V A L U E. Achromatic value is value absent of color, purely black and white. A value scale is a representation of value progressive value transitions, from pure white to pure black. Charles Sheeler, The Open Door.
A value scale is a representation of value progressive value transitions, from pure white to pure black.
Value contrast: the relationship between areas of dark and light. How much of the value scale do we see here? Does the placement of the darks and lights allow for gradual transitions or jarring juxtapositions of value?
Color and value are linked, and pure colors have inherent values. For example, yellow is near the high end of the value scale, purple is low in value.
Anonymous, The Quilting Party
When this painting is desaturated, it is easier to see the pattern of dark, light and midtone values.
What is the value pattern here? Where are the darks and lights concentrated?
A piece whose values are concentrated on the light end of the value scale is HIGH KEY, or high in value.
Images concentrated near the dark end of the value scale are LOW KEY, low in value.
Odilon Redon, Fear
Images that use a range of high and low values, but few midtones are “HIGH CONTRAST”, especially if the highs and lows are placed directly next to each other, to accentuate the contrast.
Chiaroscuro is created by contrasting areas of light and dark. In this image, there are several distinct lighting areas: a highlight, quartertone, midtone, form shadow, reflected light, and cast shadow. By contrasting the light areas with dark, we see an illusion of a sphere curving in space, and light moving across the sphere.
In this Rembrandt self-portrait, we see a similar arrangement of highlights, midtones, form shadows, and reflected light.
Hatch-marking is a shading technique where small parallel lines are grouped together to create shifts in values. The proximity of the lines allows us to read sections as lighter or darker.
Modeling (shading) forms creates an illusion of three-dimensionality.
Atmospheric perspective: A technique where shifts in value create an illusion of space. Forms in the foreground are larger, darker, and higher in contrast. In the distance the value gets lighter and has less contrast.