Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Confessions of a Non-Art Major

Reading Reading Reading...

I don't come from an art background and knowing that manipulating color can make or break VFX I've been reading Color. The first chapter goes over ways of categorizing and organizing colors but the most interesting and commonly used one today that I've seen is Hue, Saturation, and Value.

HSV Color Wheel

Hue, Saturation, and Value

Most modern color pickers use something like the two images below to show HSV.
A Slice of the above pie
Another common interpretation but this one is actually for something called HLS. Very similar.
However, what do these mean and how are they important? First off what does each mean. Hue are you base color or Chromatic Hues. Saturation is how pure the hue is. As you begin to mix a Hue say for example blue with its opposite color in the color wheel in this case yellow, you begin to get a gray color. Finally value (also called brightness) is how close the hue is to white. This can lead to HSV having this weird top shape since as your desaturate your color you need less steps in value in order to get it to black.
Weird Cone Shape

So how is this useful?

Value can play a major role in how your effects are lit. If you have similar values (no matter the hues) you may end up getting very evenly lit looking pieces. If you stick to using smooth gradients in value you may instead get effects that appear to be lit from specific areas.

Of course looking at the color wheel can help you tell which colors match well (the opposite ones). This can also be called contrasting hues. These naturally help each other stand out more.

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