Tuesday, 8 January 2013

An Introduction to Colour Theory

We all interpret colours in different ways and is fundamentally based on perception.

Colour is the physics of optics and lights
-                Blue has a lower and shorter wavelength.
-                Red has a higher and stronger wavelength.
-                Different frequencies give different colours.

Following points taken from lecture slides by Fred Bates:

       The eye contains two kinds of receptors: rods and cones.
       While the rods convey shades of gray, the cones allow the brain to perceive colours.
       Of the three types of cones, the first is sensitive to red-orange light, the second to green light and the third to blue-violet light.
       When a single cone is stimulated, the brain perceives the corresponding colour.
       If our green cones are stimulated, we see "green".
       If our red-orange cones are stimulated, we see "red".
       If both our green and red-orange cones are simultaneously stimulated, our perception is yellow.

We can only ever see three colours: red, blue and green, as well as light and dark.

Mode 1
The original primary colours, as defined by Josef Albers and Johannes Itten, were red, yellow and blue. They were defined as primary as they could not be produced from mixing other colours together.
Secondary colours are created from mixing two of the primary colours together, producing, violet, orange and green.
Tertiary colours are them produce by mixing a secondary and a primary together.

Mode 2
The second mode is physical pigment that is used to print, commonly known as CMYK. The primaries of CMYK are, cyan, magenta and yellow, with the key, black, being the tone and shade.

Mode 3
The third mode is the primary colours of light. These are red, green and blue. These make up every colour seen projected or on screen, better known as spectral colour. The human eye and mind cannot perceive spectral yellow; this is why green is used instead.

Although all of the modes seem different they are in fact all the same.

CMYK is a subtractive colour as it uses pigment. This means the more you mix together, the more colour values you remove, eventually leaving you with a neutral grey/brown/black. The secondary colours produced from mixing the primary CMYK colours are in fact the RGB colour mode, and when al of these are mixed together they produce black.

The RGB colour mode, light, is and additive colour mode. As with CMYK, the secondary colours produced from mixing the RGB primary colours are, cyan, magenta and yellow. Addative colour means that when all of the colours are mixed together they produce white.

After this lecture we were asked to produce a colour circle using around 200 random objects. The focus was to have a clear flow through the colours, arranging object so the colours ran into each other without jarring.

Complimentary Colours
-                Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel.
-                Optically they are directly opposite.
-                They do not compliment each other, instead they completely destroy each other.
-                Mix complimentaries correctly and you produce a neutral grey.

The natural world we live in is made up of dull tertiary colours that impact how we perceive other colours around us.

Chromatic Value = Hue + Tone + Saturation

Chromatic value is change by the hue. The hue is the name given to the colour e.g. red. Tone and saturation must be considered when talking about the hue. There are many different ways to desaturate or affect saturation of colour.

-                Dull colours absorb light.
-                Shiny colours reflect light.

Brightness is increasing the light until the colour becomes almost white.

-                Tint is not a shade.
-                Reducing the amount of colour.

-                Desaturating a colour.
-                Reducing luminance
-                More shade.

Pantone matching system is crucial in the work of graphic designers as it is a system that is recognized globally.
With pantone you can colour match almost anything.

In our colour groups, in my case yellow, we were told to select, what we perceived to be, the greenest yellow, the orangest yellow, the palest yellow, the darkest yellow, the brightest yellow, the dullest yellow and the purest yellow.

In the Photo:

Greenest Yellow                                                    Orangest Yellow

Palest Yellow                                                          Darkest Yellow

Brightest Yellow                                                     Dullest Yellow

Purest Yellow

Once we had chosen which yellow we perceived to be what, we were then asked to find the exact Pantone colour.

3¾  pts          PANTONE Yellow                11.7%
¼ pts              PANTONE Green                0.8%
28 pts                        PANTONE Trans. Wt.          87.5%
Formula Guide
Solid uncoated

Black 80%
Coated Vol. 1

Black 70%
Uncoated Vol. 2

Black 80%
Coated Vol. 1

16 pts                        PANTONE Yellow                34.7%
1/8 pts           PANTONE Pro-blue                        0.3%
30 pts                        PANTONE Trans. Wt.          65.0%

Black 30%
Uncoated Vol. 2

Purest Yellow:
Black 80%
Uncoated Vol. 2

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