Better artist - Color harmony - Camera Defects

Hi everyone,

I have been using blender for over a year. Following tutorials learned a bit about everything but my renders still aren’t impressive. I want to learn more about the color harmony/balance/what combination of colors to use for each object(complementary, analogous, etc.) Is there an online resource that talks about this(free if possible)? It doesn’t matter if its on blender or not because I want to learn what makes an image attractive to the eye.

Second question: Camera imperfections. Should you put as much as possible or just a few? When is it most appropriate to add a certain imperfection?

Oh and another thing that is kinda bothering me: I notice that some people use a vignette while other do not use it. When should you use it and how obvious should you make it?

Thank you for taking the time to read this :slight_smile:

Take a step back from Blender.

Go have a look at traditional artwork; Paintings, photography, film, and so on. Read up on artists, artist techniques, and so on. A few interesting subjects may be: Composition (Rule-of-Thirds, et al), colour theory (There is a lot of theory out there. You can understand it so you can pick your own colours!), and so on. The list is endless really, and I personally think it’s vital that people have at the very least an understanding of some of it, you can’t really consistently create nice images without knowing what makes up a ‘nice’ (interesting) image.

I don’t know any free resources off the top of my head,the stuff I read online didn’t compare to the books really,but a few books that cover harmonies pretty well.

the watercolor handbook - david dewey

Color and light a guide for the realistic painter - James Gurney

Alla prima -Richard Schmid (hella expensive)

Actually, a free one,andrew loomis book “creative illustration” book covers some colour topics pretty well.Thats available all over the place online,as its a very old book and is out of publication ( I think)

Camera imperfections.You don’t “just put” anything,you really need to decide on what you want the image to say,for “realistic” camera effects,you really should pick up a camera and learn how it works,and take photos of your own.

which leads to your question about vignette,a lot of people over do it.Its a strange question though,its almost like saying when should I used the colour blue? heh,its subjective really,there’s no definitive answer.

edit: and I feel I should mention,colour is only ONE part of what makes up a good image.Its all about balance.

Colour, when to use and why? what kind of schemes? Well, there is no right or wrong, just a level of appropriateness… Your audience will react to colour strongly (but it is just one of your tools) You use colour and colour harmony to invoke a reaction in your audience so what you use depends on what that reaction should be…

but there’s also composition, rhythm, value, flow etc etc…

As for lens artefacts and vignette… they are a matter of taste and fashion, some love 'em, some hate em… lens flare was avoided in real film for years…I remember tony scott used it heavily in top gun… then in cg it started cropping up until it was so overused it became taboo for years… then along comes jj abrams and it’s back in vogue… chromatic aberration has been so over used recently that it’s now going out of style… but all that matters is do you think it looks good!

There are many art books out there that will help you if you look…

Two favourites of mine that aren’t exactly on your subjects:

jack hamm drawing scenary seascapes and landscapes is a fantastic book in black and white with a great deal on compositional theory…
Francis Glebas “directing the story” is an amazing book with a scope much wider than it might first seem

Thanks for all the answers! I am looking right now at the resources you have pointed out :slight_smile:

My opinion as far as fake camera defects: used VERY SPARINGLY at nearly-unnoticeable levels, they can be good to add a certain “something” to an image that makes it seem more like a photograph than a render. If your goal is to do that. It’s not unlike musicians recording digitally but then using a pretend ‘analog amp simulator’ to make it sound more ‘warm’. Often this type of thing is very helpful.

However, if these effects (CA, vignette, etc) are noticeable, some might call that distracting. And then it is actually making your piece worse. My opinion.

These days people GROSSLY over-use chromatic aberration. My opinion.

But honestly, if your render doesn’t look good without noticeable camera “defects” then it sure won’t look good with them.