Value scale vs color mixing scale

Hi everyone,

I'm used to traditional value scales. You start with a dark color and end with the light version of that color. That doesn't seem to be the DMP method, so I need someone to confirm to me that my understanding is correct.

 From watching the videos and reading the steps, I understand DMP method to be
  1.  Making the darkest color of an object,
  2.  Adjusting that color to a lighter step in value,
  3. Trying to match that lighter value to some spot in the object one is mixing for,
  4. And finally, upon finding that lighter value in the object, tweaking one's color to be the color one sees at the "matched value" spot.

In short, the value scale being created are not actually a smooth transitioning from light to dark of one color, but instead a range of colors, all of which are found in the object, that together make up a value scale for the object.

Is this correct? Thanks.


  • Indra,
    Right. The steps you've just mentioned are right.. Correct me if I'm wrong but the traditional value scale has 8 steps right.. Ranging from the darkest black to the lightest white.
    If you had a black and white photograph of the set up then depending on the lighting you'd be able to find the same value on your scale.
    It's the same thing here.. If you were to lighten your dark paint one step... And you were being really careful about finding that value in your set up.. you most probably would find that value(if you don't it's because of the lighting set up)
    8 steps in your paint puddles ranging from the darkest color in the set up(may not be black) to the lightest colour in the set up(may not be white) is a smooth transition in value and color.
    You are right in saying the value scale is made up for each individual object.. But the smoothness in transition in the value scale depends on you.
    There are lots of photo real paintings on this forum. Those could have only been created because of more steps.(at least that's my personal experience)
    You could make imperfect steps which isn't smooth in its transition and still get the desired effect... But again that has more to do with the type of painting you're making(hyper, photo.. Etc)

    This method is accurate in the sense you're painting what you see(that means with all the imperfections)
    You can't always hold up a grayscale and expect to see the same values in your set up.
    I hope I'm making sense
  • The difference between Mark's color groups and a true value scale was the thing that was throwing me.

    This is a value scale for various colors. It goes from the color to white and from the color to black. But at no time does the color itself shift.

    Now I look at the color groupings on Mark's palette in Step 7 for orange flowers in shadow.

    He starts with a dark purple, which becomes a lighter value dark purple, that's normal. But then the next value isn't a lighter purple. It's suddenly a completely different color. It's a brown. The next two steps are  yellow brown and the final color is a green yellow-brown.

    Normally if you start with a dark purple, you can only end up with a lighter color purple as your lighter values. You can't start with a dark blue red color and end up with a light yellow-brown green.

    You see the same thing with the bowl values.

    The first two steps are a blue grey. (That blob in the right corner is black) The third and fourth steps are lighter value-wise, but are a completely different color. They are yellow grey.  They are a different tone. The fifth and sixth steps are back to blue grey again. That's 1 object's color grouping made up of 6 values, using 2 different colors.

    Because of the use of two different colors, it's not a true value scale. It's a group of different colors, which all occur in one object, arranged by value. \

    Finding the next lightest value somewhere in the object and then observing the value matches someplace in your object but the color doesn't match and then changing the color is the only way I can imagine ending up with multiple colors in a value scale for single object. 

    I went back and looked at Step 6. It basically says this is what's going on. I also would guess that in avoiding using white to lighten the value, the use of yellow is having an impact on tone. Mark talks a lot about white milking up colors. Cheap Titanium White paints tend to milk things up. Better quality stuff tends to be less chalky. Flake white is probably a better choice. It's slightly warm.Though I've known some people to use a dash of yellow with their Titanium white to avoid chalkiness.

  • SummerSummer -
    edited August 2016
    @Indra Two things come to mind but I don't know if they will be helpful or not.  I can see that you have given value scale and color mixing much thought.  1) I know that this isn't always possible but Mark has said to just use less white to avoid the chalkiness when using Titanium white. and 2) I prefer using Flake white but have postponed using it for now not only because of the lead content, but because I'm giving Geneva paints a try for the next several years.  Just saying....  Summer    
  • Indra - Thank you for the clear and demonstrated explanation of the DMP color values. Your write up is very helpful, especially with the pictures.
  • GeoffGeoff -
    edited September 2016
    I found this thread helpful too.  I have a related question: is pure grayscale (black to white) always going to involve mixing in a little white paint?  Never yellow?  I ask because I too struggle a bit with milky mixtures whenever white is in the mix.  Thanks.

    Edit: I should add that it's not just milkiness that irks me when I mix in a little white with black.  It also gets a little streaky.  The paint doesn't go on the canvas evenly.  Maybe I'm not mixing vigorously enough?
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