Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The theory of color and the basic color wheel

Maybe you and I aren't precisely genius at Calculus.Maybe we don't even use it and we won't. But the man behind Calculus is the same man that has the most influence in the color wheel we use today! The beginning of the color wheel dates from the mid 1600's when Sir Isaac Newton's research with white light led him to the discovery of a visible spectrum of light.

In 1704 Isaac Newton's original color wheel included musical notes correlated beginning with red and dividing the circle by the musical scale starting with D and ending with the octave of  D.It does not surprise that violet and purple colors are located are located next to red on the color wheel since these are considered non-spectral mixes of red and violet light.

Most artist and designers use a color wheel based on red, yellow and blue colors. Through the years scientists and artists have made changes to the color wheel developing the ones we know and use today.

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Colors are divided in categories according to their position in the color wheel.

Primary Colors
1. Red

Primary Colors: Red, yellow and blue
In traditional color theory (used in paint and pigments), primary colors are the 3 pigment colors that can not be mixed or formed by any combination of other colors. All other colors are derived from these three hues

Secondary colors
1. Orange
2. Purple

Secondary Colors: Green, orange and purple
These are the colors formed by mixing the primary colors.

Tertiary  Colors
1. Yellow-orange
2. Red-orange
4. Blue-purple
5. Blue-green
6. Yellow-green

Tertiary Colors: Yellow-orange,red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, yellow-green
These are the colors formed by mixing a primary and a secondary color. That's why the hue is a two word name, such as blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange.

The Color Wheel

A tool everyone that works with color and design must have. Everything starts here. You can find a Color Wheel in any local arts store near you, or buy it online from their website. With it you'll learn which colors to combine and how. In a future post I will go into details on how to use a color wheel.

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