#11 Counting down the most common Airbrush Mistakes

    GIGO. It took me a over decade to learn this...

    I suppose it was because I thought at the time that I knew what I was doing. However, it finally dawned on me that if I start out with a bad reference, I will most likely end up with a bad portrait painting. It's far better to start out with a strong, compositionally sound, high resolution reference with good color than to attempt to change a low quality image into something good. Garbage in Garbage out, or GIGO.

    One of the biggest contributors to bad reference photos is the flash on the camera. It tends to flatten features, which is what makes a painting look artificial. Wait for or set up good lighting if you must, just turn that flash off!

    In addition, we experience a visual phenomenon called "chromatic adaptation" where we automatically compensate for color casts in a scene or photo, which creates an obstacle when painting. An image might have a purple cast, and we never notice because the auto-correct process is unconscious. The problem is that this cast will creep into a painting without our awareness. One trick to finding a color cast in fleshtones comes from the wedding print industry. When doing photographic proofs, the printer would place his or her hand on the image to compare it to the fleshtones in the photo. Such a comparison allowed the printer to determine if the print had a color cast or not. You can do the same with your prints, then make necessary adjustments digitally with image editing software to ensure you have good color in your reference..

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      Alison Hamilton

      January 22, 2017

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