Mastering Color: Simple Steps to Create Vivid Art | Victo Ngai | Skillshare

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Mastering Color: Simple Steps to Create Vivid Art

teacher avatar Victo Ngai, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What We'll Cover


    • 3.

      The Power and Pitfalls of Color


    • 4.

      How to Talk About Color


    • 5.

      Principle 1: Relativity


    • 6.

      Principle 2: Consistency


    • 7.

      Principle 3: Value Contrast


    • 8.

      Principle 4: Accent Color


    • 9.

      Principle 5: Ratio


    • 10.

      Color at Work: Masterpieces


    • 11.

      Color at Work: Client Project


    • 12.

      Prepare Your Piece


    • 13.

      “Steal” a Palette


    • 14.

      Personalize Your Palette


    • 15.

      Refine Your Palette


    • 16.

      Finishing Touches


    • 17.

      Export Your Piece


    • 18.

      Final Thoughts


    • 19.

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About This Class

Have you ever created a great sketch only to get stuck when it's time to add color? Learn simple tools to unlock your color confidence!

Join award-winning illustrator Victo Ngai for a masterclass on the most powerful (and intimidating) tool in the artist’s toolkit: color. Borne of her own early struggles with color, Victo’s approach simplifies color theory into a set of mindful practices you can apply right away, whether you’re an illustrator, designer, fine artist, or art enthusiast!

Starting with a deep dive into the principles of color, you’ll see how successful color works to grab attention, evoke emotion, and communicate ideas. Then you’ll have the opportunity to put those principles into practice, developing a harmonious palette to transform a sketch into a full-color illustration.

Guided by real-world examples ranging from fine art to pop culture, you’ll learn how to:

  • Communicate with color using Victo's five principles
  • Dissect any piece of art to understand how color tells a story
  • Develop a custom palette drawn from real-world inspiration
  • Create a vivid illustration using simple tools in Photoshop

Plus, Victo shares her tips and tricks to demystify every step of the color process, from preparing your workspace to saving and sharing your final piece.

This actionable and insightful 90-minute class is designed for every artist who’s ever felt intimidated by using or talking about color. Follow along to conquer your fear, transform the way you work, and unlock your ability to tackle color with confidence and nuance!

Meet Your Teacher

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Victo Ngai



Victo Ngai is a Los Angeles based illustrator from Hong Kong and a Forbes 30 Under (Art and Style) honoree, Hamilton King Award winner and Society of Illustrators New York Gold Medalist. A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, Victo has created newspaper and magazine illustrations for The New York Times and the New Yorker, storyboards and art for animations for NBC and Dreamworks, books art for Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Follo Society, and Macmillan, and packaging and advertising campaigns for Apple, Johnnie Walker, American Express, Lufthansa Airline, and General Electric.

Victo has also taught at the School of Visual Art New York, the Illustration Academy and gives guest lectures and workshop at universities and conferences.

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1. Introduction: Color is one of the most powerful tool you can have as an artist, and knowing how to use color, it can take your work from good to great. Hi, my name is Victo Ngai. I'm a illustrator from Hong Kong. Now, I'm based out of Los Angeles. Today, I'm here to teach you about colors. I think color plays a huge role in my work. It really helps me to provoke the emotion I want, have really helped me to tell a story, really helped me to single out my heroes. I'm really excited today to talk about colors, not because I'm the expert in it, but because I used to be really bad at it. So I spent a lot time dissecting colors, looking at other people work, and I feel like I came a long way from where I was, that's why today, I'm hoping to break it down step by step, and maybe that can give people the confidence to develop their own voice in colors. So in today's class, we're going to start really basic, this is some of the foundation of color theories and understanding the terms. Then we're going to look into some masterpieces, and see how color is working for those artwork, as a foundation to build on for your own assignment. We're not going to dive super deep into the nerdy part about color theory in this class, so you don't need to know a lot about colors. All you need really is just your eyes and your hands to follow it along. So if you do follow along please, please share your projects in the class project gallery. I would love to see what you guys have come up with. I hope that you'll leave this class with the curiosity and the confidence to try out colors. I'm so glad you have joined this class. Let's get started. 2. What We'll Cover: So if you tell me 10 years ago I'll be teaching a class on colors, I'll probably laugh at you because unlike lines, color is something that doesn't come naturally to me at all. All through art school, color has been my big weakness if you ask any of my past teachers, but I work extra hard at overcoming that weakness and that fear, and I'm really excited to share with you what I did to get to where I am at this point. So I started looking at other people's work, seeing how they use color and not just looking at it, but actually pulling them into Photoshop and isolating the colors with eye dropper, which is what we're going to do today as well. I also started looking at a lot of books in patents and textile because they usually have really interesting color combination that's easy and simple to just grab and to steal for your own use, and we're going to do that today as well. So essentially, today's class is like a super condensed version of what I did for myself in the past 10 years to get to where I am now with my colors. So how today's class is going to work is that at first, we're going to go back to the basic, get some familiar again with the color theory, at least the foundation of it, so that we can all have a common vocabulary to talk about the class with. Then, we're going to look at some real life pieces; trying to marry that color theory with practice, dissecting artist's work, and then see how they're using color to their advantage. Finally, we're going to try to take an existing color palette, break it down, and then create swatches that we can use for our own artwork. Even though we might not know how to create color yet, I think is pretty innate as human to sense color. So when we're choosing the color palette, we already making a decision of what kind of emotion I want to borrow from other pieces that can be applied to our own, and through the process of refining those colors into our own palette, we're also making decisions on the objectives that we want to achieve with those colors. So I've created a piece just for today's class. The work is a little bit more simple than my usual work nowadays. It has a very clear foreground, middleground, and background, and I recommend that you also have a more simple line drawings and composition to work with, so that way it won't complicate things and we can really just focus on the colors. So just to give you a correct expectation, you're not going to get a PhD of color after this. We're not going to go into super comprehensive color theory. I'm not an expert in that. This is just something that works for me and make color less scary. If you really want to get nerdy about color, which is really fun, I've also included a bunch of useful link in the class resources section. So as you follow along, you might notice the colors is different from the film footage of my screen than the actual video captured on the screen, that just can't be helped because of the light, the glare, the environment factor. So if you're wondering which one is the more accurate color, it will be the screen capture. So that would be the one that you reference the color for. So today what you need for this class is Photoshop or some kind of a digital software such as Procreate if you're using an iPad. I'll be working on the computer today and on this beautiful tablet. You don't need something that fancy. You can use whatever you use like iPads or a simple small tablet to draw on. Because colors exists in a surrounding, I like to optimize my workspace and make sure I'm not getting unnecessary distraction, so I'm really seeing the color that I should be focused on. So when I'm at home, which I'm not at right now, my workspace is facing a blank wall. So it gives me minimal distraction. I have to make sure that my screen is not directly under any light or glares. If you are super particular about making sure the colors in your screen looks right, you can get those monitor hood that looks like blinders they put on a horse. I guess that also keep the colors focused on the screen. The other thing I like to do is to set my desktop to a middle gray. I also set the background on my Photoshop to middle gray, so then I won't be tainted with colors when I'm making decisions. So when I first start getting my work published, I noticed to my great dismay that the color was wrong in the printed word. So I look into it and found out that apparently, all monitors have different color settings, which I didn't know about before. So what you see, what you spend hours trying to fine tuned on your monitor can look totally different on other people's monitor and in print. One thing that has really, really helped me was a color calibrator which is this little guy. There are many brands that make this. This is just what I use. So essentially, what it does is the software will run these colors swatches on your screen and you just put this little guy, like this on the screen so it will measure how accurate those color swatches is seeing and calibrate your machine that way. So now my color in print is much more accurate, thanks for this little extra stuff. One thing you may not know is also your monitor is like a life organisms. So the color changes over time as the screen ages. So even if you calibrate it, is good to get into the habit of doing it every once in a while, like once in a month. So feel free to follow along any of the setup tips or not. You don't have to do any of that and you can still follow along. Now, that we're all set up, next step, let's dive into colors. 3. The Power and Pitfalls of Color: The way that we should approach color has to be very mindful. Before we just started adding color randomly into a piece, we need to ask ourselves what are the objectives of doing that. Having the objectives help us make decisions along the way rather than just blindly trying things out. Usually for me there are three main objectives when I use color. The first one is trying to think about what type of feeling I'm trying to convey. The second one is seeing how I can use colors to move the eyes around to tell the story that way. The third one is just really bringing the world of the art alive with the colors. So talking about how colors really bring things alive, I recently watched a documentary made by Peter Jackson's. So he used all black and white World War one footages, but we master them with colors. First part of the movie before Britain go into war and the soldier landed on the continent and were in black and white. Once we got into the trenches, all of a sudden everything come in to color and that contrast was pretty powerful. We always see the black and white as ancient history but all of a sudden now other people feel so much more real, and then you can see the flash of the color, the rush on their cheek and all of a sudden you realize how young those soldier were and it really hit you that pretty much you were sending a bunch of kids to war and I felt like that was very emotional for me watching. Now, let's use another example of my own work. This one was for a book called Kama Sutra, some of you might be familiar with that. That's about essentially love and also sex, very different from World War I subject matter obviously. In this scene, we see a little bit of the afternoon delight of a couple sneaking a snuggle and a archway. As you can see in the color piece the warmth of the red and the yellow really bring out the moment of the time and the temperature and the romance because of that and now we turn that into black and white. All of a sudden we're losing all of that mood and also the different elements become a little bit harder to read. So there's a few common pitfalls when it come to using color. Usually, is just going to extremes like being too bold. So you're using all the colors that you possibly can and using all of them to the extreme when it comes to saturation or you'd being just too timid, very much staying in the mid range of the value of the hue, so everything is lacking a clarity or hierarchy. So I always find it really interesting how our senses and our connection work together. I read this really interesting article about how someone analyze Homer's Odyssey and how in the whole book they describe all kinds of color but one color was lacking in particular which was blue, and the way they were describing sea was using deep wine color. Someone was making the assumption that because of that, we actually couldn't really see blue for a longest time, at least for ancient Western civilization. That got me thinking like language in some way. Now, we have all this different words for different colors. It really help us see those color separately and more distinctly. But it also take color out of their context so we think about color as red, as yellow, as green, as blue and we see them packaged also indifferent tubes of paint as all separated. But if you really think about it color never excess in isolation. If you look around in your surrounding, there's no like just red, red standing out, is always within its own contexts. So color is more of this shifting fabric of hues and values and sometimes it's easy to forget that and that become a challenge when applying colors. Nowadays, with the additional tool, it further disrupt that relationship because in the old days when you're mixing color with paint, you're physically combining the pigments to create new colors. So if you start with five tubes or paint and then you create 20 colors, all those 20 colors have the same parents that they were created from so they have a inherit harmony that's built in. But whereas now you can just use your color picker and pick any colors you want from Photoshop and it's very easy to end up with something that looks like vomit of rainbow. That just looks jarring. There's also this prevailing misconception when it comes to color and I feel like that also have something to do with our language and our vocabulary. For example, when we think of something that's bright, we think of adding white. If we think of something dark, we think of adding black, but that actually creates very lifeless color palette because everything in our surrounding is actually mixed with multiple colors rather than just simply adding black or white. The same as people thinking, "If I want to make an image look really brilliant, then I have use saturated color. It seems to make sense in our mind, the logic, but I'm going to show you some pieces that it's going to disprove that. 4. How to Talk About Color: So the first step we're going to talk about the principles of colors. Before that, let's review the terminologies so we can all be on the same page when we're having the discussion about colors. As you can see here, we have hue, value and saturation. Some of the most commonly used term when we discuss colors. So hue essentially is just color. Different hues mean different color, as you can see here, and value means the different shades of color, like lighter or darker. Saturation essentially just mean how pure that color is, how intense that color is, and how chromatic that color is. So what does hue value saturation and actually look like when we open the color picker and photoshop? So this is how you read it, this little bar as you switch along, you're switching different hues. So you're picking different color. As you go left to right, that's the increase of the intensity or the increase of saturation of that color. As you go from top to down, you're changing the value of that color. So the top is lighter and the downside is darker. Sometimes you may hear people describe colors as cool color or warm color. That pretty much just mean where the color sits on the color wheel. So all the warm colors are on the sky as you can see. Things that are related to the sun or the heat are the warm color. Blues, purples, these are the cool colors. But if you want to really go into it even like red, there could be a warm red or a cool red. A cool red just mean it has more blue in it, and a warm red just mean it has more orange in it. So now that we're clear on the terminologies, I have five key points I always keep in mind when I'm designing my palette. The five key points are; number one, color relativity. Number two, color consistency. Number three, value contrast. Number four, accent colors. Number five, ratios in complimentary colors. The importance of understanding these key points is not to stick to them, but to really understand why and what they do. That way, you can use them and break them to achieve what you want to convey successfully as well. 5. Principle 1: Relativity: In some way, color is very similar to alphabets. If I just give you like A or D or a F, it doesn't really mean anything, but only when they are together and form a relationship, then you get the meaning, and color is just like that. So why is it so important to understand that color works in relationship? It's because when our brain intake colors, it translate those colors into meanings, such as temperature, time of day, or objects. So as an artist, what we want to do is to harness the power of color and to recreate all those meanings to our brain with colors. So here I have a few simple examples to show how color can look drastically different when it's put into different neighboring color. The first example up is relative hue. For example, in this case, these two colors looks very similar or some may say, they're the same color. But really, if you put them in to a neutral background, it becomes really apparent that they're totally different color, and now they look super different. It's only because they are put in different hues, and that makes them looks like two gray rectangles. Okay. Now, let's move into relative value. In this case, many people may swear that this rectangle is much lighter compared to this one, but now let's remove the neighboring color. On the neutral gray, the reviews out there are actually the exactly the same color. So now, let's talk about relative temperature. Temperature just mean if a color is warmer or cooler. In this block, the color looks warmer than this block. But if we remove the neighboring color, we realized they're the same color again. The reason why this one look warmer is because it's surrounding by a cooler color. So a really great example for how color works in relativity is this infamous blue dress versus white dress case. A lot of people probably remember and participated in this debate. This example really show how when people are focusing on the actual color of the dress or they are trying to decode the color of the dress using information with a surrounding and light, you can see totally different colors. I actually it as blue and black in the beginning, but when I tried to focus on other aspects of the image my brain was able to switch for a second to see that being gold and white, and that was super wild. So as you can see, this is the original photo that was so controversial. If we edit it to reinforce certain aspects of that photo, for example, make it brighter, now it looks a lot more like as gold-trimmed on a white dress. But if we make it darker, now it looks a lot more like a blue dress with black trim. 6. Principle 2: Consistency: So now, let's talk about color consistency, which just mean color shall live in the same world if you want to convey a believable world that is. The reason why this is so important especially nowadays with the digital tool is because the colors exist in vacuum. You just pick whatever color you like, whereas in the old day, you're mixing the pigment, the problem was that the color tend to get you muddy. Now, there's the color just simply don't have relationship with each other if you're not mindful of building that relationship. To convey why color consistency is important, I have borrowed a piece from Tomer Hanuka. So you can see this beautiful piece here. He has established a color system. So the light area is represented here with the blue and then the darker area and the water part is the purple. So when the light hits, you see the blue and he thinks emerge as the purple. I did a quick slide with the hue saturation. I just slide it all the way to 180. What it does is shifting every color here to the other side of the color spectrum. As you can tell, because all the color were shifted together, the color system he has built is still holding up together. Here, the light is in pink and the water and the shadow is in this olive green. But when I start to divorce certain part of this image, I put a layer mask here and only now the body part of the people are being shifted into the other spectrum of the color. You can see the people are starting to really pop out of the background, but not in a good way. There's no more consistency with the light in the background with this effect on the people, and they just don't look like they're submerged in the water anymore. So I think what really taught me looking at his art is that your color don't have to be real in the sense that it looks like what we see every day, but as long as if you establish this consistent rules of colors in the world you create, it will still read, because here we have clearly established the light as the blue and then the water as the purple. We understand this instinctively that the people are not actually blue people. It's just that they're submerged in the water. In some case though, breaking the color consistency can actually be a good tool as well. One great example is Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol. As you can see, all the colors are all over the place and that's what it give a really pop and flat static to the image, and that's what the artist was going for. 7. Principle 3: Value Contrast: Next up is contrast, and we can think of contrast sort of like this gradient that we're seeing, with the absolute white being zero and the darkest black being 10. So by harnessing the power of contrast, you can effectively direct people's eyes and where they're going to look in your image. So here, we have two examples. The contrast is a little bit clearer than in this photo here, which I've pulled from the Internet. This art is by Eyvind Earle. Both images, you can see, is a woodland scene with a pretty clear pathway leading somewhere. So now, let's discard the colors, so we can really see through value structure. So as you can see now with both images in black and white, the pathway that was obvious, and the picture, and the photo here become kind of lost. So what this is telling us is that the color was the one doing the heavy lifting and directing the eyes in this sense. Whereas in this image, we can still see the path and how the eyes read clearly following the highest contrast here in the foreground, and then flowing a lower contrast here in the middle ground, and then into the sky, which has a very close contract value with the white. You may wonder why we're talking about black and white value contrast, when this is a color class. Value contrast is probably the most powerful tools in directing our eyes. So what it does with a solid value is that it freeze up or elaborate the colors, like as long as the valley system is greatly setup. You can kind of use crazy color and the image will still read really well. This image has a really nicely set up value hierarchy with the highest contrast in the foreground, so our eyes kind of follow that. Then into the middle ground with the contrast around like 5-0 and then to the background with a contrast on 2-0. Then we have this dark-shaped tree right here and with their shadow kind of lead our eyes right back in the center and then the whole circle get repeated. So our eyes just like keep investigating into the scene, rather than just drop out of the image. So this example is actually really good at showing how value is doing the heavy lifting in directing our eyes. What I did is I actually change the colors in this image, but following the same value structure. Like here, the trees are actually darker blue. It doesn't have as high a value number like close to black and the original. But in relationship, it still follow the similar rules and it's still really, really well. In this case, it become a maroon, like burgundy color. But the value structure is still the same as the original and it still went really well. in this one, the color palette got shifted to purple, but still the same value structure and it still works. That's essentially what I meant by having a solid contrast hierarchy can really freed up your colored palettes. So what I really like to do when I work in Photoshop is to have a hue saturation layer up top. So when I'm working, I often go back and check the hue saturation layer with the saturation turned all the way down just to see what my piece value structure look like in black and white. This is also a really good way to sort of refresh your eyes after you turn that layer off and then see the colors again, and that often help me make color decision choices. 8. Principle 4: Accent Color: Another great way to move eyes around this time using color is accent colors. So what is accent color? It's usually colored as bowl with high intensity, and used sparingly throughout the image to direct the direction of eyes. But it doesn't always have to be high intensity colors. It really depends on the overall color relativity in the piece. So in the piece that is mostly for example, like bright orange, you can have a couple of dots of mutant green, and that could actually be the accent color. So here's another piece by our friend Ivan. In this example, the red clearly is the accent color and the view of cool blue. So our eyes just go there immediately. You can see he's also using his tricks of contrast again, where the trunk here is black, darkest black, with this roof, the white is white where is neighboring, and this is where our eyes is drawn to. Now, we can look at it in black and white. So without the accent color. The highest contrast are still here, but it takes a minute for us to arrive here, rather than just now, it was very immediate. Here's another masterpiece by John Singer Sargent of using accent color. As you can tell, red is used quite a bit and accent color, because red is one of the color that has the strongest emotional impact to us humans, since the inside of our body is red. We see blood is red. So usually, it's have a alerting effect. In this case, a set up, the three red part of dress, the pinkish red of the doll, and the red of the space partitioner, form a classic triangle composition. That just keep moving our eyes around, and really having that imaged activated. Now, I have this adjustment layer with the red turn-off. It has actually changed into blue, and to a similar hue as to rest of the image. All of a sudden, you may notice that the contrast over here become a lot more prominent. Our eyes just go straight here and then fall off the page, because we don't have the agency to bring us back and continue the lovely circle in this composition. Because accent color is so effective, it's really important that we place it wisely. Take those piece by Ivan as an example. If we crop it in half, right at the edge, that really leads our eyes to the edge, and then fall off the page. Because there is no other element or other reds around here to bring us back in, the circulation just stop. I think one of the goal of creating an image, is to keep our eyes in the image for as long as possible. Like here, we have the red, and then we still have this little breathing room that bring this down here, and then this is a middle grade of contrasts that lead us right back to the house, and it keep going on and on and on. 9. Principle 5: Ratio: When we talk about color ratio, what we're really talking about is deciding and letting one color be the leader, and then letting other colors play the supporting rule. This is especially true when it come to complementary colors such as green, and red. Complementary colors just mean color that's sitting right across from each other, opposite each other on the color wheel. So when complementary colors are used in equal part, whether in size or intensity, they diminish each other rather than creating this beautiful kinetic energy, that could be when they're used well. So here's a beautiful piece by Julia Noni, one of my favorite working Photographer right now. Her composition as you can tell is amazing, same with her understanding of value structure, but what I love the most is her use of complementary colors. Here we have this dominating bright red, and then completed with this muted olive green, that match and melt seamlessly into this dark figure, creating a beautiful silhouettes. Then I sabotage it by changing the green into the same intensity as the red. Also bringing in more greens, so now the ratio of the color green occupying the space is the same as the amount of space the red is occupying. As you can tell, it become a little bit confusing to her eyes. Now the two colors is fighting for attention. Instead of supporting each other, they are actually making the piece a lot weaker compared to the original one. So at this point of the class, we're going to look at other artist's work through the lenses of the key points we just talk about. So you know that I'm not just straight out and making stuff up. 10. Color at Work: Masterpieces: So for me, one of the best way to really learn about color and also to debunk along the color misconception is by looking at other artists pieces, really dissecting it, and to see why the color feels or convey the message as they do in their systematic way, not just purely feeling because feeling can be very misleading. I think when we see a masterpiece, everything comes so well together that we almost take it for granted. There's a saying by Picasso, "It takes a little effort to look effortless." So when we see something that's so effortless, we have to remind ourselves that every brush stroke on the canvas was an active decision. So this is a piece called Fishing for Oysters at Cancale by John Singer Sargent. He's really a master when it come to color and composition. You may notice there is like all these water paddle on the beach and think, okay, sure, beach, water paddle, so what? Right? But then, if you cover those paddle up, like what I did in this manipulated version, all of a sudden the image becomes a lot more stagnant. Without the water paddle, there's no more circulation around from the top part of the image to the bottom and have your eyes circle around the figures, and here it is, in the original and here in my sabotage version, then you realize how genius it really is to put those paddle ends so it can reflect those sky blue colors. Again, if you squint your eyes, that's a good way to diminish the impact of color and see the value, then you'll see the highest contrast is around here, and that's where your eyes is going to focus on. Now let's take a look at these concept art piece for Cinderella by Mary Blair. You may think that the brightest color here is this pink and let's take a look. It's not really that saturated, it's in the middle range. Now let's take a look at this part. It's even less saturated, at the one-third range. Then let's take a look at the shadow. It's actually around the same saturation as the pink if not blue but more towards the right side, so it's actually more saturated. A lot of people don't really realize, usually the most saturated color is at the darker color and the shadow color such as this part. To further illustrate that point, let's look at a Monet piece. Again, here the pink appear very vibrant, and so let's pick it up and see what that looks like. Again, it's very neutral. This is like not even halfway through the saturation which we understand is leading from the left to the right, and let's look at these beautiful bright greens here. It's right in the middle, again not very bright. What about the yellows here? Again, right in the middle. Now let's take a look at the shadow. All of a sudden, we've jumped to the edge. Now let's take a look at this example by Victor Higgins. The statue is a practically glowing with light. Let's take a look at the saturation of it. There's almost no color in that. Even the wings, is just barely in the middle, the lighter part has actually become less saturated. So in this piece, what really contribute to the glowing effect is contrast because even in the black and white, it really feels like there's a lot of light being reflected by the statue but now as we can see in black and white, the reading become a lot more one dimensional. We zoom in into the statue and then maybe see a little bit of the highlights here and then that's it, and then if we go back to the color version, here's a beautiful use of complementary color with the green, SIS in color. As you can notice, this is the only bright green in the whole image and dominating red environment. So we might first see the highest contrast with this actual and then we'll follow this actual with our eyes, and linger around this female and wonder what she's looking at, and she's here clearly as the heroine of this image being established by this excellent color. Here's a beautiful piece by Arthur Hecker. The color gives such luminosity and really makes you feel like the girl is in front of a fireplace and that's the power color has when it is used right. We don't see the light source at all but we can feel the heat and the temperature. While I was in college, my teacher; Chrisbis Ali once said a really good art piece should be packed with adjective instead of just noun. For example, in this piece, the nouns are; girl, cat, teapots but the reason why this piece is so great is because of the adjective that we can find in it such as warmth or luminous. That is what really give us the feeling that we have towards this piece, and now let's take a look at this practically glowing fluorescent green here. It's like practically jumping out of the page but let's take a color picker and see how saturated it really is. It's almost not a green, it's like this light is gray color. Let's take a look at the other part of green. Okay, so this on read as a green but still very much a [inaudible] green, and the reason why these greens feels so right or saturated to us is precisely because of the color relativity that we talk about. Everything else is very orangy-red and because of that, they seems a lot greener than they really are. Now that we have looked at many masters' pieces, now let's take a look at the student of the masters, which is me, and see how I learn the things from my heroes and apply it to my work. 11. Color at Work: Client Project: So here's the book cover for The Green Children of Woolpit that I've done recently. I feel like when you're working on a project with text, there's always a clue to color and their task, and this case is pretty obvious, it's the green children. The kids are green and they came from a world that is all green. So it makes sense to me that the color should also have a green tint and that's how I first establish the overall tone of the image. Besides being green, that kids are also creepy. They came from this other underground world. It's a mystery throughout the story if they're good or they are evil to human. So we want a sense of mystery on that cover. I decided to give it like a low lighting situation to enhance that feeling of unknown. When we see in low light, our eyes tend to see the blues and the greens better than we see the reds. The reds tend to become more black and dark color. So let's talk about this piece with the five key points that we covered so far. The first one is relativity, which really is understanding color and seeing them as a continuous fabric. So that is more like an ongoing backdrop for the four other things that we talked about. The second point is consistency. This piece, for example, is a low light environment with a green tint. So everything has to live in that world to feel like it belongs. I'm also using the value that we talk about to establish a kind of eye movement. Our eyes are being drawn towards these kids and then we follow this dark shape of curve go up and then see the girl here who is also a heroine in the story. The curve of the shape also directs the eye, which is more on the composition side other than what we talked about today with value and colors bring us back to these kids. The fourth point is accents color. In this case is the red here. I use it very sparingly and only around area that I want your eyes to really focus on. A little bit up top so then to create that circulation we see in the John Singer Sargent piece, we saw earlier. The last point is ratio, which is closely tied in with the accent color as well. I imagine if I have red everywhere and have this red the same intensity as this green. We can take a look. This green is around the middle of the saturation side. Then we can take a look at this red is a lot more muted or even here. It's a lot more muted and darker. So that way, it support each other rather than competing with each other. Now, when we're working on something like this one, which is a book cover with type on it, we have to consider the type as part of the composition and therefore, consider as value impact as well. So here's an example of the same cover without the type. As you can see, the value, all of a sudden, feels a lot more muted. With the type, the value structure feels a lot more completed. So now that I've already covered the key points and I've shown you how I dissect other artist's piece, why don't you guys also pick a piece that you really like and bring it to Photoshop, use the Eyedropper tool to really understand the color. Maybe turn it into black and white as well to see what their value structure looks like. Now, that we have gone through all of this, we're entering to the exciting part of the class, which is stealing other people's palette and then make into your own. 12. Prepare Your Piece: So what are we going to do now? First, we got up pick a limited palette. So what does a limited palette means? I think for this class sake, it just means a pallet consists of less than 10 colors including black and white. Now, you may think that sounds like a lot. But if you really did the exercise we just set like color picking, other artists work, you notice in the painterly work, there are over thousands and colors and in the graphic work, usually there's more than 10 as well. So I think 10 color is a pretty good place to start to have a good selection of color interference, views, and values and saturation. We will build upon that to have a second generation of colors that's been generated from the first set of swatches that we took from other people. So now, let's talk about what art would be good for this exercise. This is the sketch that I prepared for this class. I think is a good idea to pick something a little bit simpler. So we can really focus on the colors and not get confused by the complexity of the image. So in this one, we have a clear foreground, a clear hero which is the girl, and then we have middle ground. The tree was a bird in it and the background which is just the sky, pretty simple hierarchy, and three major elements that we were working with. Before we really get into color, I just want to talk a little bit about color mode because that was something really confusing for myself and maybe confusing for you as well. So color mode can be changed here. Mostly we work with two color mode, one is RGB and one is CMYK. RGB is the mixing of color light, red, green, and blue and that's how monitors display the colors, and the CMYK is a four colors separation that's being used by industrial printing. So C is cyan which is blue, M is magenta which is red, Y is yellow which is yellow. K is black because in the back of the days when the color would actually act into plate, the black is called a key plate. That's why now is case CMYK. We shall also took a look at the color setting because you realize that within RGB and CMYK, there are different working spaces as well, and this is probably the most confusing part. Here right now, we're at sRGB which is the default setting for most monitors, most cameras, and most Internet browsers. If you go down, open this out you see there's other option, many other options. So another common one is Adobe RGB. Adobe RGB has a wider range of color that's around like 35 percent more than sRGB. You might think more is better. In some case, yes. Because it has more colors, is able to be more color accurate if you print a piece with Adobe RGB setting. But when you try to show your work online, the color tends to get duller and mutter because the Internet browsers is unable to read all this color in Adobe RGB. So I think for this project, if you're thinking of mostly showing off your work in our classroom share or on Instagram or online, then sRGB is probably the way to go. But if you are wanting to print it out for example with a nice absence dollar's printer, then Adobe RGB is the way to go. If you are going to mass-produce this and send it to press, then CMYK is the way to go. This is a pretty commonly used working space for CMYK. Now, we have this sent to RGB. I'll just pick the one for the web. Here, I have a finished line drawing that was based on my sketch. As you can tell is pretty close. I always say it's important to spend more time with your sketch because there's a quick way to fix any composition problem before you get into the finished line drawing. The last thing you want is you spend hours on the drawing and then realize that the whole thing has a very weak composition foundation. So here we are and what I like to do before adding color and Sue just create flats. If that's not familiar with you, flats are essentially how comic artists work. It just means shapes a flat color not the final color, just like placeholder for each major element. So then, the color of that element can easily be changed. So the lasso tool is something I use a lot. I use a magnetic one as well because right now the contrast is pretty high, so it's pretty easy to select. So what does the magnetic lasso does is that is sort of snap to places with high contrast. So as you can see here, I am loosely following the guideline and it snap into place. It's not going to be a 100 percent accurate. But we can always go back and fix it later. It's just a quick way to make the flats as opposed to using the regular lasso tool because then you have to be super steady with your hand. Now, having done magnetic snapping it allows shakey hands. Then we just open a new layer and fill that color. Now, when you fill the color, you don't want to use really crazy like neon, green or blue or magenta because that's going to mess up your color judgments. So I tend to stay in the neutral, and maybe if you have colors that you already know you want to use in that range. I always like to organize my layers and folders here. So then when you get a lot of different layers that won't be super confusing. So here, we have this layer filled, and then you just go on. So as you can see here I already made the selection, now just adding color to it. So I can read which layer is which. At this point, it really it doesn't matter what color you put. Like a gray tree, it doesn't mean I have to stay gray. It's just easy for yourself to distinguish one part of the image from another part of the image. So here, I'm pretty much done with most of the big shapes. You can see with the woman here, I broke it down into three parts. The dress here, the body here, and the hair. Right now, the tree is still, the leave is just one part with the branch as a second part, and then the bird on top. So now, go ahead and pick a piece of work from yourself that share similar quality with the example I just said, simpler shape, clear foreground, middle ground, and background, and then we'll dive into the colors. 13. “Steal” a Palette: So as I mentioned before when I first started out, color was one of my biggest weakness when it come to picture making. Sometimes I have a very particular feeling that I want to convey with my art, but I'm not exactly sure what those feelings looks like in colors, or sometimes I want to use one particular color very much but not sure what other colors I can pull to support that hero color, and what really helped me personally is by browsing a lot of different palette and then pulling them, and just straight up stealing them and try to make that work with my own piece, and that's what you guys are going to do today as well. Welcome to the Dark Side. I love it. Okay, so well, our dark side is not really that dark. Even though we're stealing, we're not stealing everything. I think it's very important that you steal from artists that works really different from you. So even if you use the exactly same palette, your work in the end will be totally different. What's more, when we use their color is usually just the foundation. We're going to build on top of that, and then develop the color further to suit the piece that we're working on. So in the end, it's not really going to look like the original color palette that you start out with. So talking about stealing, there's technique to stealing as well. You can't just steal everything, like, painterly pieces are very hard to steal because the color shift pretty much every brush stroke or every pixel. So it's hard to really narrow down, like, what are the major six, seven colors they use. So in the beginning, it's much easier to steal when the colors are clearly separated in an image. For example, old propaganda poster, or nouveau posters, or a textile, or wallpaper pattern. These are all pretty easy examples to pick the colors out. There are also a lot of useful design color palettes that's around online. They just give you those swatches straight up. So you don't even need to do the hard work of color picking, which is very manually demanding. But I personally prefer to collect the materials that I color-steal from. Because I think the process of curating, you'll also building your own visual library. You're also curating your own taste and preferences, and eventually that's going to become part of your own art style as well. So I haven't always worked in digital. When I figured out that color was my weakness, the first media that I turned to was actually silk screening because you're able to premix the color, test it out, and see what they look like before you commit to a palette, and you can do things in layer, which translate to how I work nowadays in Photoshop. There's a lot of similarity with the layering system. Here's a pretty early piece that I did, and here's what the color palette that I steal from. I think this piece is pretty obvious why I steal the color palette. I want a piece that have that propaganda vibe going on, and even the composition with the glowing sun and everything. Here's another one with more of a different composition. But I just really love the color palette in this poster that I tried to see if I can make it work into my work, even though it shares nothing in similar with composition. The last one is more of a recent piece, and this one is I want to revisit the old simplicity look of the screen printing and just really using flat colors, no gradient and no complicated texture, and you can see on the right is the color inspiration for that. So now that we have finished making flats for all the major elements, let's think about what color palette we're looking for. We can always seek emotional and tonal clues from our piece. Like in mine, I feel that it's pretty soft, quite feminine, and is around spring time right now, so I was thinking about something pink, and that clue gives me a direction of my research hunting down the color palette. So one of my favorite place to look for color resources is my bookshelf. I have collected a lot of books just for the color. This is a series of books. This is one of them, from the DNA Museum in England. It has amazing collection, just different color textile in different pattern. So I bookmark the ones that I thought could work that has the soft pink that I'm looking for. This is one of them, and then this is another one. Here's another book from the same series. I thought this is a pretty cool palette. A little bit more modern, maybe, with the pink as well. So I looked through a few more books, and in the end, I decide I want to make this my pattern. So this book are actually textile from kimono. Just really zoom in to show you the pattern on it, and I think this is a really lovely palette. So I'm going to pull that into the computer. So when you're working with analog resources, there's a few way you can easily get it into Photoshop to pick the color out. Scanning is one of them, or taking it with your smartphone. Everyone has a smartphone now. Make sure the color environment is good, white lights, so it's not tinted with yellow. Even if it's off, you can always adjust it a little bit before you pick all the color in Photoshop. So I just took that image with my phone and then bring it into a computer, and now I'm going to pick out the color with the eyedropper and create swatches that I can use later. So what I'm going to do first is I have created a new layer on top of this, and on that new layer, I'm going to set a gray bar background so that I can see the color I've picked out. I'll just pick a mid gray there, and then select, and then have another layer on top of the gray layer, and now I can start using the eyedropper tool. So first, we'll pick the green here, pink, this light yellow, this white part, this gray with a blue tint, this red, and finally, this dark purple. So now, we have a seven-color swatches that we can bring into our work and use it. So I added the neutral color bar there, just so I can see the color clearly and not being distracted by this layer right here, and also I think it's an interesting exercise to understand color and see how the key points we are talking about, specially color relativity is at work. For example, here, the green looks a lot more vibrant because it's adjacent to a complementary pink. But here on the neutral gray, it started to look a lot duller. So as you can see now, I have the color palette that I just built and I dragged it into this loosely colored flat file, and I can start to apply them to the different layers. Keeping in mind was the hierarchy that I want the image to have, and obviously, in this one, I want the attention is with the lady. So I think I'm going to have the red be in her hair because that's going to be the most attention grabbing color. So this is her hair layer. I have it on layer lock. What that does is actually is locking the pixel. Notice if I don't have the layer lock, and I tried to fill, it just filled it everything outside or after really aim for it. But if I have the layer lock, then I can just use short key to fill which is ALT-Delete to fill the foreground color. That just make the process a little bit faster for myself. We remember that the higher contrast give you the most attention. So let's think about using a lighter color for her skin, so then we have the high contrast with the hair and her skin. So let's pick this near white color with a tint of blue here, and then again, we use a shortcut to fill it, or you can simply fill that with this tool as well. I think the shape, I want the body to read as a continuous shape, and right now this part is breaking it up. So I'm probably going to turn the red dress into a similar value with the skin color, and the yellow seems like a good choice. Now, let's move on to the background, which is another big, big part, and really contribute to the mood of the image. I want that romantic pink feeling we have. So I'm going to grab those baby pink, and then fit into the background. As you can see, all of a sudden those light really changed in the image. So now all of a sudden, it feels a lot more warm and amicable than before. Now, let's also change the tree. So what we're doing here is actually is replacing all the placeholder color with one of the color from these swatches, and this is still let go rough stuff, so some of the color might not work. See here, I didn't lock it. That was a good demonstration of what you shouldn't do. You can just keep going until you have pretty much filled out all the flats that you have created. At this point, don't worry too much that I feel like I'm short on color yet, we're going to expand on that, right now I just try to stick with the swatches and use all of them for all your layers of flats. You can go ahead and do what I just did, create swatches and then use the swatch, apply to your layers of flats, and the next step we'll start developing those colors. 14. Personalize Your Palette: Okay. So at this point, we have applied all the color from the swatches onto all our flat layers already, and honestly I'm quite liking the directions it's going. Some of you might even say, "Okay, it looks pretty done," like maybe that's the flat comic style you're going for and that's totally fine. I think knowing when to stop is always a difficult question, and it changes as you get more experience, you have a better understanding grasp of it. But at this point, I feel like going with your gut is the probably the best thing, and if you feel like you're RPs has already achieved the goals that you had in mind, then feel free to stop anytime. But for me, I feel like this piece has the potential to get even better, especially keeping in mind the brain feeling that I want to convey. I feel like I still a little bit stiff, so I'm going to keep going. So as I'm looking at this piece right now, I think what stands out for me the first is the skin color. I feel like it's just a little bit too white, and because the color I'd picked from the swatch has this light blue tint, and makes her feels a little bit zombie-ish and thus going against that one feeling that I have. At this point, that we can create secondary color by using the color from the swatches. So I'm going to go into the woman layer and then find her skin, which is this layer. I'm going to duplicate this layer by pressing Command-J. Then you see that layer here. Or you can use this to duplicate that layer. I just like to use a short key because it's much faster. So now, I have a new layer of the same thing, again, we locked it. I was thinking maybe adding some of the pink will help. So this layer I'm going to make it into a pink layer. Let's fill it, this is the layer. So now, I have this top layer of the skin, now the skin is two layers being pink. But then this merging too much with the background, so I can always adjust opacity. Maybe 50 to let the bottom layer show through. So now by virtually having two layers on top of each other and then the top layer semi-transparent, I'm creating a new color. So after the skin is done now my eyes really got drawn to the bird because the bird seems pretty high contrast as well and I want to tone that down. So I'm going to do the same thing, I'm going to duplicate this one layer, layer lock it. I want to keep the mid-ground color relationship in the greens. So I'm going to use the green here onto this duplicated layer. Then do the same thing, adjust the opacity. So now, I feel like the bird as much more push back in space, so then our lady can come forward. All those little flying leaves, we haven't changed their color so is still white, and is really popping forward because of a high-contrast. So let's go ahead and I'll still give it some color and push it back. Maybe give it yellow right now. So as you can see it this way we can create new colors from the original colors of the swatches by blending them visually and changing the opacity. So at this point, I'm pretty happy with the main colors that I put in with all the elements. The image is definitely getting softer and towards where I wanted to be. But one thing really jump out to me is actually the line now, that we have to remember the line is also part of the image, and the line color is also part of the color system here. The black line just started to feel a little too harsh, again that's more of a stylistic choice. I generally, I like something a little more painterly and the outcome, rather than something that's maybe more graphic. So let's go ahead. I think, for example, with this one, let's find the hair layer. Okay. So it's always good to double-check that's the layer you want, even just by again blending it with opacity like softening it, maybe a 40 or 45 percent. It's already if you like a better done just the black block and then with the body lined. That's another thing, I like to because this piece I work digitally, and I knew that I want to change the color of the line eventually. So I work on the lines on separate layers, so it's easy for me to change the color that way. But if you work traditional with your lines getting in, you can always still separate your lines like the way you separate the flats. So let's give that arm a pink color, and now I feel like we're losing a little bit of her lips because it's become the same color of the cavity inside her mouth. So I'm going to pick up this color that I just created by turning down the black opacity of the hairline. So now, there's a new color and I'm going to use that for the outline for her mouth. Then you can keep doing this for the other part of the image until you got to the point that you feel like everything feels nice and soft in this case, or whatever you're trying to achieve with your piece. As you can see here, I have changed all the colors of my line at this point and to me I think the color can still use a bit more depth, and I think I'm going to introduce a light source to really help with that atmospheric perspective. So I think I love to use gradient a lot, I forgot who mentioned this, but they're saying gradient essentially is the passage of time, which I think is quite romantic because if you look at our nature of the time we see gradients, you show like sunrise or sunset with very dramatic change of time. So I think with this piece, the light source is going to come down from up here, and that will be really nice because she's looking up here, and this can create like a focus once the light and her direction of looking. Usually with lights, we think of yellow light, as more of the sun and more on warmth, like a bluish light, more like electronic, more artificial, or like really morning sort of a cool light. In this case, I think it's definitely more of a warm light situation. So I'm going to have a new layer, and then I'm going to grab my gradient tool here. I think I'm going to use this yellow. So right now, pretty much I'm still using the color we already have, we can always tweak those colors later as we go. On the offset, I feel like that just give so much depth to the piece, like the air of the center on top feels lighter, there's a direction. Talk about color consistency, now I feel like the hair is not reflecting this surrounding anymore. So I'm going to do a layer duplicate that we just did. Then also introduce this same yellow like, but now, I'm actually picking up this new yellow light which was blend from the pink and the earlier yellow from the dress for this one. Then fill her hair and then add a layer mask. I love doing layer mask because that way you can control the layer, change a layer without actually altering anything, for example, about a half a gradient, but then I can turn off this layer mass and is still a intact layer. So you can't always go back if you don't like what you did and it's non-destructive, which is really great. A lighter gradient, I feel that maybe this is a little bit strong so I'm going to adjust the layer opacity to come down a little bit around there. Now, I'm going to do the same with the tree, duplicate a layer, and then apply the same yellow, do the layer mask of the gradients. So in layer mask, it works as blacks being the negative, white being the positive. So now, I'm having a gradient of black up, meaning like these parts are being erased. So showing the layer underneath it right here. So now, I'm visually blending color that way, and then I'm also going to turn down the opacity a little bit, so as not to lose that green too much into the background. So I'm liking the direction and where we're going. I think the big shapes are in good place. So it's time to get into the secondary shape and really enrich the image, and add some complexity and interest to it. 15. Refine Your Palette: The first thing I think we need to create like glowing opp for this flower. The line is already hinting that it's glowing, but not so much yet. So this is the layer that I added with the same color as a dress. But obviously, we need to turn down the opacity so we can actually see the flower. Now, with this framing, the flower is getting more attention than before as well. As you can see, I also added some gradients to the knees and the hands where it's usually a little bit more red in the human body. So it just feels a lot more flashy than before. Now, we can go ahead and make a new layer, and then put it into a new group from this layer, secondary shapes. I always titled them in order to keep my file organized, because that way, when I right-click on something, the title showed up then I would know what it is. Especially when you have like over a 100 layers which happened with my work. So now, we can really zoom in and then pretty much the same thing as our flats before. We can still use our magnetic tool or the Lasso Tool to create secondary flags. That was a secondary flags. I'm just going to, at this point, use placeholder colors as well. Let me just clean up this selection. Then just creating more secondary shape. So you can tell us one mess up, the magnetic got pulled away by another strand of line. So when you press down "Alt",, the Lasso Tool become a subtraction Lasso Tool, so then you can correct your selection that way. Or you can press "Shift" and the Lasso will become additive Lasso. So it'll add to your selection. I'm going to also do the secondary shape for the leaves as well. So again, new layer put it into new photo, secondary shapes. Another tool that I like to use to get selection is just quick Magic Wand. If you click here, which has sampled all layers, it takes an all layers into consideration, and what it's doing is selecting that one area that's being surrounded by different color. So if I don't have those on as sampling only, it does empty layer. So essentially, you select the whole thing. But if I have sampled all layer on, then it look at the image as everything all the layer together and it only selects this part, and that's what I want. So I'm going to make a bunch of quick leaf secondary selection. See here's a little gap, that's why it went over. So that part might not be that good for using our magic tool, which is fine. We'll go back in there with our Lasso. Then you can just keep doing this until you feel you have covered most of the secondary shape that you want to add different color to. So at this point, I have selected all my secondary elements, and when I select, I usually have a general rule that I use. With a secondary element, what I want to do is create volumes within one bigger shape. For example, in these hair where I think would be the highlight, I put a lighter color in, and where I think will be in shadow or concave, I put a darker shape in it. The same with the leaves, where I think it's hitting the light, I put on a lighter shade and where I think is turning away from the light, I put a darker shade. This is just rough and you can tell it feels a little bit stiff like she has plastic hair. So we are going to soften that and make it really feel like part of this bigger shape. Again, what I love to do is using gradient. So this was the highlight area. I'm going to add the layer mass. So let's really think about how the hair behave in a three-dimensional way. Around the root is probably going to be going in and catching less of the light. So I think the highlight is a little bit too strong and can be softened here. What I do is just to erase that part of it with the gradient tool. Same with the hair that's behind the arm. That's probably a little bit of a cache shadow going on. But I want everything that's soft at this point. So I'm not really going to put in a cache all of this yet. So I'm just going to soften that by erasing part of that highlight. So it's still seeing through our base layer, which is these two there. Here, also you see by making these area darker, all of a sudden this part is popping out. So there's a lot of push and pull like sculpting, like you have to pick shaped first and then you get into details. I'm sorry, just laying the smaller moment out and making the piece more refined that way. So now, I have all my secondary shapes in their happy place, happily blending with the primary shapes. I think it's definitely an improvement from where we come from. But overall, I feel it is still lacking some of that warmth of the light. So now, we're actually going to actively change these color with those helpful adjustment tools that are available in Photoshop. So this is one proof that digital tool has that traditional tool doesn't, like if you painted something, you can't just make a slide and make it into higher intensity or shift it into a different hue. But we can and this will. So we've got to take advantage of that. For example here, I think I wish there was a little bit more warmth with these strands on here compared to down here. So I'm going to get into the hair layers, see I title that hair details. I'm going to go into Hue Saturation. Remember we talked about that early on. So this is the tool that allows you to manipulate the hue saturation of color you already have. Then you can just color her legs lie around to see. Well, that's pretty cool, I mean like having a purple highlight. But I think I'm going for something a little bit more harmonious. Loving the yellow, but a little too intense. So maybe not that much. Maybe let's say like a 15 and a little bit higher. So this allows us to shift the hue along on that color slider. This, I'm increasing the saturation a bit and then that's the brightness. I think for the brightness, we can't just have it to be the same. With the preview, this is what I use a lot. I find really helpful is to compare the before and after, and that's so great at making decision. I think it's an improvement, so I'm going to go for it. I think overall, the color does feels a little bit dull as well. So Let me go into the background and up that as well, giving it a bit more saturation. So now see, compare it. Feels a lot warmer. Yeah. Then this is really fun part as you can start going into secondary shapes and then start changing individual colors. Now, we click off "Sample all layers". So it's only sampling those current layer. I think this process can be more intuitive, like what feels right. I mean in some way, I'm just like spacing things out for this image. So it looks like not all the leaf color change is at one place. Okay. So maybe it'll be cool if some of the leaves is a little bit more on the blue side. Because I mean if you really look at a plant like their color is so complex and it's impossible to completely emulate that part. Here we have changed just a few leaves, and all of a sudden, these trees feels like it has so much more color or just richness in color because I spaced out the different blue leaves. Now, I'm going to go on with the lighter leaves as well. Again, spacing it out, and then changing. I feel like why digital tool sometimes is so great for people who are not for only color, because you can really see what is changing even without really knowing the theory behind it. But then through this process, you are actually learning how color work. So it's almost like you're learning while you're doing it, which is really great. Then you can keep going with the rest of the little shapes. 16. Finishing Touches: So at this stage, I think we are almost done. What I like to do usually when I wrap up a pieces is to really push the volume even more with some shadows and highlights. That's really the fun part, because it just makes the objects a lot more pronounced all over sudden. So what I'm going to do first, is to add another layer called women shadow on top of the women layer, and I like to create Clipping Mask. What that means is, see how that little arrow, it means that now is attached to those folder. So whatever I draw, it only appear in the area where the base layer is. So what the layer that's being contained in this folder. So if I release the Clipping Mask, you can tell just like drawing it everywhere. So it means that the effects I'm doing whatever is only applying to this layer and no other pixels in the background. So that comes in really handy when doing shadow, because you don't need to really worry about the orient to the outline really clean. Let me show you what I mean. For example, I want a little of that cash shadow here, right? So with this edge, you have to be a little bit careful because at least in the same layer, the hair and the flash is group in the same woman layer. But once I create Clipping Mask, see how these parts just got ultimately cleanup. Then what I do is select Multiply and that gives a darker shade of color by blending the blue I just pick up, and the flesh color of this body. Usually, with a warmer light, you half a cooler shadows. So in this case, I just pick up this blue, sort of a neutral blue and then apply it. So when you use Multiply, usually the color get more intense as well, so I tend to use a more neutral color to do that. Again, this is what it looks like when is normal, and then when is multiply, it looks like this with the layer Clipping Mask. So I'm going to go ahead and at where I think there should be shadow like for example, under the armpits here. I'm also going to attach this resources. So if you want to really understand how those blending layers work, like all of this, they all do different things and they are especially helpful when they come to manipulating photos that resources is going to be very helpful but usually, the blending more I use most is the multiply for shadow. For example, at the shadow, I feel like it shouldn't be this harsh. When it got to the dress part, then again we are bringing out a very handy tools, layer mask, and having that part sort of be erase, and that follow the curve a lot nicer. We can also add some shadows to at least to pop individual ones even better to give the illusion of a overall more volumeness. Same thing Multiply, for example here. Then, you can see maybe this color feels a little bit too light when we're using on the tree. Then, we can always go back and then address that as well, bringing the value down like around there, and then making it into normal. So you can pick that up, that color we just create it up, bring it back to Multiply so you can see what that looks like when it's being used as a shadow color. We can keep going on that. But see how this area of the leaves feels like is popping from this area so you're just adding extra volume to that shape. Then, we can also add some highlights, more highlights, and usually are such as the cheek bones, can put it into detail although we have here. Then, with highlight, you can just pick the color as on here and then we here choose a value. Well, this is very close to white already, so there's not much more we can go from there. But you can still see, to move up the layer because it was behind the line layer. Then, that feels like a little too much, so lets dial down the capacity. White feels like it doesn't work on the lip as the highlights, that's just too white, so let's pick a light pink color, then there we go. If you feel like maybe the flower can you some dots, so it looks more like dew and cute, we can do that too. But this place is just like adding the really final touches because the big part is already done. Now, it's just like the cherry on top of the cake. So I think I'm done, and I think the piece is at a good place. I think you guys should also compare your final piece to the first version when you just apply the swatches from other people's palette you just saw and then see how far you have come along and how you have made that onto your own. So next step, I'm just going to show you how you've gone to export your piece so you can share it with all your friends and families and ex boyfriends and ex girlfriends. 17. Export Your Piece: Now we have done our hard work, of course, we have to tell the world about it. The Photoshop files and layer as way to big to really share online, so now we're going to export it. What we're going to do is go to File, Export, Save for Web because I'm assuming you want to share it online. Save it as JPEG unless you're making like GIF thing. We're not. I wanted it be JPEG high, it just mean good quality. Here you can look 4-Up. What it means is that it shows you the four different version of what quality is as a close it goes down like here 15 percent. The file size is going to decrease with it. I guess you just have to find that optimal point that you feel that it is a good size like maybe you don't want to post something that's like 59 megabyte that no one can open. But it's still good-quality not to really give your work the credit, did you? Here I think 60 looks pretty good and you can always change your quality that to see if it makes any different, like 80. So one other thing that really help with reducing the quality and size is by limiting the color. In our case, the color is not that complicated. So you don't see a very big different but if you see like, use a photo or use something with a lot of variety of colors, then as the quality goes down, it's pretty noticeable like some colors just won't be there anymore. Click Convert to sRGB if you were not working in it or just click in to be saved because Internet browsers use sRGB. Right now my size is pretty big because I feel that I might want to print this, I like this piece. It was worked at 300 dpi, so this is really big. I think for online, like around 1700 is already really good. It's good enough for like a full flash on your website page and just check everything. Copyright, Contact Info, that depends if you want to have it, and you can set it in a different part of Photoshop. Preview, Monitor Color, yes, yes and you just save. Wait for it load, then you can save it as awesome piece into for example the desktop. Image, JPEG, yes, save. Then we'll have our awesome piece right here. 18. Final Thoughts: I really hope that you enjoyed the project and to let you learn something new. I think the biggest takeaway for this class is to conquer your fear in color. So I think stealing other people's culture color is really just the first step. When I started having a better understanding of colors, I palate definitely expend it, and I feel that because of that, I have a wider range of vocabulary, visually to oppose different subject matters. So I hope that now you find color a little less intimidating and excited to explore more. I can't wait to see what you have created. Thank you so much for taking this class. 19. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: