Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Color Schemes, or Lack Thereof

One of the biggest issues I see on a daily basis with most renderings is the lack of a color scheme in the composition.

Have you ever looked at a rendering and noticed there is something that does not seem to work but you cannot pinpoint what it is? Most of the time this is due to the colors that are chosen conflicting with each other. Rather than using colors at random in your scenes you should try to focus on keeping your palette of colors in the same range. For more on this take another look at your color wheel and the principals that go with this. In some cases you can take artistic license to make some conflicts deliberate when you are trying to convey a particular look or feel. Unless you are doing this conscienously you may want to stay away from that for now.

Besides your material colors consider your lights sources and the light color you choose. I see it far too often in those just starting out that they consider an exterior scene to have one light only. Guess what the most common light source they pick? If you said sunlight you are correct. In general the issue is they choose default white as the single light source color. Why is this such a big deal, it works in nature just fine right? Not exactly as your digital canvas needs to have bounced light from the environment and other sources to mimic nature. I like to use one main colored light (color tinted) for a daytime exterior scene and a few fill lights of different colors to achieve the right look or feel, sometimes I do this just to play with my shadows or to add a glint off of metal to look more convincing as a material.

While there are many tricks you can use to get the right feel one thing you should try in your next rendering is changing the main light to a bold color to see the mood it conveys. Try a blue, green, red and more to see if any of these pull an emotion from you by looking at them. Do any of these light color changes make you feel cheerful, frightened, sad? Keep these in mind as they will probably elicit the same response from your client.

Happy Rendering...

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