We need to talk about some of our art terminoligy.

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Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
Hi everyone!

In my years as learning how to be an artist I've gotten really frustrated about how colour and light theory is taught. There is a ton of misinformation, contradictions, false correlations and outright disasters being taught.

I don't want to call out the dumb stuff here but one thing that i have realized over the years that the first step to fixing these things is to improve our terminology as artists, and so I have some suggestions about how we could actually improve the situation.



Suggestion 1: Lets split out colour theory from light physics.

The biggest thing that I see students struggle with is people mixing up the difference between colour theory and light theory.

Colour theory with how I define it. is a bunch of ideas that have been constructed by man to try and systematize how we see and feel about colour. It all exists in our head and to be truly understood you need to think of it as such.

Light physics on the other hand is just how electromagnetic waves work, it is simple physics and so much of it is mathematically elegant.

Now where it gets messy is deciding where we make the split, but my suggestion is that the term light physics should basically as far as you need to go to make a 3d renderer, whereas colour theory should touch anything to do with designing nice colour schemes, and terms such as colour harmonies.

Now an extra thing I would split out is paint chemistry, which is something that still messes with a lot of people. It doesn't relate at all to digital art, but then there is websites like http://realcolorwheel.com/ which mix all three of these things into a messy hard to understand blob.

Suggestion 2: Lets make the colour terms consistent.

Blue is used to describe too many colours, we have exact names for colours, we should actually teach them. This website provides arguments and the correct examples for colours and what they should be names and taught.

http://midimagic.sgc-hosting.com/pricol.htm

Suggestion 3: Stop teaching RYB as primary colours for traditional paint.

RGB is the light primary colours, CMY is your primaries when it is in traditional pigment image creation.

The problem is so bad that most crayon packs and poster paint packs lack magenta and cyan colours, and if they have cyan it's called cerulean blue.

This is the reason why all your colours were muddy when you were painting in primary school.

EDIT: Dammit it, misspelled terminology in the title.

Replies

  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 12
    Game artists don't need to know print color theory. I've never used any of my printing knowledge in my entire 20 year career. And who paints things with real paints anymore? you may as well be learning how to make egg tempera. (not that there's anything wrong with learning that if you're really into painting) And obsessing over names is silly. There's only three correct primaries:

    ff0000
    00ff00
    0000ff

    I'll leave it up to the reader to decide how to pronounce those...
  • DireWolf
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    It's not just print colour theory, it's working with any traditional colour medium.

    It's not about whether you use it as a game artist, it's about the fact that the wrong information is being taught from primary school through to fine arts colleges. Also, believe it or not, while game art is the focus here, it isn't everything that goes on here.

    Obsessing over colour names is not silly. Half the people i talk to think pink is magenta, and the other say it is desaturated red. The entire point is that these things are confusing to students, which can be hard to see once you have been working for a long time and you forget what it is like to be a student trying to work out how it works.
  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 5
    Pronounce them as Fuu, Ooffuu. and ooof, respectively ?

    Edit: Fk, got beaten by DireWolf
  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 12
    Muzz wrote: »
    It's not just print colour theory, it's working with any traditional colour medium.

    It's not about whether you use it as a game artist, it's about the fact that the wrong information is being taught from primary school through to fine arts colleges.

    Obsessing over colour names is not silly. Half the people i talk to think pink is magenta, and the other say it is saturated red. The entire point is that these things are confusing to students, which can be hard to see once you have been working for a long time and you forget what it is like to be a student trying to work out how it works.

    Nope the color names are silly. You're only very roughly describing the color space you're looking at and not all traditional mediums use only 4 colours as primaries. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexachrome
    with CMYKOG as the primaries.

    But to be truly accurate you should use CIELAB:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lab_color_space
    which only has L, A, &B as the primaries. This is the only color space that encompasses all the colour ranges of the others.

    If anything obsessing about names is what confuses the issue. A lot of the time I'm mixing colors using HSV color space anyway.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Lab is an artificial colour space designed to reproduce the entire colour gamut, and it only works digitally. It is not necessary to understanding light, especially as it confuses the matter for how colour works.

    In the simplest way to understand how our eyes work is through RGB light mixing. You are correct in saying that you can't reach the full colour gamut through CMY, this is of course true, and is the limitations of a system, however CMY is directly related to the RGB of our eyes and is the simplest way to think about colour mixing in paint in a far more correct way.

    You see there is an information resolution problem at play here, People like you will go deep into technicalities as soon as somebody mentions that we should chance the base level information to what is correct and provide that as some weird nihilistic reason as to not change it. Maybe you haven't tried to teach people about light and colour before, and seen the dumb things that people think because they were taught blatantly incorrect information at the start.

    Btw, how is wanting blue to only refer to blue and not cyan obsessing? Most non artists don't even know what cyan is.

    Do i need to start bringing up links to the countless incorrect art theory sites to prove that we have a problem? It's not about being accurate down to the wavelength, it's about providing practical information that doesn't need to be unlearnt as soon as a kid want's to learn how to paint properly.

    Instead of being a dick, how about actually providing a direct rebuttal as to why my suggestions would not help clear up how we teach colour and light?
  • Brandon.LaFrance
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    Brandon.LaFrance Polycount Sponsor
    http://www.huevaluechroma.com/

    This is far and away the best color-theory resource I have come across. There's enough there to satisfy traditional painters and digital artists.

    Don't think we're ever going to get all artists to agree on what to call any particular color. If accuracy and precision are your goals, its hard to beat HSV and RGB values.
  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 12
    Muzz wrote: »
    Lab is an artificial colour space designed to reproduce the entire colour gamut, and it only works digitally. It is not necessary to understanding light, especially as it confuses the matter for how colour works.

    In the simplest way to understand how our eyes work is through RGB light mixing. You are correct in saying that you can't reach the full colour gamut through CMY, this is of course true, and is the limitations of a system, however CMY is directly related to the RGB of our eyes and is the simplest way to think about colour mixing in paint in a far more correct way.

    You see there is an information resolution problem at play here, People like you will go deep into technicalities as soon as somebody mentions that we should chance the base level information to what is correct and provide that as some weird nihilistic reason as to not change it. Maybe you haven't tried to teach people about light and colour before, and seen the dumb things that people think because they were taught blatantly incorrect information at the start.

    Btw, how is wanting blue to only refer to blue and not cyan obsessing? Most non artists don't even know what cyan is.

    Do i need to start bringing up links to the countless incorrect art theory sites to prove that we have a problem? It's not about being accurate down to the wavelength, it's about providing practical information that doesn't need to be unlearnt as soon as a kid want's to learn how to paint properly.

    Instead of being a dick, how about actually providing a direct rebuttal as to why my suggestions would not help clear up how we teach colour and light?

    You're teaching a very rigid train of thought. Colourspaces change depending on the medium. People need to be able to adapt their thought processes to abstract concepts and not obsess over semantics.

    Cyan is only a kind of blue by the way. Blue is a category. The correct term is not just "cyan". You're thinking of process cyan if you mean the cyan from CMYK.
    http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/colorfinder.aspx?c_id=12023

    But to make things complicated Pantone use another blue because they found just using cyan doesn't give reliable colour matching. And it's called process blue but isn't dark like the RGB blue.
    http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/colorfinder.aspx?c_id=12016

    So a major ink manufacturer doesn't care about getting the names wrong either.
  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 12
    Muzz wrote: »
    Suggestion 1: Lets split out colour theory from light physics.

    Isn't that already the case? I know you said you didn't want to give examples in order not to shame anyone, but right now I'm not entirely convinced there is really a problem, here.

    Just to be clear: It certainly happens that they are taught together or in close succession but for me that doesn't mean they aren't seen and recognizable as two different concepts. It seems like you disagree on the latter.
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter lvl 10
    I dont agree that there is a difference between physics and the colour (color) systems we use. Light is at the heart of the additive and subtractive methods of using colour for production. Understanding why the sky is blue and sunsets are red is not confusing the matter. It's important that we know about the physical world and that the colour of things is not the colour that they are, but only the colour they reflect. I think sprunghunt's point about the various systems available for different uses is a pretty good one. These three pdfs are what I taught when I had to fill in for a drawing teacher. I put them on dropbox:

    light
    waves
    colour

    I missed sprunghunt's indexes, mybad!
    I applaud art discussions in GD, but people who disagree with you are vital to a discussion, otherwise you just end up with a statement, and that is a very different beast from a well rounded view!

    Cheerio

    Edit: I am just an amateur, I will wait for EarthQuake and Eric Ramberg to chime in with the good sauce :)
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    http://www.huevaluechroma.com/

    This is far and away the best color-theory resource I have come across. There's enough there to satisfy traditional painters and digital artists.

    Don't think we're ever going to get all artists to agree on what to call any particular color. If accuracy and precision are your goals, its hard to beat HSV and RGB values.

    Haha i actually have Briggsy on my facebook and i sometimes talk to him about colour stuff.

    Hue value chroma is the only source i can actually point people to without fear of it being incorrect. It's quite frankly awesome in the depth that briggsy has gone into, but he does have a serious problem of verbose writing and mixing it in with history making it one of the most dense and hard to read texts there is.

    You're teaching a very rigid train of thought. Colourspaces change depending on the medium. People need to be able to adapt their thought processes to abstract concepts and not obsess over semantics.

    Cyan is only a kind of blue by the way. Blue is a category. The correct term is not just "cyan". You're thinking of process cyan if you mean the cyan from CMYK.
    http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone...spx?c_id=12023

    But to make things complicated Pantone use another blue because they found just using cyan doesn't give reliable colour matching. And it's called process blue but isn't dark like the RGB blue.
    http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone...spx?c_id=12016

    So a major ink manufacturer doesn't care about getting the names wrong either.
    I think that there is a major misunderstanding that is going on here.

    Colour spaces exist as different methods to artifically create and mix colour to work with the human eye, but that does not change the fact that the human eye detects colour using RGB. In order to understand how light and colour mixing works you need to understand how additive RGB works, and subtractive CMY works, what is going on within these systems is directly mapable back to the physics of light.

    Colour spaces like LAB, are human invented systems to try and artificially emulate the full range of colours the eye can see, because of the limits of what visual colour mixing can do. Nobody paints with the LAB sliders, they may use the lab mode because it affects how the math works under the hood, but they will either be painting with the RGB sliders or HSV sliders.

    I'd eat my metaphorical hat if you used the lab sliders to do anything actually useful.

    Now in terms of Blue being a family of colours. I have never met a digital painter that talks like that, if i show them a COLOUR LIKE THIS, that is unambiguously cyan. Pretty much painters are already doing what i am suggesting, i just think it's a worthy point to mention as it is confusing to non artists. But the link i provided does a pretty damn good job at describing what i am talking about.

    I think that it is important to point out that most of the things i am talking about are in reference to painting and 2d image creation, as with 3d, the 3d software does mean you don't need to think about things like this with as much depth to make professional work.

    These three pdfs are what I taught when I had to fill in for a drawing teacher. I put them on dropbox:
    ObkvQmQ.png

    Why is the colour pdf teaching this? This is outdated information from the 17th century that doesn't have any relevance to our modern understanding of colour.

    These pdfs are really quite bizarre, and I'm trying to understand why the information has been laid out in the way it has been. It explains physics without providing context as to how it works with our visual system, or any visual examples showing their effects; it brushes over colour mixing and then dives straight into colour design without any distinction from the physics.

    But anyhow, the reason why i say that we need to separate light physics, and colour design; is because colour harmonies, choosing nice colour schemes and concepts such as contrast and readability have no descriptive properties towards how light works. Instead they are simply tools used to deconstruct images that we like so we can understand why we like them.

    To put is simply, why the sky is blue is light physics. Why wearing green and pink together is ugly is colour design.

    I'm pretty tired right now but i think I'm going to record a video in the morning to explain a bunch of things that should help explain what i am talking about here.
  • almighty_gir
  • blankslatejoe
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    blankslatejoe polycounter lvl 12
    I think you miswrote what's taught in "traditional art classes" in your first post..at least for me I was never taught that RGB were the primary colors of paint--that was always RBY in art class-YELLOW, not Green, being the third color...

    That makes THREE color spaces in this conversation, not two:

    RBY -traditional "gradeschool art" primaries
    RGB -light primaries
    CMY -print primaries

    But yeah, CMY is a larger gamut than RBY, so it should replace the "painter's primaries"

    ...but that said...I think it makes more sense for us, as digital game artists, to philosophically lean more on the additive light primaries as our "primary colors" than CMY...especially in these dark evil terrible black magic days of physically based materials.

    I mean, we live/work in an RBG world here, digitally.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Blankslate, No disagreements there. Though i do think it's very helpful to understand subtractive colour mixing, it is a part of the overall picture of how colour works, and it isn't really intuitive knowledge that mixing magenta and yellow makes red with paint.

    Good catch on the RBY, yes that should be phased out completely.

    Almighty, haha. :P. Though what im trying to do here is just get people to consolidate standards that already exist, and stop using outdated ones. I'm not inventing new information nor would i claim to.
  • Shrike
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    Shrike polycounter lvl 5
    I lold at http://realcolorwheel.com/
    Was this site createdwhen color theory first came up ? :P

    What I personally find very important is splitting up colors in their warm and cold shades.

    The difference between warm and cold of each primary or secondary color is very important and is specific enough to get a decent impression of what is meant.

    Per example, warm yellow is a color that fits very well with nearly every existing color, while cold yellow works with only select few, these distinctions are very important and frequently overlooked. Especially the yellow, green, blue hues.

    Talking about warmer or colder leads towards a predictable result if both persons know the color wheel or can be looked up in a second, while saying "less royal blue, more sea blue" etc is confusing, prone to error and requires tons of memorizing.

    Saturation and lightness should be known to anyone, so we only have to think about that one dimension, which is Hue, and rather easily described with this way of describing warm(er) and cold(er) without the need to recall special names aside of the basic ones. This does not work if you are a crayon manufacturer however and have to label your product somehow.

    Edit: Seems like everyone talks a bit about something different, or is it just me ?
  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 12
    Muzz wrote: »
    Haha i actually have Briggsy on my facebook and i sometimes talk to him about colour stuff.

    Hue value chroma is the only source i can actually point people to without fear of it being incorrect. It's quite frankly awesome in the depth that briggsy has gone into, but he does have a serious problem of verbose writing and mixing it in with history making it one of the most dense and hard to read texts there is.

    I think that there is a major misunderstanding that is going on here.

    Colour spaces exist as different methods to artifically create and mix colour to work with the human eye, but that does not change the fact that the human eye detects colour using RGB. In order to understand how light and colour mixing works you need to understand how additive RGB works, and subtractive CMY works, what is going on within these systems is directly mapable back to the physics of light.

    Colour spaces like LAB, are human invented systems to try and artificially emulate the full range of colours the eye can see, because of the limits of what visual colour mixing can do. Nobody paints with the LAB sliders, they may use the lab mode because it affects how the math works under the hood, but they will either be painting with the RGB sliders or HSV sliders.

    I'd eat my metaphorical hat if you used the lab sliders to do anything actually useful.

    I can just move the sliders around until I get a colour that looks like the one I want? it doesn't matter what colour space I'm using?
    Now in terms of Blue being a family of colours. I have never met a digital painter that talks like that, if i show them a COLOUR LIKE THIS, that is unambiguously cyan. Pretty much painters are already doing what i am suggesting, i just think it's a worthy point to mention as it is confusing to non artists. But the link i provided does a pretty damn good job at describing what i am talking about.

    I think that it is important to point out that most of the things i am talking about are in reference to painting and 2d image creation, as with 3d, the 3d software does mean you don't need to think about things like this with as much depth to make professional work.

    The digital painters I know who use CMYK are all print illustrators. So they mostly talk about color in pantone shades as that's the most popular colour system. While I understand that color is technically Cyan on my monitor it's a lot closer to pantone 230. Process blue, the blue you use to mix inks and paints, is a bit darker than that. Which is kind of my point. It's not about the name of the color as that changes.

    If you go and buy a basic oil painting set you might not get a CMYK set of colours. But that doesn't mean that the blue they give you isn't useful to mix colours. It might be called 'cerulean blue' like in this set:

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Winsor-Newton-Artisan-Mixable-Painting/dp/B001QTNCJ0"]Amazon.com: Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Color 10-Tube Set, 21ml: Arts, Crafts & Sewing[/ame]11451.jpg

    So the name isn't important. Because it's just a name. The colour itself is a thing you can see. In one system it's called Process blue, or Cyan, cerulean, or "00ffff". Being able to recognise the right colour visually is more important than what it's called.
    Why is the colour pdf teaching this? This is outdated information from the 17th century that doesn't have any relevance to our modern understanding of colour.

    These pdfs are really quite bizarre, and I'm trying to understand why the information has been laid out in the way it has been. It explains physics without providing context as to how it works with our visual system, or any visual examples showing their effects; it brushes over colour mixing and then dives straight into colour design without any distinction from the physics.

    There's a lot of dumb stuff on the internet? There's webpages that say aliens exist too.
    If you go to a respectable website - like the pantone one or wikipedia- they have good information.
    But anyhow, the reason why i say that we need to separate light physics, and colour design; is because colour harmonies, choosing nice colour schemes and concepts such as contrast and readability have no descriptive properties towards how light works. Instead they are simply tools used to deconstruct images that we like so we can understand why we like them.

    To put is simply, why the sky is blue is light physics. Why wearing green and pink together is ugly is colour design.

    I don't get why you think this separation is important? It won't make that PDF any less wrong?
    I'm pretty tired right now but i think I'm going to record a video in the morning to explain a bunch of things that should help explain what i am talking about here.

    You really don't need a video.
  • Wolthera
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    Wolthera polycounter lvl 2
    Two things:

    1. As someone who has been doing a lot with color maths recently: There's no correct, only maths and pretty, and artists won't care for the maths unless it will give pretty. Proof them pretty, make them care. You now sound like a used-car salesman.

    2. LAB is a colorspace based on the opposite-signals theory. HueValueChroma clearly explains this theory, but refresher: Our eyes don't take RGB signals, but rather signals describing how RedvsGreen, BluevsYellow or WhitevsBlack a color is. LAB was designed based on this, and from that we can tell it's strengths: Colorcorrection. Doing a curve adjustment in LAB is quite an experience.
    However, because converting between colormodels gives opportunity for both rounding errors as well as human errors to pop-up, it's generally not recommended to convert between models until the end. Furthermore, LAB's strange relationship with the color black gives us odd color maths results with for example Blending Modes(at the least, when there's no adobe engineer secretly converting your colors to sRGB to do the blending with, this is kind of terrifying if you care for precision)

    EDIT: no, please don't make a video, a video is a thing you ignore unless it's on facebook and you're procrastinating, it's not something to enable further discussion if you already have your discussion.
    EDIT2: I agree with sprunghunt that the whole naming thing is kinda futile. But I am suspecting that both me and sprunghunt have perfect color vision compared to yours, and we should consider that more carefully.
  • RN
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    RN polycounter lvl 4
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Ok first of all i want to try and clarify where i am coming from and why i think that these things are important.

    Nothing I am arguing here is new information, especially if you actually have an informed idea of how colour works. Instead the question I'm asking is how can we teach colour better to painters and artist, and minimize the areas of confusion that artists have. Wolthera is correct in saying that artists only care about pretty.

    Because most artists only care about pretty, if we were to write a textbook with that in mind, you need to emphasize and structure in a way that is both, accurate, and it draws attention to phenomena that is not intuitive.

    So my mindset is that we need to draw clear lines between cause and effect. What information relates to physics and the real world, and what information relates to knowing what looks good to the eye. I fully admit I'm not sure where that line should be drawn, but by separating them out as separate subjects for artists to learn you make sure artists understand the difference between them.

    Light physics doesn't prevent ugly situations from happening, but colour design should tell you what light situations are pretty and why.

    Now if we look at the current state of light and colour education out there, I'll categorize these, just to make it neater. (and this is just my opinion of it of course)

    We have outright broken, misinformed and badly organized information.

    http://www.colormatters.com/color-and-design/basic-color-theory -Outdated and wrong information
    https://cs.nyu.edu/courses/fall02/V22.0380-001/color_theory.htm -Light on information,
    http://www.worqx.com/color/index.htm -badly structured

    Then we have the really dense but correct information. It often exists on ancient websites, and mix in tons of history, and they usually don't structure the information in a way that is digestible. Only the most patient artists will ever make it through these gauntlets.

    http://www.huevaluechroma.com/ -Awesome, but dense and too much legacy history
    http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color18a.html -this dude reads like an acid induced rant.
    http://www.poynton.com/notes/colour_and_gamma/ColorFAQ.html -too technical for artists

    then we have resources like gurneys book on light and colour, which are written from a perspective of a painter. They usually read like a laundry list of useful facts about colour, and they don't usually provide in-depth understanding into why things act the way they do.

    http://jamesgurney.com/site/213/color-and-light-a-guide-for-the-realist-painter
    https://gumroad.com/l/understandingcolour


    Needless to say I do think we have a problem here with just the information they are presenting and the correlations they present to artists. And that doesn't even get into a lot of the information that i had to work out on my own.

    • Nobody ever told me that the shading algorithm that a direct light source uses is cos(angle) (or the dot product of the normals for you graphics guys), and that this is the reason why lit areas tend to be fairly flat.
    • Nobody told me that light channels don't interact, meaning that light can't "shift hue".
    • Nobody ever told me that nothing in light physics can desaturate an image, and that desaturation can only happen as a post process.
    • Nobody ever told me about the effects of channel clipping, and how it can cause unnatural colour shifts.

    I think to truly understand the state of colour instruction today, you need to actually talk to student artists, and you would be truly shocked at what they think about colour.

    So when I'm talking about categorizing and getting more specific with how we talk about colour, the intention is to make misunderstanding what we are talking about as difficult as possible.

    Sorry for the massive post, but i hope it explains where I am coming from.


    2. LAB is a colorspace based on the opposite-signals theory. HueValueChroma clearly explains this theory, but refresher
    Maybe you read a different HVC.com page but it doesn't say anything about it here http://www.huevaluechroma.com/076.php

    Lab is just an orthogonal colour space, meaning it plots out all possible hues and a bunch of impossible hues on an X and Y axis, and then uses a lightness term mapped to the human perception of brightness to get the final colour.
    But I'll fully admit I'm not too knowledgeable on LAB, so I'm open to correction here.
  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 12
    Muzz wrote: »
    [*] Nobody ever told me that the shading algorithm that a direct light source uses is cos(angle) (or the dot product of the normals for you graphics guys), and that this is the reason why lit areas tend to be fairly flat.
    Who is your audience? And shouldn't all light be calculated the same, if we ignore programming shortcuts? So isn't it much more intuitive to say that direct light is more flat because the angle of the light stays the same over the surface and not get into shading algorithms at all?
    Muzz wrote: »
    [*]Nobody told me that a light channels don't interact, meaning that light can't "shift hue".
    Maybe provide examples how this applies, because, again, I can't quite follow. (I'm not trying to be an ass, just pointing out that there's a communication problem, here.)
    Muzz wrote: »
    [*]Nobody ever told me that nothing in light physics can desaturate an image, and that desaturation can only happen as a post process.
    But all we see and paint is "post processed" in one way or the other, and if it's just in the brain. And that's why it makes sense to treat it that way. Perhaps it would really help if you could give a specific example for each case and how that helped you. Because right now I don't see how these would be notable realizations for the average artist.

  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    I'm not trying to make a tutorial here but i'll show you why each is important.

    Who is your audience? And shouldn't all light be calculated the same, if we ignore programming shortcuts? So isn't it much more intuitive to say that direct light is more flat because the angle of the light stays the same over the surface and not get into shading algorithms at all?
    3d renderers work with HDR RGB. Meaning they do calculate a wider gamut than Adobe RGB can manage, but regardless they do all their math based on channel calculations, so no it isn't a programming shortcut.

    Now for why the shading algorithm is important. I don't believe that the math is important to memorize, but knowing there is a geometric reason for it is what is important.

    In my example here, the top image has what most beginners assume shading works like, which is a 1:1 gradient. Wheras standard shading has the geometric curve which is shown on the bottom. The incorrect image is actually visually indistinguishable with a very close soft light, so understanding the reasons for shading gradients is a very powerful tool.


    tumblr_inline_neevsxso6V1sy89bv.jpg
    Maybe provide examples how this applies, because, again, I can't quite follow. (I'm not trying to be an ass, just pointing out that there's a communication problem, here.)
    v37QFk5.gif

    As light colour changes the value of coloured objects also must change. This makes no sense unless you learn about channels.
    But all we see and paint is "post processed" in one way or the other, and if it's just in the brain. And that's why it makes sense to treat it that way. Perhaps it would really help if you could give a specific example for each case and how that helped you. Because right now I don't see how these would be notable realizations for the average artist.
    It is important to realise the difference between physical effects and post processing, as post processing only works in context of a full image. Desaturating an object in the image will tell the eye it is actually less saturated, and if it is lightened and desaturated it is a tell for distance.

    rczh71w.png
  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 12
    Thanks a lot!

    For the first example I understand now what you wanted to say.

    For the second I still don't see the connection.
    "As light colour changes the value of coloured objects also must change."
    That seems pretty intuitive.
    "This makes no sense unless you learn about channels."
    Why? (Ignore me, if you think this is too much of a detour, I just think it's important to precise, here.)

    As for the third, it's probably about the choice of words. Your rightmost example would qualify as light physics, for example, and you'll notice that each jet has areas of different saturation over it's surface. (Which of course is perceived, but so is everything we are talking about.)
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    "This makes no sense unless you learn about channels."
    Why? (Ignore me, if you think this is too much of a detour, I just think it's important to precise, here.)
    Would you be able to explain it in any way without talking about channels? I could be mistaken but i can't think of a way.

    Also It's not what it about what seems intuitive to you personally, as i've met plenty of artists that are working, yet don't consciously realize that happens.
    As for the third, it's probably about the choice of words. Your rightmost example would qualify as light physics, for example, and you'll notice that each jet has areas of different saturation over it's surface. (Which of course is perceived, but so is everything we are talking about.)
    Keep in mind i just provided a list of things that i haven't seen well explained, it wasn't supposed to be a crystal clear explanation.

    But all i mean is that there is no lighting situation that can uniformly desaturate every local hue. (kinda, unless you are in a very dark situation and your rods take over)

    This is especially important to realize when you are working from movie stills or from photos as you need to understand what colour grading does, and what parts do and do not translate to what we see with our eyes.
  • Noren
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    Noren polycounter lvl 12
    Muzz wrote: »
    Would you be able to explain it in any way without talking about channels? I could be mistaken but i can't think of a way.

    While I see your point, as far as explanation goes, I think I simply have a different approach to this.
    You'll hardly ever encounter pure colors in real life and so it's much easier to apply what one already knows and work with an adapted hue shifting model.
    E.g. the colors quickly shifting to grey as the light color gets farther away from the object color and closer to the complimentary color, or even shifting to the complimentary color itself, depending on saturations and light strength.
    Now I admit that this sounds complicated, but in reality all this ends up being one intuitive shift, while looking at the channels individually seems less intuitive to me. But that might be because I didn't practice that way.
    Muzz wrote: »
    But all i mean is that there is no lighting situation that can uniformly desaturate every local hue. (kinda, unless you are in a very dark situation and your rods take over)

    This is especially important to realize when you are working from movie stills or from photos as you need to understand what colour grading does, and what parts do and do not translate to what we see with out eyes.

    Understood and I agree about the color grading. Thanks again.
  • oblomov
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    oblomov polycounter lvl 3
    As I am a bad person, and since you guys seem to have come dangerously close to an agreement, I thought I should stir the pot and add some confusion ;)
    As light colour changes the value of coloured objects also must change
    As far as the values - either measured, or computed and displayed - are concerned, this is true. Unfortunately, this is not what we experience, because your brain tries to remove the light color (probably because the information that matters is the nature of the object we are looking at, not so much the conditions through which we are looking at it). This is called "color constancy". We keep using the same name for a given object's color regardless of the time of the day, with varying lighting conditions, because we actually "see" the same color.
    Nobody told me that light channels don't interact, meaning that light can't "shift hue"
    While this is how most of our rendering algorithms are implemented in practice, it is only an approximation as far as I understand, because the functions that define the red, green and blue channels as a weighted sum of wavelenth overlap : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/69/CIE1931_RGBCMF.svg/800px-CIE1931_RGBCMF.svg.png
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    You are correct on both accounts... .

    Colour constancy is actually exactly why you should pay attention to the rgb sliders, as the concept of hue as a tool for picking colour can loose all relevance within a heavily colorized scene. So what you are saying as a contention is actually exactly the reason you should be thinking in terms of channels.

    And yes you are nitpicy correct in terms of cones being sensitive to a range of wavelengths, but this is one of those things where by dropping off that little bit of information while teaching, and then introducing it at the end once you wrap your head around it, you make it digestible. This fact is why the human visual gamut is a horseshoe, not a triangle.

    EDIT: i should also point out that our monitors do not need to emulate the fact that the red cone picks up a bit of blue, to be able to display colour in the way we need.
  • Wolthera
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    Wolthera polycounter lvl 2
    Yes, we were reading different hue value chroma pages, it's explained here: http://www.huevaluechroma.com/032.php

    BTW, if you want to spread this kind of information, the trick, as evidenced by years of culture, is to reproduce the information in your own words. I don't think this thread it the right way to go about it.
  • RN
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    RN polycounter lvl 4
    What is the desired outcome of this? A book, an infographic for easy sharing on Pinterest, Twitter etc.?

    https://xkcd.com/1273/

    If it's an infographic I'd like to help design it, it's an opportunity to learn a lot.
  • aleksandr.kili
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    aleksandr.kili polycounter lvl 2
    [ame]

    cool thing about color, kind of on topic with the OP splitting color and physics
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Wolthera wrote: »
    Yes, we were reading different hue value chroma pages, it's explained here: http://www.huevaluechroma.com/032.php

    Whoa interesting, i missed that page. I'm going to have to try and reread that a bunch to try and wrap my head around it.

    I think I have the startings of an idea for how it relates to lab.

    That being said this is a bit out of scope of the conversation here, as i do think for teaching people how to paint, getting into the deep dank theory of the visual system isn't necessary, though for the people writing the documentation, knowing about it should be very helpful.
    BTW, if you want to spread this kind of information, the trick, as evidenced by years of culture, is to reproduce the information in your own words. I don't think this thread it the right way to go about it.

    Honestly I'm still the stage of talking about this and working everything out in my own head. The main point of this thread is more to get people onboard with how current colour teaching is flawed, and so it is possible to theorize a how colour should be taught.

    The problem with most current art training is that it is made in a vaccum, and most of it is made by artists passing on information they learnt from other artists. To counteract that i think there needs to be a concerted effort to link the real world with the art theory, and test it and make sure that people can actually learn what is being presented.

    So yeah as an informative tool for artists to learn from, this sucks. Think of this more as trying to form a battle plan :).

    You'll hardly ever encounter pure colors in real life and so it's much easier to apply what one already knows and work with an adapted hue shifting model.
    E.g. the colors quickly shifting to grey as the light color gets farther away from the object color and closer to the complimentary color, or even shifting to the complimentary color itself, depending on saturations and light strength.
    Now I admit that this sounds complicated, but in reality all this ends up being one intuitive shift, while looking at the channels individually seems less intuitive to me. But that might be because I didn't practice that way.

    Ah yeah, so what you have done is worked out a method for explaining what you see and the shifts that happen, however it is missing the WHY.

    And it only works for mildly colored light and not for very vibrant objects. Channels only seem difficult to wrap your head around, because you haven't been taught about them.
  • Muzzoid
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    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 8
    Ok, so i just worked my way through the full opponent theory text.

    I get it now, it's the brains method of decoding the data from the cones, short, medium and long cones. So it's not how the eyes see, but it's how the brain interprets the data from the eyes.

    This is interesting, lab is still a confusing thing to me in some ways as to why we have it exists, because using it on a computer is essentially encoding it in an emulated version of how the brain works, then we are encoding it down to a rgb signal to be sent to the brain and be decoded again. Though i guess it does work as a control method to try and understand the relationships we have colour again. So lab seems like a great tool to understand how our brains interpret data, but it has little to explain to an artist about how additive and subtractive colour mixing works. I'm glad that i finally understand this though. Thanks for pointing that out Wolfthera!

    I think the important take away here is that in some ways we can actually focus on the physics of light bouncing, and just worry about additive and subtractive colour mixing, as what happens before light hits the eyes is actually quite simple to explain mathematically, and this very simple first layer actually explains the majority of the things artists have major issues with. (as evidenced by what colour constructor does)

    So i think that there is certainly a nice discreet subset of maths and physics that can be learnt that explains a great deal, and we can leave out more complicated things until the artist reaches the limits of understanding that knowledge. Ie, there isn't much value to be gained from understanding opponent theory as a painter until you full understand additive colour mixing and light physics.

    I hope that rambling makes sense!
  • artquest
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    artquest polycounter lvl 6
    This conversation is great. I couldn't agree more. We need a radical change in color theory. The vocabulary we have now is too vague and subjective to work very well in production.

    I think perhaps it can be broken into three sub categories:

    - Physics: How light works. A good chunk of which has been covered in this thread already so I wont go into it much to keep this post from becoming a wall of text.

    - Biology: How our eyes see light, remember there is a large range of light that we are unable to see with the human eye. Not to mention you have twice as many red cones in your eyes as you do for green and blue-violet!) http://web.atmos.ucla.edu/~fovell/AS3/theory_of_color.html

    - Psychology: How different colors play a role in connecting to a particular emotion or can trigger different associations. This is largely cultural and should be taken into account for the target demographic.

    I believe all three subjects play a huge role in creating art that speaks to people. But I rarely hear anything spoken about in those terms when it comes to color.



    Also for general color information and what I believe to be the best color wheel around check out the dota 2 art guide. I've adopted the naming convention valve uses for all their colors and even their color wheel swatches. You'll notice how red and green are no longer shown as complimentary colors in this color wheel! progress! :D Also the notion of warm vs cool colors is thrown out in favor of what I believe is a slightly more physics based color wheel. (see pages 6, 7 and 8. )

    http://media.steampowered.com/apps/dota2/workshop/Dota2CharacterArtGuide.pdf
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