Color is one of the most important tools you have in your kit. Execute you recognize the best ways to usage it? right here are the basics.

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Color. It has actually been with you since the day you were born, and it will certainly be with you till the job you die. A specific color have the right to make girlfriend recall a fond childhood memory, an additional color deserve to warn friend of danger, and also another might tell girlfriend how warm or cold miscellaneous is.

Moreover, together a storyteller, one of two people through activity or quiet pictures, color is just one of the most necessary tools you have in her kit. A an easy tweak the the shade could give your image whole new symbolic or literal meaning to your image. Because that example, see the picture below.


Image: Psycho III via Universal Pictures

With a simple color tweak, the home from Psycho becomes less haunting and an ext welcoming. (This color readjust revolves about a adjust in color temperature. Girlfriend can read much more about that here.)

Knowledge of shade is not simply a variable needed to color grade sufficiently. I am i was sure you’ve probably used the tools (or miscellaneous similar) in the picture below.


Many space adequate v color grading and also color correcting and will likely understand their way around straightforward correction software. However, carry out you know precisely what is happening once you desaturate one image? the course, the photo is shedding its ‘color,’ yet how walk it shed it? knowing that details will aid you make better decisions and also ultimately far better your work. Expertise basic shade theory will not only aid you in post, yet it will aid with set design, costume, lighting and also so lot more.

Image: A hue color wheel

Color itself has actually three main qualities: Hue, Chroma, and Value, also well-known as Hue, Saturation and also Lightness.


We determine hue together a acquainted color’s name, such as blue, which represents a particular wavelength of clearly shows light. The is of the wavelength’s prominence that produce a specific hue.

Simply put, hue describes the wavelength of the color. If science class is nothing but a distant memory and this talk of wavelengths has actually you tangled in a nostalgic web, here’s a rapid recap on the science of shade wavelengths.

Human eyes have the right to only procedure a tiny region of the electromagnetic spectrum; we call this visible light. Component of the electromagnetic spectrum is measure up in nanometers (nm), and also the color we can see autumn between 400-700nm. Violet light and blue light have actually the shortest wavelengths and also become scattered a lot much easier in comparison through red, which has actually the longest wavelength that 635-700nm.


What walk this have to do with color theory? The answer is everything. The length of wavelength will adjust what shade is seen. The factor why the sky is blue is that blue wavelength of light come to be scattered v our atmosphere. If green had the shortest wavelength, we would have a eco-friendly sky.

On a everyday basis, you can see the process of dominant wavelengths transforming the shade of our environment. That is visually demonstrated at sunrise and sunset, likewise known as golden hour. Together the sunlight is just about level with the horizon, the irradiate has countless miles of dense atmosphere to take trip through and the blue irradiate i do not care even more scattered in the atmosphere, leaving the much longer wavelengths the yellow, orange & red to illuminate what us see.

It is necessary to keep in mind that hues room not simply light at one wavelength. Blue does not exist since the other wavelengths have ceased native the light spectrum. Each hue contains the entire variety of wavelengths uncovered in visible light, but one will certainly be an ext dominant 보다 the rather which creates a distinctive hue.

Therefore, a hue is the founding measurement of a color determined by wavelength; in short, hue is just the base color. Listed below are the colour azure, cerulean, sapphire and aquamarine. While lock each have actually their distinctive properties, they room of a blue hue.


When you start to include chroma and value to a hue, you begin to create new tints, tones, and shades the a color.

There is frequently discussion and also arguments end what colors appropriately are classed together ‘pure hues.’ Is it violet or magenta? Different color systems will differ slightly. Because that this article, us will use the most well-known opinion of what classifies together pure hues: Red, Violet, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Orange. These six colors can be broken down right into the following groups.

Primary Hues

Theoretically, this hues are known to be classed together primary, as they can not be created by mixing other hues together. These room red, blue and also yellow. This is no to be confused with primary colors the video, as video uses an additive shade system the RGB.


Secondary Hues 

Secondary hues can each be created by mixing two main hues. These are orange, violet and also green.


Tertiary Hues

Tertiary hues are usually named and also created by mixing adjacent major and second hues. Because that example, red-orange is the tertiary hue between red and orange. Blue-green (cyan) is the tertiary hue in between blue and green.



Chroma, more often called saturation, describes the intensity and purity that a hue. A hue will certainly be many vivid in its herbal state at 100% saturation. In ~ 0% girlfriend will have actually the monochrome luna component.


You have the right to decrease the soot of a hue by adding gray. Every increment that gray adjusts the ton of the pure hue. Girlfriend can also desaturate a hue by including its complementary color. Because that example, if we take a swatch that red and include a small amount the cyan (red’s complementary color), the grayer the red will certainly become.

When equal amounts of cyan and also red are mixed, there will be no map of one of two people hue — only the gray will certainly remain.


The 3rd property of color is value (lightness). Value measures the level of light reflected — how light or dark a shade is. Including white provides the shade lighter, which consequently creates tints, and adding black makes it darker and also creates shades.


The impact of value is relative to other materials in the composition. For example, the image listed below shows three distinct distinctions in value since of the backgrounds.


For one color of a particular hue, the perception of lightly is also more intense if we boost saturation. For example, a saturated yellow will always look brighter than a saturated blue. The practicality the this applications is incredibly useful for directing the audience’s attention to certain areas within your frame.

Much prefer the English language, there space plenty of shade terms that have actually multiple meanings. For example, chroma is one the the two contents of a video signal that carries color information. Likewise, periodically brightness and also lightness deserve to be interchanged. However, brightness is a human visual perception.

As previously stated, understanding the straightforward properties of color is not a ability that just editors and colorists must learn. Filmmakers of every positions will better themselves knowing how colors work.

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How has actually understanding shade theory readjusted your approach to filmmaking, videography, and photography? Share your story in the comments below.