color, color tone, phantone, paint, architecture, interior, mood board, finishes, wall, wood,

Thursday, 28 January 2010

What is Chromatic Black?

Experiments mixing chromatic black
Chromatic black is a mixed paint color that looks black but doesn't contain any blackpigment in it. None of the pigments in a chromatic black mix have a PBk (Pigment Black)Color Index. Instead, a chromatic black is created by mixing dark versions of other colors, typically a red and green or blue and red.

Why Use Chromatic Black?
Given how easy it is to squeeze paint out of a tube, why would you bother mixing up a substitute for black? It's partly the fault of the Impressionists (such as Renoir and Monet) and statements they made about shadows not being black and how it should never be used (although most of them did at some stage or other).

It's partly because using too much black to darken colors easily results in muddy colors. This is especially true amongst beginners, so some art tutors find it easiest to ban black altogether. It's partly because black can be a very flat and dull color. And it's partly because a chromatic black is a more complex, interesting color, with a subtlety that straight black

Recipes for Chromatic Black

Experiments mixing chromatic black

What pigments you use to create a chromatic black is not a question of right or wrong colors, but experimenting with various options until you find a combination you like. Start by mixing in equal proportions, but be sure to also try mixes that aren't equal, so you've a 'black' that leans towards a color.

  • Basic Complementary Colors: Your darkest green + darkest red (check the paint tube labels to ensure there isn't any black in a color, for instance a cadmium red deep.
  • Perfect Complementaries (according to Robert Gamblin): Quinacridone red + phthalo emerald.
  • The Deep Purple Recipe: Your darkest blue + darkest red
  • Art Teacher Jim Meaders: Prussian blue + alizarin crimson + and an earth color.
  • Warm + Cool: Any two deep, dark colors with one warm and the other cool.

A quick way to see whether your chromatic black has a bias towards one color or another, is to mix a little into some white. You'll immediately see if the grey has a pink (or green, or something) tinge to it, or not. Alternatively, scrap a little bit smooth with a painting knife to reveal the undertone.

Ready-Made Chromatic Black:
If you don't like mixing colors and would rather buy a tube of chromatic black, as far as I know Gamblin is the only paint company that sells one. Gamblin makes an oil chromatic black using PG36 and PV19 (phthalo green and quinacridone red). (Buy Direct)

Example of Chromatic Black in a Painting

Chromatic black painting project

In the painting shown here, artist Jön Otterson has used chromatic black for shading and texture, as well as blended with other colors to darken or gray them. He said: "This is my favorite way to use chromatic black." It's not hard to see why: the colors harmonize beautifully, there's a color unity across the composition, and a range of tones.

Painting tip: Jön used drafting tape (similar to masking tape) for blocking out the tree trunks while he painted the background. If you want straight lines, tape is easier than masking fluid.

While the January 2010 Painting Project was about using chromatic black to dominate a painting, in 'normal' circumstances you'd use it as you would any other color, where suitable and as little or much as appropriate.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Color, Tone and Contrast

Before really diving into this topic, I want to take a moment to talk about your intent when taking pictures. When you’re taking a picture, ask yourself, “What is this a photo of?” Once you know the answer, whether it’s and object, a person, an emotion, a mood, etc., you can use the tips and tools in the Professional Photos section of the blog to help you achieve that intent.

In this post, I am going to focus on the main compositional elements—color, tone and contrast—and how you can use them to create the photo you intended.

Color plays an important role in your overall composition, and understanding it can help you improve the quality of your photos. If you look at a color wheel, you’ll see a great guide to contrasting colors, which are those opposite one another on the wheel. One of the easiest color contrasts to play with are oranges and blues, and reds and greens, so think of these contrasting colors when you’re composing your kids in their brightly colored clothes playing in grass. It’s a simple formula, but having the contrasting colors really adds an aesthetic element to the final shot.

Chiaroscuro 4

For this post, the definition of tone refers to shades from dark to light. Tone is important both when shooting in color and in black and white as well as with subjects that have a lot of black, gray or light in them. A great photo can be all one color, as seen in the Pro Shots photo below, with just tones from dark to light separating the texture and subject. Tone is often associated with mood, so if you’re trying to communicate a certain mood through your photos, explore the realm of tone to convey your intention.

Contrast is best explained by its extremes. Extremely high-contrast photos have a lot of white and black and very little (or nothing) in between. Extremely low-contrast photos have no distinct white or black but instead an overall gray or even color scheme. What can contrast do for a photo? Well, Ansel Adams made his mark by mastering contrast and the tonal scale with his famous images. When you look at his photos, they “pop” thanks to the contrasting and tonal elements.

Chiaroscuro 3

Contrast is one of the easiest things to check for with a digital camera. If your camera offers a histogram view, look for rises on both the left and right side of your histogram—this indicated that you have some contrast in your photo. If you see a big peak in the middle of your histogram but nothing to the right or left, then you’re lacking contrast. Remember, if you don’t have a histogram view on your camera, you may have one on your digital photo/editing software.

Chiaro-who? Chiaroscuro is an Italian word meaning “clear-dark,” which is a fancy way of explaining the combination of color, tone and contrast to make really pleasing photographs.

Once you know what you’re looking for, Chiaroscuro is easy to recognize. A good example of this technique is a window-lit person, where one side of the face is well lit but the light falls off rather dramatically on the other side of their face and the remainder of the room, or a patch of foliage lit by the sun breaking through trees above but the remainder of the forest behind it is in darkness. Another great place to see examples of Chiaroscuro is in Hollywood, such as The Godfather trilogy.

Chiaroscuro 1

Now that you know the elements for creating stunning compositions, we want to see what you can do. Share links to your photos in the comments section that exemplify color, tone, contrast or Chiaroscuro!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Photoshop Tips - Changing Color Tone South Dakota

Photoshop has come to be synonymous with photo editing. Indeed the name is sometimes informally used as a verb. For manipulating images, there is nothing like the options offered in Photoshop. Changing the color tone of your photos is one of the easier types of editing you can do in this application.

Photoshop has come to be synonymous with photo editing. Indeed the name is sometimes informally used as a verb. As in: "I'll photoshop you into the picture so that it looks like you were also there..." For manipulating images, there is nothing like the options offered in Photoshop. Changing the color tone of your photos is one of the easier types of editing you can do in this application. The guidelines given below apply to Adobe CS3 edition of the software.

  1. Open the photo in the application. Photoshop supports various digital image formats so this shouldn't be a problem. You can launch the program first then locate and load the photo or you can directly go to your photo image file, right click on it and choose 'Open with.' Choose Photoshop among the various possible programs listed in the contextual menu. This procedure applies to Windows-based PCs. You can actually simultaneously open several photos in Photoshop but you can only edit them one at a time. If you're editing more than one photo and want to apply a uniform color and tone change, it might be a good idea to write down the settings you will apply.
  2. Lower the photo's color saturation. The particular photo you wish to edit should be displayed in the application's main window. Go to the toolbar menu on top and click on 'Image.' On the drop-down list, click on the 'Adjustments' option. Another list will appear beside it, this time choose 'Hue/Saturation'. The pop-up window that will appear will contain three items with sliders and input box. Move the slider under Saturation towards the left to decrease the image color. Alternatively, you can type a negative number in the input box. You'll see the real-time effect of the changes you make on the photo in the main window. Click on OK once you achieve the desired result. Decreasing color saturation prepares the photo so that the color tone you'll add later on will dominate the image.
  3. Add a color tone. Once again choose 'Image' from the top toolbar menu and then 'Adjustments' from the drop-down list. From the secondary list, choose 'Variations' this time. This is found on the bottom of that list. The Variations window will appear. On it you'll see three sets of copies of the photo. We'll only be concerned with biggest set that contains seven copies of the photo taking up most of the window's space and the one in right pane that contains three copies of the photo. Six of the seven copies of the photo in the biggest set represents the various color tones you can apply, successively labeled 'More Green,' 'More Yellow,' 'More Cyan,' 'More Red,' 'More Blue,' and 'More Magenta.' Repeatedly clicking on one copy will increase the color tone it represents. The seventh copy located in the center is labeled 'Current Pick' and works as a preview. The set of three copies located in the right pane can be used to lighten or darken the chosen color tone. The copy located on top is labeled 'Lighter' and the one at the bottom is labeled 'Darker.' The one in the middle is again labeled 'Current Pick.' Repeatedly clicking on either 'Lighter' or 'Darker' will add the stated effect. Finally there is a small slider found in the upper right corner of this Variations window. One end of the slider is labeled 'Fine' and the opposite end is labeled 'Coarse.' This pushing the slider to either end adjusts how grainy the picture will be with the chosen color tone.

What changes you'll apply will ultimately depend on your taste. So the procedures stated above will actually involve a lot of experimenting. So that you don't get stuck with a result you're not completely satisfied with use the 'Save As' command to make a different edited version of the photo and keep the original photo in its initial color scheme.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Color, texture, pattern: Wallpaper is back in style

As with any home decorating choice, the popularity of wallpaper waxes and wanes with the styles of the day. But while paint can be simple or dramatic, wallpapers can add texture, decorating experts say.

Wallpaper has three functions, said Gretchen Kinne, a designer at Reno Paint Mart on East Moana Lane.

"One is to texture the wall," she said. "So, we have texturals that you can order that give the wall dimension. There are grass cloth, paintable textures and all kinds of three-dimensional products.

"Second is color coordination. You can start with the paper before you pick your paint," Kinne said. "Perhaps floral, for instance, if there's one tone (in the paper pattern) with vibrant contrasting colors, then you can pick the paint."

Finally, if you've just finished decorating a room and it needs a little nuance or accessorizing, wallpaper can furnish that final touch.

Wallpaper selection factors include not just color and pattern selections, but texture, durability, materials such as bamboo or grass paper, cleaning ease and water resistance.

To start, determine what room you're papering and if there are any special needs involved, Kinne said.

"If it's a kitchen or bathroom, consider washable or scrubbable paper, or paper that's resistent to water or is vapor-fast," she said. "If it's for something like a day-care center or hospital, you'd want anti-microbial and nonflammable paper."

If the paper is for a "period" house, such as an arts-and-crafts style of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, there are designs available specifically for the era, Kinne said.

Arlene Carter, a consultant at Fuller Color Center on South Wells Avenue, tries to get a feel for the personality and preferences of the person she's helping to choose a wallpaper.

"Color and pattern, it all comes again to knowledgeable people," she said. "I try to get a feel for the person.

"It's good to go to somone who will take the time to talk," Carter said.

Renee Lauderback, one of Kinne's customers, is remodeling her house now to include wallpaper.

(2 of 2)

"I was raised with wallpaper. We had it in almost every room of the house," she said.

"We got to pick (decor) for our bedrooms," she said. "Mine was orange shag (carpet), with fun wallpaper, a wild floral spead in hot pink and orange.

"As I matured, I went for colonial floral wallpaper. I love it," she said.

Now, she and her husband, Donald, are working with wallpaper, fabric and paint in their 1950s-era ranch-style house. They plan to paper bedroom and bathroom walls.

When shopping for wallpaper, bring to the store a color sample from walls, furniture or carpet or any item to be matched, Kinne said. A designer can help with pattern and color choices. Her company also can provide a list of local wallpaper hangers.

"We tell people to get more than one estimate," she said.

Many papers are prepasted, Carter said. Look for sturdier papers for kitchens and bathrooms.

Some paper manufacturers can provide samples that customers can take home and try out on a wall, she said. And professional wallpaper hangers can help determine how much paper to order.

Now the trend seems to be to bolder colors and patterns, she said. Black and white are big. Specialized coverings include grass cloth and bamboo and fabric of all types. "Green" products are breaking out with recycled products and wallpapers that don't give off chemical fumes.

"I think that trend will grow," Carter said. "We're seeing a little bit of that."

It's even possible to have a personalized design made, Kinne said.

"It's not cheap, but all art can be reproduced," she said.

Wallpaper prices in the hundreds of sample books Kinne stocks can vary from $30 or so a roll up to several hundred dollars a roll.

"Some (samples) will knock your socks off," she said.

Before shopping, think about the square footage of the room and draw it out, Kinne said. Remember that each pattern repeats and a little paper is lost with the application of each strip. Wallpaper patterns repeat over and over again and how the pattern is arranged will determine how the final project looks and how much paper it will take to complete it.

Decide what the wallpaper is going to highlight, Carter said.

"What do you want in (the room)? What will you showcase?" she said. "In the bedroom, maybe you're showcasing a bedspread and you do not want a paper to take away from other things. Lots of time, you just want the walls to complement something."