some 40 illustrations or so and not have a single one that can stand by itself...

  • It looks to saturated to me, or the colors are competing with each other, I don't know...

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli Glad I could be of some help. To be clear, I did do this very quickly and just wanted to help show the image with the values popped a bit. I agree with a comment above that I probably popped the brights of the back hall too much (unless, of course, you wanted to impose a narrative, such as, "it was a normal day studying until a bright and magical light filled the dusty archive section" or if you wanted to convey the concept that these people should be spending time outside from where the light may be coming from — etc.). Currently, your newspaper's right side is the brightest spot with the hall and tablet about equal (I think the hall is a little bit brighter). My guess is that you'll probably want the tablet to be the brightest spot (partly because it is a light-oriented device, but perhaps also because seems intentionally different than everything else), which, having the darker foreground helps accomplish even more (i.e. darks make lights seem brighter) and will allow the girl to have all that contrast. I like that you have a lighter hall by comparison to the foreground; though, as mentioned, I probably picked up on that too much and made it brighter than need be.

    Re-working the composition of that many illustrations (or even a subset) is a whole bunch of work.... Might it be possible to apply similar text/design-to-illustration layout for your portfolio to show them in a similar context (like having an editorial & advertising illustration section — or perhaps a case study section where you collect all the image+text per project/client into a case study)? Or are you just wanting to have image only portfolio?

  • Moderator

    @smceccarelli But I love the bookshelves! 😜
    It’s a bummer that you can’t use the whole image in your portfolio, it’s obvious that a lot of work went into it. But, at least, there are great elements that you can use from it that will stand up on their own. 😃

  • Pro

    @smceccarelli That seems like a struggle 😨 Having to re-work every illustration to include it in your portfolio, or leave them out entirely...
    Is it possible to put them in your portfolio with the text in?

  • Pro SVS OG

    @nessillustration @QuietYell I'm not doing them all this way - only a few. I'm reluctant to include the layout into my portfolio unless it's very well done. Also, I mostly get only rough layouts to work with and I won't get to see the final layout until months after the illustrations are done...Maybe next year I'll have some worth including.

  • SVS OG

    @smceccarelli Yeah makes sense. I bet it will be interesting for you to see what they've done with the finals! If it's just a few, then it shouldn't be too much of an issue, particularly if you work in and keep key elements as layers, but even if not, you can probably copy/mask/paint to get things where you need them to be.

    btw, congratulations on all this work! 🙂

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