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Colour Theory

Colour Theory

A quick introduction to mixing (physical, not optical) colours. This was used at an introductory art workshop.

Maxim Cramer

April 07, 2015

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  1. Primaries The idea is, with three primaries, you can mix

    all the colours. —Red —Blue —Yellow
  2. Secondaries —Purple = red + blue —Green = blue +

    yellow —Orange = yellow + red These, with the primaries, form the basics of a colour wheel
  3. Mixing Things to consider —How saturated do you want the

    colour to be? —How light or dark? (what is the value?) —What’s the undertone of your palette?
  4. Saturation —All colours together = “black” —To desaturate your colour

    (turn it slightly grey), mix a bit of every primary (or its complementary) —Because the primaries can have undertones it can determine the saturation of your secondaries You can’t get more saturated than your primaries
  5. Contrast —Things only look light because there’s dark —Things only

    look vivid, because there’s dull You can still have very rich colours that are technically “desaturated”
  6. Our palette Primary yellow — blue Cadmium yellow — red

    (= mustard) Phtalo blue — yellow (= turquoise) Primary blue — red Cadmium red — yellow Primary yellow — blue (= magenta)