Tuesday, November 18

Color Blocking; Tutorial Tuesday

Blocking defined; the grouping or treatment of things (e.g., items of data or shades of color) in blocks.
Color Blocking is grouping elements of the same color together. Essentially it's building in such a way that each color has its own silhouette. Color blocking is effective for much the same reason as strong silhouettes. The build is easier to process at first glance, it is clearer when viewed as a thumbnail or from a distance and is generally more iconic and memorable.

Good color blocking is achieved by planning ahead and controlling the number and size of your blocks of color. This starfighter by Nick Trotta seems to use all three of the methods for effective color blocking. Particularly reducing the number of blocks by connecting them together.

Planning your color blocking ahead of time, either mentally or by sketching out a concept, is one of the best ways to achieve strong color blocking. The MOC shown above, by Retinence, is one of the best examples of effective color blocking. The number of blocks is low and the size is consistent. Except for the small dash of yellow on his forearm, which is likely directly from the source material.

Consistent color block size is very important. For instance, though the instances of red on Mike's Protoman are very consistent, there is a little block of yellow on the forearm that is much smaller than the yellow scarf and it looks a little odd. For my Condor 55, shown above, I was very careful to make all instances of a color consistent in size and texture, and I think it really paid off.

The minimum number of color blocks is the simplest and generally the best option. Reduce as far as possible by removing and connecting color blocks. In this (deceptively small) ship by Pierre E Fieschi he has connected nearly all of the yellow into one single block of color, over the base color block of gray. This is not an accident, Pierre generally works from concept sketches. Rarely will it be practical to get as minimalist as Pierre, but the principle of reducing your number of color blocks to the absolute minimum is important.

Poor color blocking is characterized by a large number of small, unsystematic blocks of color. In Nick's Bionicle build above, notice the random small bits of yellow at his elbow, lower abdomen and ankle. These don't match the fairly large block of yellow on his upper torso. In this case I think the main problem is that there the instances of yellow are too small and there may be too few of them.

This build by Nick Vas (left) and Tyler Clites (right) have very few blocks of color. This simplicity makes the otherwise complex MOCs much more accessible and iconic.

No comments:

Post a Comment