color correction Planning storytelling

What is color theory? – Videomaker

Color concept can set the tone and mood for the viewer using color manipulation in pre-production, capturing and submit. But what exactly is color concept?

Color concept is an explainable phenomenon that happened through the Renaissance period with painters. While primary color attributes have been assigned, it will be several centuries earlier than Albert H. Munsell would create a 3 dimensional color system that targeted on hue, lightness and chroma. This technique, developed in the early 1900’s, would go on to turn out to be extremely precise and scientific. By taking a look at his work and the way it has advanced, in addition to its purposes, you’ll easily have the ability to grasp the essential fundamentals of color concept.

It might be onerous to imagine, but no two individuals see color precisely the identical. This is because not all people are built inherently the same. In line with scientific research, 11 % of the world’s inhabitants is partially color blind and 0.5 % is close to or utterly color blind. Delicate differences in color are often onerous for individuals to see. In consequence, not all color mixtures or even colors might be visually interesting to everybody.

In traditional color principle, the color system used by Munsell earlier than the invention of color tv and digital printing, the first colours are purple, yellow and blue (RYB). With the arrival of colored television, engineers developed a new system using purple, green, and blue (RGB). In printing, it is cyan, yellow, magenta and key (CYMK) where key, often black, is technically not a color however a neutral. Artists and designers use Munsell’s RYB system extensively. RGB has by no means tailored a proper system for color principle. Nevertheless, under we” use several a number of RGB examples.

Primary Color Concept

In most color methods used immediately, there are three main colors, three secondary colors and 6 tertiary colours. The thought behind the primary colours is you possibly can combine these three colors to make all different colours. An excellent and fluid strategy to see this is by enjoying around with the RGB sliders in Adobe’s Photoshop.

Here’s a fast breakdown:

Traditional (Munsell) Color System, RGB Color System and CYMK Print Color SpaceTraditional (Munsell) Color System, RGB Color System and CYMK Print Color Area

Traditional (Munsell) Color System

Main Colours: pink, yellow, blue
Secondary Colours: inexperienced, orange, purple
Tertiary Colors: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-green

RGB Color System

Main Colours: purple, inexperienced, blue
Secondary Colours: cyan, yellow, magenta
Tertiary Colors: red-yellow, green-yellow, green-cyan, blue-cyan, blue-magenta, red-magenta

CYMK Print Color Area

Main Colors: cyan, yellow, magenta, black
Secondary Colours: pink, inexperienced, blue
Tertiary Colors: red-yellow, green-yellow, green-cyan, blue-cyan, blue-magenta, red-magenta

It is value noting that nobody actually makes use of the CYMK color area for design purposes. The printing course of makes use of CMYK, while designers use Munsell’s traditional color concept.

Colors may be cut up into warm and cool colours. Cooler colours typically retreat into the background and we often interpret them as mellow or calm. Warm colours pop and tend to leap into the foreground and we frequently interpret them as loud or frantic. When used in lighting, they will amplify spacial relationships and convey consideration to particular areas. When mixed strategically with worth, the lightness of a color, you possibly can create an image that basically pops.

Complementary Color

Complementary colors are sets of colours that, when combined, can be utilized to make a grey. White, black and gray are literally the shortage of each hue and saturation. Hue is the color and saturation is the intensity of the color. Complementary colours are necessary because they’re extremely visually interesting. You possibly can determine which colours are complementary by drawing a straight line on a color wheel from one color throughout to another. Despite that, there are three pairs of colors in Munsell’s system that flatter each other one of the best: red-green, orange–blue, yellow–purple. In the RGB system, you’ve got purple–cyan, green–magenta and blue–yellow.

While complementary colors are probably the most visually interesting, there are different color options. Triadic colors are colours which are evenly spaced on the color wheel. They can be used as a pair like yellow-red or as a gaggle like yellow-red-blue. These colours work nicely together. Analogous colours are three colours that lie next to one another on the color wheel. For example yellow, orange and purple are color mixtures we frequently discover visually interesting.

Use of Color Concept in Film

Before the arrival of color movie inventory, filmmakers would tint the movie to offer an entire section a certain feel. Blue turned synonymous with night time. Even immediately night time is typically shot with deep blue fills giving shadows a darkish blue hue as an alternative of being black.


“Hugo” makes use of blue hues to let the viewers know that a scene is happening at night time. Right here, the delicate shifts between shades of blue are offset by the rusty reddish-brown of the gears in the foreground.

Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” is an excellent instance of a contemporary movie that makes use of blue for night time. When DW Griffith made “Birth of a Nation,” he used various tints on the uncovered movie stock. This process was laborious and costly and it might take the invention and enhancements of color movie stock earlier than filmmakers would actively employ color concept to create extra inventive work.

Rio Bravo

In “Rio Bravo,” John Wayne clothes within the main colors pink, yellow, and blue. The wardrobe selection attracts our eye towards his character and away from the more monochromatic background.

Should you take a look at John Wayne within the film “Rio Bravo,” you’ll notice he wears a blue shirt with a reddish-brown vest. His hat, a dusty yellow, compliments the opposite two colours in his ensemble. He is the one character in the film to wear all three main colors. This makes him stand out extra and provides us, the viewer, a pure and unconscious gravitation toward him whereas he is on display.


“Spiderman” pairs pink and blue towards the third part of the triad, yellow, emphasizing contrast and making our superhero standout towards a probably distracting background of skyscrapers and city streets.

To reference a newer film, you possibly can take a look at Sam Raimi’s first “Spiderman” film. Spiderman’s purple and blue go well with stands out dramatically towards the amber buildings and heat yellow highlights. Even the clouds within the sky have a yellow sheen. This makes our already-vibrant hero look like the one thing on the display.


One other great example of color concept in each manufacturing design and cinematography is James Cameron’s “Titanic.” The sinking takes place on a blue forged night time. The ships golden lights attracts your eyes to it and makes it stand out from the background. In fact the actual magic of “Titanic” is that it uses both color concept fashions (RYB and RGB) directly. The romantic sequences use blue and orange, whereas the boat and it’s sinking makes use of blue and yellow.

Take a look at most iconic image from “Titanic,” with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio on the bow of the ship. Kate Winslet wears a darkish blue gown with a white camisole. This turns orange with the lighting, making her stand out even farther from the washed-out blue background of the water. Kate Winslet is lit with an orange-red mild that will get more intense all through the movie as her character falls extra in love. The orange mild is no accident — it is complementary to blue-green, Winslet’s pure eye color.

Kubrick and Color

Stanley Kubrick began making movies in the 1950s; his early films have been in black and white since, on the time, color film inventory was very costly and solely used on huge finances films with massive stars. His first technicolor function “Sparticus” (1960) was extensively storyboarded and was even put by means of the same rigorous color exams that Walt Disney used for all his function films since Kubrick was obsessive about color. On account of struggles with actor Kirk Douglas, Kubrick refused to work with star actors which resulted in him not working in color for almost eight years.

In this scene from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Kubrick pits a deeply saturated purple towards a lighter aqua hue, showcasing Hal 9000’s overwhelming presence and authority inside the spacecraft at this moment.

Kubrick returned to color film stock for his masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Within the Hal 9000 pc room scene, Kubrick levels actor Keir Dulea (Dr. Dave Bowman) in an ominously purple room. Kubrick lit the actor’s face with a blue-green mild. This attracts your eye naturally to his face. Kubrick’s groundbreaking film would heavily affect using color concept in the science fiction genre.

Kubrick believed probably the most powerful color was purple and used purple as a method to spotlight characters and actions. When Kubrick went to shoot “Barry Lyndon,” he studied renaissance color concept and heavily included it into his art course; nevertheless, his greatest and most ignored use of color is in “The Shining.” Two women dressed in blue stand in a yellow hallway. A second later they are smeared with purple blood. The unconscious use of color made the picture so compelling we didn’t need to look away. In consequence the picture is stuck endlessly in our heads, the best way Kubrick needed it to be.

Color Concept in Graphics

Color concept, because it applies to graphics, can turn into far more tough. Whereas color in film is typically required to be delicate, graphics aren’t necessarily that method. Inexperienced and purple are utilized in virtually each Christmas advert in america. Truly inexperienced and purple are used so typically together that movement graphics artists are taught to particularly avoid utilizing these two colours in design. Nevertheless, different complementary colours and really saturated colours are extensively used. A fun and sometimes fascinating challenge is to find a in style brand that doesn’t use pink, yellow, green or blue in a maximum hue.

The Meanings of Colours

Colours haven’t any definitive international which means. As an alternative colours are inherently assigned meanings by cultures. In the USA, we frequently affiliate purple with evil or villains. The historic basis for this is shocking.

Most all of America’s enemies utilized pink of their uniforms or flags. Examples of that embrace: British Pink Coats, Germans WW1 (flag: purple subject with black iron cross), the Nazi’s (flag: swastika on a purple area), the Japanese WW2 (flag: white area with purple rising solar). Even in politics the affect is seen referring to communism in the U.S. as “The Red Scare.” It’s no surprise then that villains in American cinema typically put on pink. Dracula is typically portrayed as sporting a black cape with purple lining or a deep purple go well with. Darth Vader wields a pink mild saber. Hal 9000 watched you thru a black circle with a purple lens. In most japanese nations like China, purple has a really totally different which means. It is necessary when choosing colors to remember the tradition or background of your meant viewers.

Colours can be given which means. Within the “Matrix Trilogy,”  lighting with two totally different colors helps illustrate the variations between the two worlds: green for the Matrix (the computer created world) and blue for the actual world. Since green is not a pure color for mild, it amplifies the un-naturalness of the Matrix subconsciously. With using the inexperienced computer-style graphics, the inexperienced tint turns into synonymous with the Matrix.

Applying Color Concept to On a regular basis Video and Images

Typically when capturing digitally, you don’t have the finances of an enormous Hollywood production. Trading dollars for management can still work in your favor because it allows you extra inventive freedom. Consider each manufacturing as a chance to use your color concept expertise. In pre-production you’ll be able to select wardrobe and backgrounds that flatter each other. You’ll be able to stage individuals in entrance of a background that compliments their pores and skin tone or what they are sporting. In submit you possibly can alter the saturation of sure colours to amplify the complementary relationships of colours. You should use color concept in your motion graphics to create eye-catching visuals. By formulating a cohesive use of color in your tasks, you possibly can add which means and a lot extra to your productions.

Wéland Bourne is an award-winning filmmaker in addition to a VFX and movement graphic artist.