The Color of Flesh
Value and color spheres
The relationship between values and modeling 3-dimensional objects.
Margin note.
The value sphere
Value sphere.
1 Highlight
2 Light
3 Halftone
4 Core shadow
5 Reflected light
6 Cast shadow
Above: The value sphere tinted orange. Below: "Glazing" orange over the value gradient creates a range of brown tints and shades that resemble the color of skin. (Low-saturation orange is brown.)
The relationship between values and modeling 3-dimensional objects.
The value sphere's parts:
  1. Highlight. Light bounces off of an object and directly into the eye. The highlight is color of the light.
  2. Light. The amount of light that strikes a rounded surface decreases as you move away from the highlight.
  3. Halftone. The transition from light and to shadow. The halftone is a more neutral (grayer) color than the light. It may or may not be neutral or cool.
  4. Core shadow. The area that's in shadow because it's facing away from the light source.
  5. Reflected light. An area that's receiving no direct light but is nonetheless illuminated because light that's striking another surface is bouncing into it.
  6. Cast shadow. An area that isn't lit because a shadow is falling on it.
Margin note.
The color sphere
Adding hue and chroma to the modeling of 3-dimensional objects.
The area on the value sphere that receives direct light is not a single value (shade of gray). By sampling three colors on the color sphere, we can more accurately represent the range of values and colors that can be seen in the light:
  • Light 1. A color near the highlight.
  • Light 2. A color near, but not at, the edge of the light.
  • Light 3. A color at the edge of the light. On the human form, the edge of an illuminated area tends to have the warmest color temperature.
The color sphere. Color temperature shifts at the halftone (the area between the light and the shadow). The halftone is cooler — more neutral — than both the light and the shadow.
1 Highlight
2a Light 1
2b Light 2
2c Light 3
3 Halftone
4 Core shadow
5 Reflected light
6 Cast shadow
Color basics Examples from art
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