Values are the most important part of the early development phase before adding color, because a lot of people start adding color to an image before they have the values worked out. Values are the amount of light and dark an image has, an example being, objects nearest the viewer seem darker then objects further away, although there’s several variations on this rule.
If you’re image is holding up very strong without having any color at all, then you know when you do add color, the proper values are in place, and color will accompany these vales perfectly. A quick trick to make sure the values are on track is to minimize your image to a small dimensions and see if your image still reads, with the values in place.
The best way to have your values is with a dark foreground, middle half darker and lighter background, it helps you layer your image nicely to create the nice depth you can add many shades that you like but to keep it simple at first its suggested you stick with just a few value tones. You would be surprised how many combinations of scenes you can create.
Start laying down color, you have to decide on a color pallet to fit with the theme of your image, you can use photographs and lay them over top of your sketch and lower the opacity or blur them to lay down some quick color schemes, mainly if your using photographs the colors already work together. There is a lot to learn about color theory, you should just go with a few colors to start off with you don’t want to get too overwhelmed when your starting out. The general rule is to pick colors on the opposite end of the color wheel, known as complimentary colors. You should use dark colors to simulate cold dark environments and bright orange and yellow colors to highlight sunlight and other warm temperatures.
This is the stage where you start to look at the lighting setup. Do you want to highlight a particular part of your image and show other parts on the low lighting to you.There should generally be a primary light source to use as your focal light source, then use a secondary light source to fill in the less lit up area The lighting can really make your image pop out and show some dramatic feeling, and add some really cool effects that will help it pop.
Start working up the details and also start to focus on the secondary focal points such as the background. Then you can start to make things sharper and more compact to get things all cleared up to be finalized,.
Make sure the perspective and composition works really well by flipping your image back and forth every now and then it will allow you to spot mistakes that you wouldn’t generally notice otherwise. Work on the fine details so you can finally take the final image to a polished state.
Finalize the image and use post production software like Photoshop to touch up and create final details to complete your design.