Soooooooo it's weekend again, time for some updating. First of all sorry for this kinda lame post but I've been busy with personal portfolio work which is not ready to be shared yet and all the other studies I made just suck ass, so there's no need to share these.
So here we go with some better ones and as always the fullres PSD files.
Since all the cloud studies I've been doing recently included some crazy lighting and colors I wanted to go with something more subtle for now, meaning clouds under normal daylight conditions.
It's fun studying something you have never actually done a study of before, because you don't even know what to watch out for, all the principles of light, texture, drawing etc...which pply to this kind of lightsetting and this type of clouds reveal themselves during the process. This si actually the reason why the first study took ridiculously long for the actually result (around 3 hours) and why the seccond one took only a fragment of that time (around half an hour).
So what is it that can be learned out of these/what did I learn out of these:
The first and most important thing which I learned is actually almost everything you need to get the character of the subject. knowing this you can actually use not more than 5 broad brushstrokes to show that you are painting a cloud in this particular lightsetting.
So first of all:
The lightsetting: in both studies, there is basically a standart more or less clear sky lightsetting, meaning that there are two lightsources : the sun which acts like a strong warm lightsource coming from one direction and one diffuse lightsource which is the cold blue light coming from the sky.
In general this means that every shadow area the sunlight creates will be filled with the blue light of the sky.
BUT (and this is what needs to be taken away from this study):
This would be true if we didn't have clouds but solid objects which won't allow light to pass through them. So if we had a big white cueball hanging around in the sky there would be a side lit by the sunlight and a shadowside which would be filled with a dark grey-blue color.
But when you look at clouds in this lightsetting something else can be noticed:
The parts of the clouds which are directly hit by strong sunlight don't just fall into blueish shadow as the form turns away, but the shadowcolor becomes waaaaay warmer at first on the shadowside for the most part and then when it turns away even more, getting even darker it eventually turns into this dark blue tone.
So why is that?
Clouds are not solid objects but they actually lett light get inside where it gets scattered. So there are two possibilities:
1. When the mass of cloud is really big the subsurface scattering happening in the cloud won't be really visible, the cloud just kinda swallows all the light and shadows will behave almost completely like on a solid object.
2. When the mass of clouds is not that huge, it can happen that light will hit the cloud, get inside, scatter in all directions, become really difuse and actually exit the cloud again on the other side.
when this happens the result will be a warm shadowcolor on the cloud.
So what does happen, and why is the warm shadowcolor this warm?
Sunlight is warm light actually it can be said that it's kind of yellowish (it can have a lot of different hues, but this would go too far right now). But when sunligh is really intense it appears almost white. Like when it hits a cloud, the lit side appears to be white , and when we look at clouds in real life clouds lit by sunlight appear really white and sometimes it's just as hard to look at them as looking directly into the sun. so even if it appears to be "just" white, it it is warm. the lit side of a cloud will rarely be pure white but mostly the lightest area will be a very light, very desaturated yellow.
SOOOOOOOOOOO again what happens with a cloud with a warm shadowside (final version :D ) :
- Intense warm sunlight hits the cloud= light side - very light-very desaturated yellow
- Sunlight actually travels inside the cloud: scatters in all directions = gets weaker and darker and actually makes the warmth and "yellowness" of the original intense sunlight visible again when it's able to exit on the other side of the cloun.
--> warm shadowside
- cloud turns away from light even more -> the distance for the sunlight traveling through the cloud gets bigger, so that it might not be able to exit on the other side of the cloud again
--> the "actual" shodow kicks in (meaning complete absence of sunlight) --> result is a "normal" dark blue-grey formshadow.
oooofff okay so this explains how it can be possible that the shadowside fo a cloud lit by sunlight can appear to be really warm
So this was the big thing for me when I painted these studies, there is quite a bunch more stuff that I noticed which needs to be taken caree of when painting stuff like that:
1. when we have the case that sunlight exits the cloud on the other side creating a warm shadowside, it also appears that the cloud itself seems to be kinda glowing on that side. this happens because teh lightscattering happening inside the cloud forces the light to exit the cloud not in the direction it entered but in all kinds of directions, so the warm light inside and exiting the cloud is very diffuse, creating this glowing effect
2. The point of determining HOW warm the scattered sunlight really is is especially interesting in this scenario:
When we look at these images there are basically only two colors : light-desaturated yellows for the light (darker yellows for some shadowareas) and eevrything else which lies in shadow and the sky itself will have a blueish tone.
So according to the laws of complimentary contrast every color which is next to a blue hue will appear to be shifted towards a warm, yellow,orange tone.
This happens here as well and when you download th PSD file you can colorpick it:
Even though the warm yellowish tones on some shadows appear to be reall really warm most of them are surprisingly grey, some of them are even completely gray, but because of all that bluie stuff surrounding it they appear to be much warmer than they really are. This obviously does only happen in this bluesky setting but it's definitely somethingt o watch out for when painting something like this in order to get a realistic effect.
Soooooooooo this is basically it for these studies. One more thing I want to mention here is that all these notes and observations MUST be interpreted further in Order to get the basic principles lying behind it in order to really learn something. So everything I wrote in here can be applied or at least must be searched for in every other painting (including clouds for example). No matter wich color the sky is, or which color the primary lightsource is, the stuff that happens with the light is always the same:
-Light hits the object and gets reflected
- Parts of light travel into the object -> light gets scattered, thus the color tends to shift towards a darker, more saturated color of the lightsource -> Object "swollows light" or Light exits on the other side of the objet
- "real formshadow" in areas where light of the primary lightsource can't travel through the object and thus stays invisible -> formshadow's color illuminated by the color of seccond lightsource (+ reflected light)
Oh man what a post again, but I gotta admit that I kinda enjoy writing down the stuff I've learned from these, even just for myself. At this point I want to stress again that all these notes are based on my own observations, I don't claim at all that they are completely flawless or that there isn't anything to add, so if you see that I missed or misunderstood something, please point it out!!
To bring this to an end, here is the link to the fullres PSD files for you to download. I have split these images up in ridiculously many layers so that you can check out the process (jeez it was so tempting to just merge everything :D )