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How To Use a Value Viewer

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using a value viewer

Use a value viewer to assess small image areas.

Two colors close together in large areas can bounce off each other, creating heightened contrast. In small areas optical mixing can occur, an effect exploited by the Impressionists, but undesirable when you are trying to assess the color or tonal value of an element in your source image. I picked up this great trick from Ann Kullberg - using a value viewer to see more accurately. It's particularly useful when dramatic changes of value or hue create strong optical effects. Here's how it's done.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 mins

Here's How:

  1. Take a piece of neutral-white card and use a holepunch (or very sharp pointed scissors, trimming the punched hole to make the edges smooth) to make a small hole in the middle.
  2. Lay the card over the reference photo, with the problem area showing through the hole.
  3. You can now assess the tonal value without interference from adjacent areas of color.
  4. Place a piece of scrap paper and place it over the card, next to the punched hole.
  5. Apply a small area of the selected pencil(s) to compare the closeness of color and tone.
  6. Neutral grey card can be useful for assessing color temperature

What You Need

  • white card
  • holepunch

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