Welcome to week 3 everybody :)

I hope this class is going well for you and you are getting something worthwhile out of the experience. Please let me know if you need me to delve in to more depth with any of the concepts we have previously touched upon, or if you want feedback on anything you are working on.


This week we will be looking in to some depth to the concept of value.

"What is value?"

Value is just a shorthand term for "tonal Value", which is commonly used by artists. In art practice, it's the study of light and shade in an image and it's subject. It's probably one of the most important tools we can develop as image makers, but at the same time there is no magic bullet, you have to put in some time working with value to get a good grip of it.

So to get the ball rolling, here are a few videos that go through some exercises on how to represent value.

Just a few tips from me before you begin. A common let down that people fall in to with capturing value, is being too shy to push in to the mid tone values. Often when working on a white piece of paper, or a white canvas on photoshop, we'll hang on either the white side of the value spectrum and the dark side of the value spectrum. There will often be lots of areas of the paper that are completely bare, and too many areas where values have been pushed to as dark as the pencil/tool can go. The trick is to become sensitive to registering the mid tones. These little exercises that follow are good little tools to developing your eye for mid tones. But just as a rule, with all imagery, reserve the white of your paper for the sharp bright white highlights of the subject matter you are trying to capture. Fill everything else with a level of grey.

Here are a couple of ideas for exercises to improve your ability to judge value. It's worth just spending a bit of time with an exercise like this. Also for those who came on the weekend, it might be a good method to practice using graphite & charcoal to address this exercise.




The Second exercise is to apply the concept of tonal value to a simple piece of geometry. In this case a ball/sphere.

There are few videos to watch to give some background to this exercise. You can skip through most of the content of these videos to the juicy bits, but I'd suggest watching Proko's video in full. It goes in to some great detail about the theory behind value in lighting.

Another step to mastering realistic value imagery.. whether a drawing, digital painting or such, is the abandonment of contour lines (outlines). Here is a small video that covers the topic of defining shapes by placing contrasting areas of tone next to each other, rather than relying on line work to fence areas off. This is an extremely crucial concept for those who are wanting to move more in to the realm of realism with their drawing, and is handy for everyone else to understand also.


And finally for those who are wanting something a little more advanced to tackle, lets turn to our old friend Feng Zhu and his awesomeness. This tutorial covers using found imagery to study value and also create environments. It's worth while following along with if you are game, have a play with your own photos and see what you can come up with.