Values are what we use to describe form, light, and shadow. They’re a huge part of the way we see three dimensions on a flat screen. They’re also a huge trap for beginners. I spent years learning values the wrong way, and then years trying to overwrite bad habits.
The common wisdom is that objects need a full value range: light lights, and dark darks. That’s how we render realistically. The problem with this guideline is that the value range applies to the whole image, not each object. If you assign a full value range to all objects, the image becomes disorienting. A marshmallow or cloud might have very light shadows, and a bowling ball might be primarily dark. In this episode of the fix list, we’ll explore problems with value distribution and how to fix them.