value tutorial


Ok SRK this is a value tutorial. Value is the brightness and darkness of a color. This is probably the MOST important thing to look out for when starting out a painting.

Ok so where do we begin? Let’s ask ourselves a question first. What’s the darkest and what’s the lightest part. So I start to break it down with something like this.

Darkest value - Chun Li’s hair. No doubt. Second darkest? Her body suit. Easy right. Third? Her skin. Fourth hmm. it’s a tough call between the yellow and the off white ribbons and waist band. Yellow it is. Don’t let yellow fool you. it is darker than it actually seems. Look at the yellow box and see for yourself. Fifth and lightest value is the ribbon and waist band. Now that you have distinguished which values are lightest and darkest it’s time to move on. Easy right? Well here is where it gets a bit tricky.

From experience I’d say that shadow side value stays closer to each other than light side value where light shines. Now I have made little square boxes that I have eye dropped from each section. Notice the dark side column is very close in VALUE. Squint your eye and see for yourself. I even greyscaled it so you can see the outcome. greyscaling really helps if you are unsure of your value system. Notice when greyscaled, the blue, the skin and the yellow all fuse together as a one value. Pretty cool eh. Now take a look at the light side column. They should also be very close in value, but not as close as the dark side column.

So that’s it. I really hope this makes sense. I also want you to take this test with another character. I would like to see your outcome. Post it up when you are done. Seriously if you practice this everyday you’ll find that your pictures have alot more weight and depth in them.

Lastly I do these tuts to help you guys out. I pass on info that has been passed onto me. Posting tuts does not make me better than you. Have fun!



thx for sharing this with us man. ANother thing I try to do is to keep the shadow side all the same so when I add in details they don’t jump out. YOu explained it well and I agree it’s very important to keep values in mine.


I hereby move that all of SFMCs tutorials be stickied from henceforth. All those in favor?


Good tut again SFMC

actually, I’m trying to figure out a neat organized way to keep all these tuts accessible without cluttering up the top of the board with a gazillion stickies. I don’t have much spare time right now though, so please bear with me for a month or so.

pls don’t clutter up this thread with “yea, sticky pls” and the like. thx



Just make a thread called “Tutorial Links !”

and sticky it.

Then put all the links to these threads in there. Easy cheese.


took about 40 min

hey i hate to be the bitch who keeps asking dumb stuff…but would i go from this point to your “painting toutorial”?
like what is the process you use? get the base colors like this, then starting adding other tones (red of the nose,ears…reflective light…etc)?
i love these and i thank you many many times over for taking the time to help us out.


Vslash actually has a good idea about linking. I didn’t think about that one. Yeah when you merge tuts into the tut thread it gets a bit thrown off due to what time and date it was posted.

Neo I hope this helped you out. I posted it earlier than expected though.

Hey RW. Right now I think the darkest should be the gi, necklace, hair then the skin. Right now his suit is too bright. Try to go even more simple on your shadows. Too scattered right now. When I squint my eye shapes are running everywhere. Otherwise everything looks good. Hair and skin value is good. Necklace is good. And yes next step would be to go into painting it just like the painting tut I gave.


Ahh, thanks MC. I’m just saving HTML as, you’ll never know when SRK’ll be down again, LOL.


got any pointers on what values i should use for teeth?


TRT there really isn’t any fixed value for anything. Depends on what light source you are using etc…my tip would be that eyes and teeth aren’t as bright in value as you think. Hope that helps out.


good tutorial.

another thing to learn is how to blend different values to make a believabe, smooth transition from one value to another.
I think photoshop has a smudge tool for this. using the Opacity feature also works. I dont know how to take screen caps from my computer ro i cant really show anyone. sorry.
plus, im not sure how many people have worked with Painter.

starting with a mere two value is a good way of starting to learn the concept of values if you’re new. dont overdo yourself and bombard the picture with 7 different values when you dont know where those values should fall. you will get lost.


depends on what type of character you are drawing. if you’re drawing some ugly, beast type of character, typical color values(from what ive seen) are colors like…yellow, mustard, and brown. in that order from the center to the edge of the tooth. make sure you blend the colors smoothly.

normally, teeth should have more than 3-4 values. teeth are never too detailed with alot of shades or color when designing a character. but thats only my subjective opinion.


30 mins

Not sure i really understand why order the colors or if i did it right or not but even though the picture isn’t all that great the grayscale looks cool.


Star you totally have it right man. Now you should finish it. All the values are correct.


This is really helpful thanks. I was wondering when cel-shading in photoshop how do you make it so the base color and the shading seem blended together or more natural rather than two different colors sticking out on the image.


Exactly what I was looking for, thanks.


I really like that chun li pic, did you use custom brushes?


SFMC this was really helpful i’m just starting out and i always struggled with, so thnks this really helps.