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Here's food for thought: Without value contrast, you would see only solid white or black or mid-tones. You could not see any images. You'd not see line or texture or shape. Nor would be be able to distinguish different sizes or opposing directions. ALL of them depend upon the contrast of value.
In the example above, the differences we see in each image shows us something else--it is the degree of contrast among the values that causes them to communicate to us visually. That degree is determined by the
distance between values on a scale of lightest light to darkest dark.
Here's an diagram of how that works:
The two splotches below each image show that image's lightest light and darkest dark. I didn't include the fourth image because it has no value contrast.
The green lines show the degree of contrast within
the first example to be the strongest of the three photos, because the lightest light in the photo and its darkest dark are located further way from each other on the scale. The dotted green line shows that distance.
orange lines show the degree of contrast within the second example to be the less strong then the first one, but stronger than the second, because the lightest light in the photo and its darkest dark are located closer together than those in the first photo, but further apart than the values in the
third photo. The orange dotted line shows that comparison.
The blue lines show the degree of contrast within the third example to be closer than the other two because the lightest light in the photo and its darkest dark are located much closer together. The blue dotted line shows that.
Value is determined by the amount of available light from the light source, and where the parts of an image are located in relation to the light source.. When we can see and interpret those relational differences in values, we can interpret any image under any source of light.
The beauty of this is that we can train ourselves to see these differences!
Enjoy a fun weekend finding value degrees!
During my Language of Painting series, I explained the role of our visual elements. If you'd like to review those roles to better understand the behavior of elements, here are the links to each of those
discussions: Color --Value -- Shape -- Texture -- Size -- Line and Direction
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