Greyscale in Photoshop

Today we continued to learn a bit more about Photoshop and some of the different kinds of tools we can use to block out shadows, highlights, and figuring out how to draw in a broader sense, rather than detailed brush strokes. It was an interesting task, since you can get away with creating something even if we can’t draw very well. It’s more about what the eye sees in terms of shadows and highlights, rather than the perfect lines of the picture.

We were asked to find a black and white photo that we could use as inspiration. I decided that I would choose¬†a screen siren from the one of the best black and white movies of all time: Vivien Leigh from Gone With the Wind. Sadly, I knew I wouldn’t do her any justice, but the simplicity of the photo complimented this sort of task, since it was easier to pick up the highlights and shadows.






I think the hardest part would be figuring out her hair and the shape of it, since the hairstyle is more square, while she had a very long, well-rounded face.





There were three stages to this exercise in the first half of the class: figuring out the silhouette (general shape of the person in the picture), adding in the shadows using the clipping mask method we learned last week, then adding in any highlights with the lightest colour we could use (besides white).

The hardest part of drawing in this way (outside of trying to draw with a mouse) was to stop thinking about the smaller details and just look for the broader colours. Look for the mid-tone to set out the shape of the person, then use the darkest colour in the picture to block out the shadows. I found it difficult to think about the locations of the shadows without actually having any of the details to draw them against. Thirdly, we put in the highlights of the photograph, picking the lightest colour to offset the shadows and the silhouette.

I find these sorts of concepts much easier to grasp than if we were doing fine art. Much like with the silhouettes, I would like to try this exercise again with a tablet, just to see if I can get different results.


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