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Color Theory and Rendering Technique

Introduction to basic color theory for design drawings and techniques for rendering plans and perspectives in color using Photoshop and a Cintiq interactive pen display.

Timothy Johnson

on 9 June 2016

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Transcript of Color Theory and Rendering Technique


Importance of Color:
Color is cheap and easy to create today and often taken for granted, it signifies life, impacts our lives everyday
Life is color coded:
Most/least favorite color, holidays, art, design and style
Color for Visualization:
Basic color theory & dimensions, color composition & color schemes, color rendering techniques & media styles
Humans, apes, most old world monkeys, ground squirrels, and many species of fish, birds, and insects have well-developed color vision.

However, it's worth noting that 7 or 8 percent of human males are relatively or completely deficient in color vision.
Color Vision
Humans with the most common form of color-blindness and mammals with poor color vision are unable to differentiate between reds and greens. They see the world as a blend of blues, yellows, and grays.

mice, rats, cats, dogs
Plate 2
Those with normal color vision should read the number 6.
Plate 1
Those with normal color vision should read the number 74.
Plate 3
Those with normal color vision should read the number 29.

Those with red-green deficiencies read the number 70.

Those with total color-blindness cannot read any number.
Plate 4
Those with normal color vision should not be able to read any number.

Most of those with red-green deficiencies should read the number 5.

Those with total color blindness can not read any number.
The Encarta World English Dictionary defines color as: “Property causing visual sensation. The property of objects that depends on the light that they reflect and that is perceived as red, blue, green, or other shades.”
Cold-hearted orb that rules the night,Removes the colors from our sight,Red is gray and yellow white,But we decide which is right,And which is an illusion?

Moody Blues, Late Lament
The retina contains two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The rods are more numerous, some 120 million, and are more sensitive than the cones. However, they are not sensitive to color. The 6 to 7 million cones provide the eye's color sensitivity and they are much more concentrated in the central yellow spot known as the macula. In the center of that region is the " fovea centralis ", a 0.3 mm diameter rod-free area with very thin, densely packed cones.
Why we see color:
or why you should always read with the lights on...
Colors relate through:
Using dimensions of:
Basic Schemes:
one hue with neutrals
analogous with complimentary
One Hue with Neutrals
Analogous with compliment
Colored Pencils
Color Meaning
Color Challenges
Color Dimensions
Difficulties of Color
Color Theory
little instruction
little rigor

taught as separate subject
doesn’t require painting

requires and includes drawing

color theory

Have one thing in common:
Need to perceive values
Color as Values
Difficult to see color as value
part of learning to draw
value shows depth and form

Grisaille –
painting with value
add color on top of value
still used as a rendering technique
works well in PhotoShop
(grĭ-zī', -zāl'; gris, grey, French pronunciation: /ɡʁi.zaj/)
Color Constancy
Difficult to see true colors
brain overrides color information
makes our perception more efficient –
sky is blue, grass is green, blond hair is yellow, etc.

Similar to size constancy in visual perception

Must overcome as you learn to work with color and draw
Simultaneous Contrast
The affects of adjacent colors are not always predictable

All these:
mysteriousness of color
difficulty in defining it and clearly seeing it
its psychological and emotional impact on our perception…

Make understanding and using color a challenging task…
Color Models
color results from the struggle between light and darkness

linear continuum between white and black

color spectrum and the color wheel
color wheel shows relationships

Today there are many systems
Albert Henry Munsell
A rational way to describe color
First published in 1905…and still a standard for measuring color
Created a color solid
Munsell System
Visual Compliments Test
Munsell System Dimensions
Hue, Saturation and Brightness
Hue, Lightness and Saturation
Computer Based Models
Digital Color Dimensions: HSB, HLS
CMYK: Subtractive, white to black
painting and printers
RGB: Additive, black to white
computer displays
Two closely related models
Primary of one is secondary of the other
Color models for on screen display and printing
Additive and Subtractive color models
Color Models: RGB, CMY
Range or gamut of human perception is quite large
RGB and CMY are models of color production & have much smaller range
Some colors can’t be created in both
Devices have their own gamuts
Problem of color consistency
Color Models: Gamut Constraints
Color Meaning: Red
color of extremes
passionate love, seduction, violence, danger, anger, and adventure
fire and blood
energy and primal life forces
magical and religious color
today’s intense red dyes come from crushed insects

Global Meanings
Red is one of the top two favorite colors of all people.
Red is the most popular color used on flags in the world
Approximately 77% of all flags include red.
Red is the international color for stop.

Cultural Differences
Red is the color of good luck in Asia
most popular color in China.
East Asian stock markets - red is used to denote a rise in stock prices
Red is an auspicious color for marriage
Japan - a red kimono symbolizes happiness and good luck.

Effect on Vision
Red captures attention
One of the most visible colors
Red focuses behind the retina which forces the lens grows more convex to pull it forward
We perceive that red areas are moving forward
Why do Red cars get more speeding tickets?
In Russia, the word for "red" means beautiful.
Red Prelude
Color Meaning: Yellow
Yellow is the most luminous of all the colors
It’s the color that captures our attention more than any other color
The color of sunflowers and daffodils, egg yolks and lemons, canaries and bees
In the human-made world, yellow is the color of Sponge Bob, the Tour de France winner’s jersey, happy faces, post its, and signs that alert us to danger or caution.
happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring.
The dark side of yellow: cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness. Furthermore, yellow is the color of caution and physical illness (jaundice, malaria, and pestilence). Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the sources of yellow pigments are toxic metals - cadmium, lead, and chrome

Global Meanings
Yellow represents sunshine, happiness, and warmth.
Most often associated with the deity in many religions (Hinduism and Ancient Egypt)
The color of traffic lights and signs indicating caution all over the world

Cultural Differences
In Japan, yellow often represents courage.
In China, adult movies are referred to as yellow movies.
In Russia, a colloquial expression for an insane asylum used to be "yellow house."
Bright “marigold” yellow may be associated with death in some areas of Mexico.
Those condemned to die during the Inquisition wore yellow as a sign of treason.
A yellow patch was used to label Jews in the Middle Ages

Effect on Vision
Yellow is the most visible color of the spectrum.
The human eye processes yellow first. This explains why it is used for cautionary signs and emergency rescue vehicles.
Peripheral vision is 2.5 times higher for yellow than for red.
Yellow has a high light reflectance value and therefore it acts as a secondary light source. Excessive use of bright yellow (such as on interior walls) can irritate the eyes.
Why are road signs and traffic lights’ “caution” light yellow?
Can the color blue help you lose weight?
Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist
Color Meaning: Blue
Blue is also associated with feeling down or depressed, but also peace and calm
A symbol of authority figures like the police, trust and authority in general
Of all the colors in the spectrum, blue is an appetite suppressant
Blue food is a rare occurrence in nature
aside from blueberries and a few blue-purple potatoes from remote spots on the globe, blue just doesn't exist in any significant quantity as a natural food color.
Consequently, we don't have an automatic appetite response to blue

Cultural Differences
Eastern – immortality, feminine color

Effect on Vision
Studies have shown that blue colors fade or appear washed out to people who are over 60.

Generally consider to be the safest color in the world.
Why is the Stuckeman Building the first “green” building on campus?
Color Meaning: Green
The symbol of ecology and a verb.
Signified growth, rebirth, and fertility
In pagan times, there was the "Green Man" - a symbol of fertility
In Muslim countries, it is a holy color
In Ireland, a lucky color
The color of the heavens in the Ming Dynasty
Would you rather be green with envy, green behind the ears, or green around the gills? (Idiomatic American English for extremely envious, immature or nauseated.)

Global Meaning
Green is universally associated with nature.
Green symbolizes ecology and the environment.
Traffic lights are green all over the world

Cultural Differences
In China, Green may symbolize infidelity
In Israel, green may symbolize bad news
In Japan, the words for blue and green ("ao") are the same
In Spain, racy jokes are "green"

Effect on Vision
Approximately 5% - 8% of men and 0.5% of women of the world are born colorblind. People who are protans (red weak) and deutans (green weak) comprise 99% of this group.
Some European countries have outlined certain traffic light colors so that it is clear which is green and which is red, by the color that has a rectangle around it. Some states in the U.S. have placed diagonal lines through green traffic lights as an aid for the colorblind

There are more shades of green than that of any other color
Greens range from yellow-greens, such as lime and avocado greens, to those with a blue tinge (such as emerald). Aqua or turquoise are colors that are typically half green and half blue.
Green exit signs have an important advantage when there is smoke in the air
Red exit signs look like fire - with a green sign, people know it isn't the fire itself but the way to safety
What do purple and green have in common?
Color Meaning: Purple
Rarity in nature and the expense of creating the color and has given purple a supernatural aura Also the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow
Light purples are light-hearted, floral, and romantic. The dark shades are more intellectual and dignified
Magic, mystery, spirituality, the sub-conscious, creativity, dignity, royalty
The earliest purple dyes date back to about 1900 B.C.
It took some 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye
Used primarily for garments of the emperors or privileged individuals.
There are three distinct purples: Red-Purple, Purple, Blue-Purple. Red-purples are warm, blue-purples are cool, and pure purple is neutral.

Global Meaning
Purple tends to be a color that people either love or hate.
Purple symbolizes nobility and luxury to most people in the world
Among Mediterranean people, purple was reserved for emperors and popes. The Japanese christened it “Imperial Purple”
Purple is the color of mourning or death in many cultures (U.K., Italy, Thailand, Brazil)
Purple is not a common flag color. Only two flags contain purple.

Effect on Vision
Purple is the hardest color for the eye to discriminate.
Have some fun! Watch the Lilac Chaser

Roman emperors Julius Caesar and Augustus both decreed that only the Emperor could wear purple. When Nero became Emperor, the wearing of purple and even the sale of purple was punishable by death!
Bryce Canyon
Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow
Why isn’t the color Orange in more song lyrics?
Color Meaning: Orange
Vibrant, hot, healthy, fruity and engaging
Can be abrasive and crass
A polarizing color
The only color of the spectrum whose name was taken from an object - the orange
In nature it’s the color of vivid sunsets, fire, vegetables, flowers, fish, and many citrus fruits
In our contemporary world, orange is the color of marmalade, Halloween, traffic cones, life rafts, cheetos, and Halloween
Energy, vitality, cheer, excitement, adventure, warmth, and good health
Pure orange can be brash - it may suggest a lack of serious intellectual values and bad taste

Global Meaning
Orange evokes the taste of healthy fruits, bursting with juice
Orange is associated with vitamin C and good health
Orange is symbolic of autumn.
Children all over the world are drawn to orange
Orange is the color of life rafts, hazard cones, and high visibility police vests

Cultural Differences
Orange is both the name and emblematic color of the royal family
Orange is the color of prison uniforms in the U.S.
Orange (saffron) is a sacred and auspicious color in Hinduism
The middle traffic light is orange in France.
In the U.K., orange stands for the Northern Irish Protestants and has very strong religious and political significance

Effects on Vision
“Safety orange” is used to set objects apart from their surroundings, particularly in complementary contrast to the azure color of the sky. It’s used for hunting and construction zone marking devices

Nothing rhymes with orange
Why aren’t football locker rooms pink?
Pink is a combination of the color red and white, a tint

One of the most interesting examples of color effects is Baker-Miller Pink - a color that's close to the bubble gum pink background color of this web page ( R:255, G:145, B:175) . Also known as :drunk tank pink," this color is used to calm violent prisoners in jails. Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma Washington, was the first to report the suppression of angry, antagonistic, and anxiety ridden behavior among prisoners: "Even if a person tries to be angry or aggressive in the presence of pink, he can't. The heart muscles can’t race fast enough. It’s a tranquilizing color that saps your energy. Even the color-blind are tranquilized by pink rooms." (1) In spite of these powerful effects, there is substantial evidence that these reactions are short term. Once the body returns to a state of equilibrium, a prisoner may regress to an even more agitated state.

Morton Walker, The Power of Color,
(New York, Avery Publishing Group, 1991),
pp. 50-52
Pink Locker Rooms:
The status of pink football locker rooms today
University of Hawaii associate head coach George Lumkin was a member of the 1991 staff that saw visitor locker rooms at Iowa and Colorado State painted pink in the belief that the color made players passive. Now the WAC has a rule that a visiting team's locker room can not be painted a different color than the home team's. In other words, it can be pink, black or any color of the rainbow, as long as both locker rooms are the same color.

Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin 10/24/99
Color Meaning: Pink
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