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January 11, 2013
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Grayscale: huh?

:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013   General Artist
I know many great and awesome digital artists swear by grayscale but how do you do it exactly? I just did my first one [link] and I dunno if I did it right. I approached it as the basis for a colored work, blended and shaded it as best as I can, and plan to fix any mistakes during the coloring process.

I am worried that what I came up with is too dark and will seriously screw up the coloring process (which is another problem I have to tackle down the road). Are there values you should avoid, like 0% and 100%? I've gotten some really great feedback, tips and info when I asked for help before on other stuff so I'm hoping for more.

Thanks for reading. :)
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:iconalantherobot:
AlanTheRobot Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The point of drawing in gray-scale is to get an eye for value. At first you can make the reference black and white too, than after some practice you can probably paint from a colored reference.

If you get the values down right it's easy to put color on top using different layer blending modes. I think I have a few tutorials saved about it in my tutorials folder in my favorites if you want to search through there. I found tutorials on this technique are hard to find since it doesn't have one common name. The thing is it's not easy to get the values right, and I often find using layer modes to add colors sort of dulls the image.

As for your painting, it's pretty good for a first try in B&W. The skin is just a tad bit too dark/glossy looking. Tone it down a bit and you should be good.

There aren't any values you should avoid. If something would be white, it's white, if it's black, it's black. Of course, sometimes you make things extremes that aren't extremes, and that's where problems come in. You have to develop a good eye.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013   General Artist
Thanks. I did want a glowy skin effect, but I agree that the gradations might be a bit too drastic. I'll have to work on making next grayscale softer: better grayscale, fewer things to fix during coloration process.

Thanks for the feedback. :)
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:iconalantherobot:
AlanTheRobot Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think actually lightning around the skin with a soft brush and lighter skin might actually make it seem light it's glowing more. Also don't forget if we're talking about real light coming from her skin it would affect things around her and case a light on her hair, etc.
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:iconmatsuemon:
Matsuemon Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
Doing a grayscale first and then adding color does seem like a lot of extra work to me, but I figure if nothing else, if you can't get the color right, at least you still have a good grayscale painting to show for it. Also doesn't seem like it would look right with colors laid over the grays, but I'm going to try it and see how it looks.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013   General Artist
I found a great tutorial on how to color grayscale if you wanna check it out [link]. It really makes you think about color and tones once you put them over your grayscale.
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:iconmatsuemon:
Matsuemon Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
Thanks! I'll check it out right away.
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:iconmatsuemon:
Matsuemon Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
Thanks, I'll definitely check it out!
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:iconmatsuemon:
Matsuemon Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
I've been looking into doing grayscale paintings lately, too, and adding color later. Doing just a grayscale is wayyyy easier than color, but I imagine adding color will be a bit difficult. The first one I did I had the same issue with making it too dark initially, and ended up having to correct that later. Just keep in mind complete white or black are used very judiciously, and I would even say rarely. I always try to establish my extremes (lightest lights and darkest darks) first, which gives the whole thing some parameters, then I go from there. You've probably noticed that lower contrast pictures are more difficult to do and take more skill.
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:iconrayn3ll:
Rayn3ll Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013   General Artist
That's a great tip. I really should do that, but my only grayscale experience does from traditional sketches so I'll have to adapt to digital (as usual). :)
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:iconmatsuemon:
Matsuemon Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
I've seen your first grayscale painting and it's great! You are being too hard on yourself. You're doing just fine!
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