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Color is a fundamental element of our lives. Understanding how to use it for visual communication in a variety of contexts is essential for designers and artists. This course is about learning how to use color, not only to create more effective designs, but also to tell a story. Illustrator, professor, and author Mary Jane Begin explains how color intertwines with brand identity, how it affects the mood of a piece and directs the viewer's attention to areas of interest, and how it can connect images or create space between elements. She removes the mystery surrounding the color wheel and color relationships; shows how to layer, mix, and digitally alter color; and use light to integrate temperature, translucency, and contrast.
These lessons are applicable to a number of fields, including graphic design, photography, and illustration, and both traditional and digital media. Dive in and get a fresh look at color that is sure to revitalize your creativity and your work.
Let's talk about color harmony. You might have heard of it, but what is it? Harmony is a pleasing agreement of elements in a whole. We all want harmony, don't we? Essentially, it's a peaceful connection with all parts working together in sync. We try to achieve this in life and the images that we create. Harmony provides the sense of a whole. It's about creating connections from one thing to another, not just pieces or parts hanging out next to each other.
One of the reasons for creating a path that's harmonious is to develop a family of colors that work well together. A family is created by parents. A limited palette consists of a parent color or colors spawning many related connected colors. To demonstrate what creates color harmony, let's take a look at limited palettes and figure out all the color options within a family. If we start with the parents, a blue and a red, let's see all the children that can come of this union.
A range of value for blue. A range of value for red. All the possible combination of the two colors, varying the amount of each color as they're combined. Let's look at the family tree. If we add one more primary, yellow, the family grows considerably. Here are the secondary colors and the tertiary colors, they all relate one to the other because all come from the same source. You can add a fourth color, a fifth color, a sixth, and so on.
And the variations and possibilities get larger. But controlling the options can get a bit more complex. Creating a base palette then layering additional colors into the palette is a way to control the harmony in a piece and still use a broader palette. Here's an example of an illustration using three primaries for its pallette. For more complex system, three additional secondaries were added. This image starts with a base palette of three colors, creates all of the core connections and uses additional colors as layers on top of the base colors, to enhance the pallette and become a part of it.
Remember to explore the variety of color combinations is the key to making a harmonious palette. And remembering, vary the value of the colors helps to increase the variety of options as well. In real life, human families might not be quite so harmonious. But in the world of colors, creating a family is the easiest way to achieve peace and harmony.
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