• Fur Affinity Forums are governed by Fur Affinity's Rules and Policies. Links and additional information can be accessed in the Site Information Forum.

What is the general stance on "eyedropping" real photos for colours?

Terror-Run

Well-Known Member
Ok, as the title says. I was wondering what fellow artists/admirers is thinking of using the eyedrop tool to lift the colour off a photograph and either use it directly, or as a reference in your own image.
I'm a bit torn on the subject and that is why I was curious. Anyways here is what I think the pro's and con's are;

Pro's;
For better understanding the dept and variety of a object. - a piece of grass is no longer "just green", there are different hues and an extreme variety between light and dark within a strand.
To dare the artist in using heavier contrasts - Basically the same as above. but unless I'm reminded that the contrasts are really that big irl I often become scared of using colour and end up with very bland/safe looking images.

con's;
It's easy to pick the wrong color. - let's say the pixel you select is just 1% of the colour composition on that object, and if you blend them wrongly it will look very odd/awkward.
It can turn into a crutch - if used heavily and blindly, it can turn into something the artist "needs" constantly, instead of something the artist will learn from and take on to newer projects in the way of better colour understanding.
Photos are often not the best with colours - not saying photos are bad, but eyedropping a photo is not the same as eyedropping from reality (which can't be done ofc).

I dunno, I feel like it's a mix of referencing and "tracing", and I feel it's a great tool, but at the same time kinda shady. any opinions?
The way I do is usually pick a middle colour, two darker and two lighter shades and put them in a blob, and then use that as a palette.
 

Blekarotva

Member
Consider me a painting purist. I do not like nor support eyedropping from photos.
Main reason is because I think it's lazy. I mean if you want to learn you must go through the process of observing, reflection/thinking, absorbing and deciding to use color in a succesful way. And this should be done always, no matter if you're doing it fast or very slowly paying attention to each color effect.
Once you've done it during enough time (years) eyedropping is not necessary at all because you'll be repeating what you learned.

Paint with oils and use photos as reference. You'll spend HOURS mixing colors to get the right combination that matches the photo's color (not that you'll get the exact right one).
This excersise trains your eye to recognise a good color and rich palette WITHOUT eyedropping ever.

That's it. I dont think eyedropping photos is a good thing if you want to learn color. Rich color palettes can be achieved without eyedropping.
If you only want to get a quick result/shortcut and dont care that much about learning, then by all means do it.

What I do when I want to get the exact same color as the photo, is to pick the.colors I think are the closest and then paint with them over photo next to the color.
If my choice is not close to the photo's color I keep looking until I get something that is close enough - and sometimes I realise the color won't look the same until the rest of the colors are added.

When I paint without refs I usually pick five different tones of the same color, a dark desaturated blue, a very bright desaturated yellow, complementary colors, and mix each one a few times to make my palette.
 

Evriale

Member
I've done quite some drawings (paintings) by reference lately and I don't use eyedropper for them. The reason is (as it was also written above) that I don't get used to it, but practice being without. But same color may seem different based on what colors are near it. So the only way I used eyedropper was to click on several places before I started painting to see where colors stand (approximately) on color wheel. I didn't then use any of the picked colors. And I didn't use this with all of my paintings - far from that. I only used that very rarely.
I don't see color picking as such a bad thing. Maybe try the thing I did - picking several colors and then use your own. The reason I suggest this is because then you'll see easier what colors to pick and you'll train your eye to then be able to tell itself which color to use. It is kinda like drawings animals from reference to then be able to draw them without one.
 

MechaChick

New Member
Consider me a painting purist. I do not like nor support eyedropping from photos.
Main reason is because I think it's lazy. I mean if you want to learn you must go through the process of observing, reflection/thinking, absorbing and deciding to use color in a succesful way. And this should be done always, no matter if you're doing it fast or very slowly paying attention to each color effect.
Once you've done it during enough time (years) eyedropping is not necessary at all because you'll be repeating what you learned.

Paint with oils and use photos as reference. You'll spend HOURS mixing colors to get the right combination that matches the photo's color (not that you'll get the exact right one).
This excersise trains your eye to recognise a good color and rich palette WITHOUT eyedropping ever.

That's it. I dont think eyedropping photos is a good thing if you want to learn color. Rich color palettes can be achieved without eyedropping.
If you only want to get a quick result/shortcut and dont care that much about learning, then by all means do it.

What I do when I want to get the exact same color as the photo, is to pick the.colors I think are the closest and then paint with them over photo next to the color.
If my choice is not close to the photo's color I keep looking until I get something that is close enough - and sometimes I realise the color won't look the same until the rest of the colors are added.

When I paint without refs I usually pick five different tones of the same color, a dark desaturated blue, a very bright desaturated yellow, complementary colors, and mix each one a few times to make my palette.

I fully agree here. I'm pretty much the same and have a very similar stance. I'm not sure why you would need to eyedrop. Observation should be enough, the more you paint the more you find yourself adapting, and colours, depth and textures come quicker, you adapt faster, you set colours like a second reflex. You'll become experienced with the more you do. I don't use references whatsoever, unless it's something I've never painted. In which case I'll look at a few pictures via google then return, and those would be my refs for study, but create my own work after seeing them.

As for grass, there's so many different hues, agreed, but thats just one aspect, grass won't look the same if it's late in the event as the sun sets. Reclining light, and so on. Textures can be complex to grasp, but someone offered me one tip, master lighting, and textures will mature almost automatically. Strange as it sounded, they did for me. I'm not a fantastic artist but I don't use preset textures, nor do I waste time with eyedropping as I want to improve, and progress, trial error and minstakes. Knowing where you went wrong, and why you went wrong lets you see things. Assess your own work, and see all the imperfections in that artwork, why is the colour composition off, how should it have been. Usually I start off with a dark colour, and then repaint over it with a slightly lighter colour for the grass blades, then again with another a touch lighter, then finally the lighting touch. Seems long winded but I get to see how much I need to adjust colour. I don't paint it in one blast light dark etc. One hue at a time.
 

ChapperIce

Member
I think it's useful as a learning tool if used correctly. When I was just starting out I would eyedrop from photos to get a 'base' color and learn what a basic say, caucasian skin color might look like. Colors can look a hell of a lot different in the selection box/colorwheel/in the little "color selected" box in an art program than they would through mixed paint or in a finished product.

I think using it like that, to train your brain to recognize color in a digital form (since it's a lot different from real media) is acceptable, but using it as a crutch is a bad habit.

Now the only time I eyedrop anything is in character art or when the color HAS to be exact for whatever reason (Or when I have a crappy monitor that shows colors a bit "off" or something), or when I'm having trouble to give myself a "refresher" in my roots.
 

PastryOfApathy

Well-Known Member
I'm far, far from an expert on coloring. However in my experience whenever I've tried to eyedrop colors from photos they've always seemed a bit off. Like it always felt like the photo itself somehow diluted the color or something like that. The only thing sorta like eyedropping I do anymore is maybe eyedrop a color to get the general "area" of a color, and kind of play around with hues and such around it to create a palette.
 

Fallowfox

Are we moomin, or are we dancer?
Whatever means people employ to construct images however 'lazy' is irrelevant, provided they don't rip off someone else's intellectual property.
Eye dropping doesn't guarantee a 'true colour' appearance because colours are interpreted relative to surrounding colours, which is demonstrated in optical illusions such as this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Grey_square_optical_illusion.PNG

So if people do believe they can use that short cut slavishly then they will be disappointed. Considered use could save time, though.
 

Mysticmagix

New Member
I prefer the method of mixing your own colors, however i can understand the use of the color drop tool, it does have its uses and merits. However the best way to learn is to mix your own, the idropper tool can be good for a starting point but you usually get truer colors if you trust your eyes over the computer.

we did this project in paintimg class where you gridded off a photo and then had to mix each square as a different color, it was boring and tedious but it taught a lot about mixing colors and finding the median color.
 

Suid

New Member
I think it's alright to eyedrop to get a realistic gauge on natural colors, but it's important to tune your own palette in the meantime.
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
At least it's not tracing...? :p

I think it's alright, but still a bit iffy. Adjusting the colors is a crucial part in editing a photo. So copying the colors is like copying what the photographer wanted to show with their photo.

I think it's alright to eyedrop to get a realistic gauge on natural colors, but it's important to tune your own palette in the meantime.

It might not be as accurate as you think. Some photographers like muted colors, some like very vibrant colors. The truth might be somewhere in between.
So technically there isn't really a point in copying the colors. You don't get anything realistic that way, you just copy what the photographer wanted to show.
 

Terror-Run

Well-Known Member
lol my thread to necro'ed.

I have worked out the problem I had back then - but basically I was scared of colours, so what I thought was using vibrant and realistic colours where grey and muted. And I only figured this out by contantly double checking my values up to clean photos (aka not with a lot of extra saturation and effects).

But again, let's let this thread go back to sleep now~
 
Top