Understanding Color by Blender Guru

Notes

Affect the mood: Blue makes the painting look cold. Warm colors like red or orange make it look inviting or pleasant.

Monochromatic: One color

Analogous: Adjacent colors

Triadic: Equally distant colors

Complimentary: Opposing colors

Desaturation (making colors look less vibrant) can make colors look more pleasing.

Foreground/Background: use of four colors that compliment each other (complimentary colors).

Use Saturation sparingly. Don’t overdo it. Best for highlighting areas of interest, or telling story.

Value: Use values of high contrast to draw attention.

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using colors is probably one of the
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biggest hurdles that artists face
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knowing how to use colors effectively to
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adjust the mood or the atmosphere or to
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even pick colors that actually go well
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together it’s really hard for a lot of
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people to to make it work so that’s what
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this video is all about understanding
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color by the end of this video you’ll
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discover how to use colors effectively
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to alter the story or to create pleasing
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color schemes so I’m gonna break it down
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into three core concepts
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starting with why color is so important
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then saturation and value and finally
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color harmonies so starting with the why
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colors when used correctly can guide the
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viewers eyes to what’s important like in
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this scene your eyes are immediately
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drawn to these nice green cylinder in
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the center of the screen it could also
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be used to tell the story or completely
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change the mood of the scene entirely
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however when used incorrectly like in my
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terrible scene here from 2007 it can
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make the viewer feel lost nauseous or
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even irritated basically colors can make
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or break your scene very very important
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to get it nailed down even worse in
terms of photorealism color is one of
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the biggest giveaways that your image is
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fake if you don’t believe me take out
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your latest work convert it to grayscale
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and notice how it immediately looks a
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lot more photorealistic getting colors
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right is just hard throughout the day
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our eyes soak in millions of hues
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saturations and shades but we rarely
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ever stop to study them so when it comes
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time to actually work we have a hard
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time drawing from our memory what color
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is used for one could argue that it goes
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back to our childhood as kid we learned
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about colors in their most simplified
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raw formats red blue yellow etc but when
we tried using these raw colors in our
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art we probably quickly noticed that the
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results came out really ugly but why is
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that saturation of value that’s why
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saturation is the intensity or purity of
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the color and it’s one of the biggest
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culprits when it comes to ugly color
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work the second is value which refers to
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the brightness or the darkness of the
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color so let’s have a look at these on
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the left here 100% saturation really
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hard to look at but tone it down to 20%
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and it becomes almost a pink fleshy
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color again I haven’t adjusted the color
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at all by just changing the saturation
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gives you very different results let’s
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try it again with value 100% on the Left
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20% on the right you can almost barely
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see it
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so that’s adjusting the brightness of
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the color basically so you can see that
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it now looks more like a muddy brown
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than a red now if you had to tweak both
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of these the saturation and the value
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you can see that you can create a whole
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plethora of different shades all from
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just one raw color at the start as is
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demonstrated in this painting I’m fairly
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certain that the only color used in this
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painting is red so just mixing it with
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white and black you know changing the
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saturation and the value able to create
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an entire image from just one color very
interesting now in the CG world
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saturation is probably one of the
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biggest offenders a lot of artists
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choose highly saturated colors because
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they think it will make the results look
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much better but really it couldn’t be
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further from the truth
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highly saturated colors not only look
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incredibly fake but using saturated
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colors everywhere gives your eyes know
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where to rest which is really important
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in an image so having a look at this you
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can see staring at it for too long it
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becomes a little bit irritating so d
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saturated areas of your scene are very
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very important but that’s not to say
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that bright saturated colors are all bad
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in this example you can see that your
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eyes are automatically drawn to the red
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bright mountains in the background there
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that was deliberate that can be used as
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a compositional element so your eyes are
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following back and forth along the same
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path as the camels are traveling very
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cool
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and in this image it’s pretty clear that
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the artist wanted you to notice those
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flowers it’s also called wild poppies
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which is kind of a giveaway but the red
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highly fluorescent color of them it
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almost jumps off the screen edges so
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really startling and probably the one
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element that you remember this image for
and it could also be used for
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storytelling
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throughout history if you have a look at
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a lot of paintings Jesus is always
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wearing red and that’s basically to
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focus the attention on him and also to
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make him look powerful and mighty and in
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terms of cartoons highly saturated or
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bright colors can actually work in your
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favor because it can immediately note to
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the viewer that they’re looking at
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something which is fake and it really
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plays to it’s surreal unrealistic
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qualities brightness and saturation can
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even adjust your mood if you remember at
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the start of up the colors were very
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vibrant there was a lot of oranges there
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was pinks fluorescent grass and really
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really vibrant colors this was to
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signify the joyous happy moment in their
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lives
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but then it laded turn to sadness and
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the colors immediately changed to very d
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saturated tones a lot of Gray’s a lot of
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Browns
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and if you have a look at that image on
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the right there I mean there’s almost
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really no color at all I mean it’s just
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a little bit of blue kind of some brown
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in there but nearly all d saturated so
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that helps you to feel the coldness and
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the the loneliness that the characters
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are experiencing this same effect was
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used at the start of the Incredibles and
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as well as the matrix color is a really
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powerful mood changer and it’s used a
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lot in Hollywood as well as video games
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which is why Call of Duty is completely
desaturated almost it can also be used
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for composition so having a look at this
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image your eyes are probably
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automatically drawn into the background
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there where there is some dudes wearing
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some gnarly red pants so it’s really
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it’s guiding your eyes from the
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foreground to the background just by
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having something highly saturated so
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very important a similar effect can be
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seen right here
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if
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one for that highly saturated parrot
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there in the foreground it’s unlikely
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that this image would be as successful
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as it is the parrot really gives you
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something to anchor yourself to so
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you’ll then free to explore the rest of
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the scene so to speak so just to
summarize what I’ve already spoken about
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saturation and value in a nutshell don’t
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overdo it don’t saturate and use high
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values all throughout your scene it will
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always come out horrible use saturation
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and value to guide the viewer to tell a
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story who is powerful you know what are
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you drawing attention to you could use
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it to change the mood use vibrant colors
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in an animation and desaturate it you
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know when you want to change it to be
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sad or you can just use it to draw
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attention to something that otherwise
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wouldn’t be getting attention so that’s
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the why saturated value which leads us
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to point number three color harmonies
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sorry for blinding you there so I love
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this topic color harmonies basically
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pertains to the fact that some colors
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look better together than others it’s
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also known as color schemes or
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complementary harmonies you know it has
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a number of different words so what I’m
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going to be talking about is six popular
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and common color harmonies that work
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well they’re based on concrete ideas and
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you can start using them in your work
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straight away so the first one is
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monochromatic probably the easiest one
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to start with because it involves only
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one color the entire image uses just one
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color this is best for single subjects
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because it forces the viewer to focus on
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the details of the image the changes in
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the value of the saturation and it could
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also be used to create a very striking
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atmospheric effect as will be
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demonstrated right now so you can see
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here your eyes are drawn to the
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silhouette of the rocks and the figures
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and you’re focusing on the story as
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opposed to the colors very cool and this
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image here a slide from that yellow moon
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at the top there is entirely painted
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with red giving a very striking
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atmospheric effect and this next one I
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absolutely love creepy chilling and it’s
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all using one color
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yellow very very cool effect and yeah
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use very well all right number two is
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analogous this one is cool
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it’s about colors that are adjacent to
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each other on the wheel so generally you
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know about the distance you can see
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right there the cool thing about this
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one is that it’s easy on the eyes
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it generally creates a peaceful and
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comfortable mood mainly because it is
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seen a lot in nature with you know green
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trees blue skies things like that the
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colors are very related so to give you
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some examples this image here at the
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stylet might almost look monochromatic
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since there’s a lot of that that purple
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in the background there but you can see
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over here if I put my mouse here you can
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see there is a blue sort of shore
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resting on that that chair there and
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then of course you’ve got this striking
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pink flower they’re really great use of
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that color scheme and then here as the
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example with nature you’ve got some some
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you know dark green grass here you’ve
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got some light green up here in this
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tree here and then of course the sky
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with a nice blue there and in this image
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really awesome example totally striking
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so you got this lovely red dress of
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course and then the use of purple and
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Pink’s throughout the rest of the scene
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and this image here aside from a couple
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of areas where there’s the blue the rest
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of it is all really using yellow orange
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and red so if you look in the background
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there yellow taxis you’ve got some
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orange signs red car etc so really nice
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effect which brings us to number three
the triatic
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color harmony scheme so this one is
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probably one of the hardest to pull off
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it involves colors which are equally
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distant to each other on the wheel as I
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said and hardest to pull off it’s really
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best for cartoons or surreal scenes
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because it can really come across as
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being quite playful it’s probably not
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the best example to put right after that
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but you can see here again Jesus is
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wearing that striking red and then using
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blue and yellow to highlight other
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elements and it’s created a very
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pleasing looking result and here really
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great example it doesn’t have to be just
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the primary
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by the way the the triadic can be as I
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said equally distant to each other on
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the color wheel so this one is using
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mainly orange green and blues and you
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can see it’s a really great effect it
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comes across really cheerfully and yeah
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just really nice alright number four
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complimentary this one is probably one
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I’m sure you’ve all heard of before
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it’s basically colors that are opposing
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each other on the wheel so it’s very
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very popular a lot of artwork not only
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today but throughout history use
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complementary color schemes
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it’s just naturally pleasing to the eye
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colors that are opposite to each other
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on the wheel just look better I mean
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they just looked nice next to each other
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but something that a lot of people don’t
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mention is that you shouldn’t use both
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colors equally like you shouldn’t use
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50% grain and 50% red you should be
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using one color predominantly generally
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the weaker color so in this case if
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you’re using green and red you’d be
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using the green the most so you’d be
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using that for like most of the scene
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and then using some splashes of red so
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you know like some really desaturated
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greens and then some you know saturated
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areas of red have a look at some
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examples here we go very similar to the
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movie brave I think you could see a lot
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of green she’s wearing a nice green
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dress there a lot of green along the
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grass there and then of course this red
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shawl her red hair and the sunset and
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everything else they’re creating a
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really nice scheme here this one is a
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lot harder to notice since it looks
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almost monochromatic a lot of yellow
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throughout everything but if you look
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way in the background there you could
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see some violet color so yeah that is a
complementary color scheme and here I
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love this one it’s a great example of
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using cool and warm colors which are
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naturally complementary and that can
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also be used to affect the mood of the
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of the scene as well if you want a
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certain part of the of the scene to look
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sort of cold then using blue cool aqua
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type colors can have that effect and
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then using warm colors such as red and
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orange can make it look inviting or
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Pleasant and this one really popular one
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that was on CD Society for a long time
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by Tony Brett in civic sorry for
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protests your name wrong using the red
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and green color scheme coming across
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really really nicely and very powerful
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looking effect and this one here very
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obvious red and green seems to be a very
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popular complementary scheme and in this
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example here as I showed you before
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we’ve got aqua for most of the elements
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and then in the background there you’ve
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got some highlights of some warm orange
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lights and especially on the screens
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there but there’s virtually almost no
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other color in the scene which is kind
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of interesting and in this one here I
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love this one Drogo from Game of Thrones
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it’s mostly yellow mostly has this
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yellow orange tinge to it and you might
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be thinking where is the blue well it’s
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here it’s from the rim light and I would
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say without that blue this image would
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not look as striking or as good as it
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does that blue even though it’s really
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subtle and it’s only a small amount it
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really does help to balance out the
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heavy use of this yellow color alright
so now let’s talk about split
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complementary split complementary color
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schemes are very similar to the one we
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just talked about using opposites but
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basically you take one end of it and
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then you split it so doing that allows
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you more creative freedom so instead of
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just being locked to two colors it
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allows you to use three colors generally
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this type of color scheme feels more
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lively and joyous so I’ll give you an
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example here love this painting really
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nice use of some Purple’s there of
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course all through the flowers and then
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you’ve got some yellow flowers here the
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the green plants of course and then you
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know yellow in the background so
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basically just three colors all
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throughout the whole thing and it’s a
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really striking very pleasing looking
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result and this one I love this image
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we’ve got some really nice orange trees
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there this striking green lawn here
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sorry and then of course the nice cool
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blue calming sky so those three colors
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going together they work out really well
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and even though they’re really highly
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saturated there are elements of
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low value and desaturation like you can
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see these trees in the background here
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they’ve been D saturated it’s really
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this main foreground we’ve got this
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orange against this blue which are
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naturally complementary as well they go
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really well together and then you’ve got
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some dark areas in the grass etc and
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then this one here this one’s a little
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bit harder to notice but you can see
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obviously you’ve got some yellow on the
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robot itself and then of course the blue
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sky and you might be looking where is
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the orange and it’s in the sunset in the
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background there so very subtle but
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again it does give you a little bit more
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freedom using three colors as opposed to
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two and this one here love this one by
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Carlos it’s uh it’s a great use it looks
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like two colors but really it’s it’s
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three so we’ve got this this blue color
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which is of course going through a hair
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on the dress but then the plant itself
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you’ve got some especially on those
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those stamens if I say pronounce it of
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the flowers there they sort of come out
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as this aqua color almost a greenish
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sort of color in the background even a
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little bit of purple there I didn’t
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notice that before but yeah really nice
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use of us but complimentary scheme there
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this one again you might think this is
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just a complementary scheme thinking
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that it’s just blue and orange there on
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the book but if you have a look at a
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hair you can see that it’s red it’s got
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a nice red tint to it especially on this
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curtain over here as well there’s a
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little bit of red so a nice use of three
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colors they’re coming out really nicely
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and of course this one here really love
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this image great use of colors
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especially for a cartoon scene highly
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saturated lively joyous look to it
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you’ve got of course the yellow bananas
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the pink flower very vibrant in her hair
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and then the green trees and this dress
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here as well you could argue that
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there’s some blue like there’s a little
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blue sky and the sea but I would say
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there’s a lot of green in that like it’s
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not it’s more of a greenish aqua sort of
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color and as you can see I mean the
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results speak for themselves
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lovely just dazzling looking image great
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use of the split complementary scheme
all right finally let’s talk about that
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tetra Tech or let’s just call it the
17:47
double complementary at its other name I
17:49
prefer to call it double complementary
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so this is basically the complementary
17:54
color scheme doubled so it’s just
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choosing two pairs of opposites really
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it doesn’t really matter where they are
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on the wheel just choose two different
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pairs so it’s best used for four grounds
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and backgrounds like I would wouldn’t
18:10
really recommend using it for like
18:12
mixing everything in the same sort of
18:14
area I’m sort of hard to describe I’ll
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show you some examples in a sec but like
18:19
for example using the foreground you
18:20
might want to have you know one pair and
18:22
then way in the background maybe balance
18:23
another pair never ever use 25% of
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eights like what I said before about
18:29
using complimentary colors don’t use
18:31
5050 same with this if you use 25% of
18:35
each it would just look horrible just
18:38
chaos so you want to have you know some
18:42
like the weak colors use them primarily
18:44
and then use the splashes of the
18:46
brighter colors hard to pull off but it
18:49
can produce some pretty pleasing looking
18:51
results having a look at this one for
18:53
example this is an example of the
18:56
foreground background the foreground is
18:58
using the green and red parent and then
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way in the background sort of hard to
19:02
see but you’ve got some violets and some
19:05
yellows coming through there so that’s
19:07
an example and this one here this one
19:11
you might not think is a double
19:12
complementary but you have a look at it
19:14
more and you’ll notice it
19:15
you’ve ofcourse got this reddish orange
19:18
building there so that makes up the red
19:19
then you’ve got the yellow coming
19:21
through on this light here as well as in
19:23
these buildings here the blue coming
19:25
through on the sky which just leaves the
19:27
green left and that is in the water very
19:31
very D saturated really nice use of it
19:34
but the it’s this nice green sort of
19:36
murkiness and as well as that you’ve got
19:38
some splashes of green in the plant here
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and the vine as well so a really nice
19:43
use of using four colors together and
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this one I love it’s an excellent use of
19:48
course the the the main color for this
19:51
image which your eyes are most drawn to
19:52
is the Red Hat
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and then opposite to that is this jacket
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or hoodie that is wearing which is this
19:59
green color so looking at this color
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wheel you can see they’re paired the red
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and the green so where’s the other two
20:05
colors in the background you can see the
20:07
background mostly blue with some little
20:10
yellow bouquet effect lights in the
20:15
background there so again that’s
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foreground background just pairing the
20:19
two foregrounds paired and the
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background is paired creating a really
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nice pleasing result and then finally to
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leave on this one this one you probably
20:27
wouldn’t think is using four colors but
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again it is there so you there is a lot
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of blue but you could see that there’s a
20:35
difference you’ve got this aqua greenish
20:38
bright blue and then you’ve got this
20:39
deep sort of murky blue so those are the
20:43
two different blues there and then
20:45
you’ve got this nice blonde yellowy hair
20:47
here and that goes in really well with
20:49
that deep blue so those are nice
20:51
complementary colors and then the skin
20:53
is this more warmer oranges color and
20:56
you’ve got some even some red lips there
20:58
as well and and that goes balancing the
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this aqua color which is in going into
21:05
her mermaid tail they’re really nice use
21:08
of it those nice vibrant funky colors
21:10
again really plays to the surreal
21:12
qualities of a cartoon render so that’s
it to summarize this whole video
21:18
saturation use it sparingly not over the
21:22
whole thing use it to highlight the
21:23
areas of interest and to help tell a
21:25
story think about the overall image
21:28
values use values of high content of
21:31
high contrast to draw attention to
21:33
things and that’s basically brightness
21:34
versus darkness and then talking about
21:37
the color harmonies these are the six
21:39
again first monochromatic which is one
21:41
color – analogous using adjacent colors
21:44
triadic using equally distant colors
21:48
three of them complimentary opposing
21:51
colors on the wheel split complementary
21:53
one complimentary end extended and then
21:57
finally the double complimentary just
21:59
the two pairs of opposing colors so
22:01
that’s pretty much it guys I’d leave on
22:03
one final note and that he’s don’t
22:06
stress colors can be really fun it can
22:10
be stressful when you’re trying to
22:11
you’re experimenting and you’re trying
22:13
to play with it and try to make
22:14
something that works it sometimes does
22:17
just take a lot of practice to come up
22:19
and have a like develop an eye for
22:22
seeing a combination that will actually
22:24
work with your scene especially with 3d
22:27
scenes where you’ve got a lot of
22:28
different shading as well as bounce
22:30
lighting and stuff like that and that
22:32
can kind of mess up your scheme
22:33
sometimes so just basically have fun
22:36
with it it can be fun provided you don’t
22:38
stress and just enjoy the process of
22:40
learning the colors and yeah yeah if you
22:45
wanted the notes for this presentation
22:46
as well they’re up on Blender guru and
22:48
as well as that I provided some
22:49
resources so to some sites where you can
22:52
read up more on some color schemes as
22:54
well as some programs will help which
22:56
will help you develop some color schemes
22:58
and finally special thanks to all of
23:01
these artists who were nice enough to
23:03
let me use it in this presentation big
23:06
thanks to all of you that’s it for me
23:08
guys I hope you enjoyed this video have
23:10
fun with colors and I’ll see you next
23:12
time bye

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