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Color Theory

By Michal Matczak
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Misc

Part 3 : Colours of objects

Every object has a colour, and can be defined by one. But we have to understand how the object is affected by shadows and surroundings. To make it visible enough let's take a pool ball. When you cast a light on it - you can see that the colour of it is not plain, it has local (true) colour, colour close with tone and surrounding colours (reflection) and specular highlight.

751_tid_06.jpg
(1 - specular highlight, 2 - local colour, 3 - reflections, 4 - colour close with tone)

751_tid_07.jpg
As you can see, the red ball is full of tones. But if you remember the rules of colour interaction - it will be easy for you to rule the colour. The rule of a thumb - most generally we paint shadows by adding black and red to local colour, while adding yellow/green and white to the highlights. This makes nice, deep shadows and bright, live highlights. This situation changes whenever you feel like it - the lighting can get blue, red or of any other colour, affecting the whole scene. The shadows can be cold - blue and lighting can be live and yellow (as on the photos on the bottom). But remember - never make shadows with just adding black to it - it will look ... dirty. I'll prove that later on.

Another thing is the strength of the light. Objects that are lighted with it - especially red and yellow - are well saturated and reflect it very strongly.
  
When the light is fainter - all the objects get desaturated and blue.

751_tid_08.jpg
(photos taken from H.Parramon book of colour theory)


When the atmosphere gets in a way, different situation takes place... The further the planes get from the observer, the more blue and less contrasted they are. It is especially well seen on the landscape photos:

751_tid_09.jpg
There are also other factors like fog, clouds, smoke etc. that affect the scene. 
 

Part 4 - Contrasts

Comparing to nature our colours are very poor. Imagine a situation - there is a hole in a wall, that leads to a dark room. There is literally no light in it. Then, next to the hole we hang a black sheet of paper. When we compare them - the paper is really dark grey in contrast to the hole.

751_tid_10.jpg
So we have to immitate the colours by playing with contrasts. The general rule says, that the colour seems brighter, when the surrounding colour is darker. And the opposite - the colour seems darker, when the surrounding colour is brighter.

751_tid_11.jpg
The same colours of different values put together strenghten each other:

751_tid_12.jpg




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