Sunday, August 3, 2014

Value vs Color

What would you do with a luscious collection of 20 Jinny Beyer batik fat quarters?
I mean actually DO, after much petting, arranging, and showing off?
I'm thinking of cutting squares, and inserting strips of the opposite value into each one.
So, as a prelude to cutting into them, I decided to sort the collection into two values: Lighter and Darker. 
Then each pile was sorted to run from the lightest to the darkest.
I thought I was doing pretty well until I got out the red plastic thing to look through...and found I did not have a nice smooth transition of values. 

If you've done this, you know who the trouble-makers are: the brights and the reds! I know there is a green plastic thing to look at the reds, but I don't have one. Heck, I had to do some serious rooting around just to find the red thingie! Usually I just depend on my extremely poor vision, and take off my glasses to squint at a set of fabrics.
I made a few adjustments and came up with these sets. On the right is LIGHTEST at the top and on the left is DARKEST at the top.
Light to dark                                  Dark to light

See how that bright turquoise sticks out? But that's where the red plastic "said" to put it!
Then I remembered my little camera has a setting called "COPY", which really means it changes things to black & white...just values, no colors at all. 
Now I could really see this:
Lights                                      Darks
So my camera agreed that the bright turquoise should be moved up to the lighter fabrics.
But take a look at the bottom fabric on each side...they are exactly the same! Which is how running the values in opposite directions on each stack should come out. A quick glace at the first pic, with the colors, sure does have those 2 looking different! Maybe they are in the wrong stacks?

So I just moved a few pieces around, checking with the camera. Sometimes I even had to put my finger on the piece to be moved, as I looked through the lens. When the color is gone, these guys all look alike!

Here's the new arrangement:
Lights                         Darks
Now that's what I call a nice smooth transition!
So what happens when the color comes back in?

Lights                                    Darks
No wonder everybody gets confused by this stuff!
But that still doesn't mean it is not important. You have to take it like all the other "rules"...don't be set by them, just be guided.

This was a very helpful exercise. 
When I start to cut and sew, I'll take the very lightest one (top left) and put it with the dark that is least dark (bottom right). That will make for a good contrast between each pair.
And If I don't like any two together...I'll change them!
I'd like to say a Big Thank You again to Connie at Stepping Stones in St. Simons Island, GA for sending me these fabulous a thank you for designing her Row by Row Experience pattern....
and leave you with an old Scottish proverb:
When the lights are out, all cats be gray!
The cat is always gray at my house!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those fabrics are lovely, but I the gray cat is the fairest one of all -- even if not the lightest one of all!

I love your method of using a camera with its black & white setting to asses values. And I also love that you're willing to make changes along the way if you don't like the way a given pairing looks: I like to say that it's fine to judge things "by eye", because it's eyes that will be looking at and enjoying the quilt when it's done.