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Making the most of your photos; creating hyperrealistic detail

In this video, I explore how to maximize your photography for references, how to use warm and cool colors to create depth, and some basic steps to create detail. Here is the video overview:

  1. Many artists use photography for their work; however, what do you do when your work is way larger than your photos? For example, if I have an 11 x 14” photo, but I am painting a 24 x 18” painting, I’m going to need more visual information. The solution? I use Adobe Photoshop to crop and resize my photos into four larger pictures. Be sure and resize them after you crop them, otherwise you won’t be able to see more detail. That way I can see tiny detail like rock scree and tree shadows to add more detail into my work.

  2. When working with hyperrealism, you have to keep your values in a given plane consistent. For example, my mountain shadows are 1-2 values, so I can only use colors those values. That can limit you when you’re trying to paint a small detail. My solution is using warm and cool colors to create more depth, detail and variety, while still maintaining my values.

  3. Oh, this is my fav! The joy of blocking in color and shape, then adding detail to make it come alive—woo-hoooooo! For those just beginning in painting, the first step after you mix your colors is to block in your shapes and colors. Notice in the time-lapses how once I have my BASIC color, I can then add in my details and other colors. Let’s look at the mountainside as an example. To determine the base color, squint your eyes, or step back and ask yourself what is the basic color you see most everywhere? While the mountain has a lot of value and color variation, and there are a lot of earthy browns, reds, ochres, etc., the basic color is a tannish taupe color. Once I paint two layers of that, I am ready to start adding in the details (as seen in the time lapse).

In this next time-lapse video, you'll see me apply these concepts as I add in detail to areas I have blocked in. Using the taupe-colored base, I build the mountain details color by color upon that. Notice toward the end of the video, I use my value-finder to check the values on the colors for accuracy.

Value finder link:

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