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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.
How well did you do in remembering the color? I'm here with Susan, a graphic designer by trade. One of the reasons why we chose watercolor to make it a real challenge. Testing her color memory and sleuth-like skills to create a match for the color chosen was our plan. So Susan should we reveal the color? >> I know it's really far off >> Whoa. Ta-da. >> Wow. >> So what's the difference between the Van dyke brown, which is the original color, and your color? >> That one, the Van dyke brown is really cool.
And I was going more for like a burnt umber, burnt sienna. >> Mm-hm. >> I remembered it as being much warmer. >> Mm-hm. >> So it is much warmer. How can we get it closer, do you think? >> I'm going to guess by adding a cool blue. >> Okay so, when you try to decide about a cool blue, there are quite a few blues you could choose. And in this case there's cerulean or there's cobalt. And I'm going to choose cobalt, because It's sort of orange, what you started with. You kept creating lots of really warm colors, and orange's opposite is more of a purple, so I figured this will really maybe kick it a little closer because it's also a darker blue than say, cerulean, which is green an opposite, but it's kind of light.
So I'm going to go with a purpley blue and see what that does to this. It kind of makes it a little bit grey, right? Let's see how close we are now. Do you think that's closer than what you had? >>Yeah definitely. >>Okay, so it's already kind of in the zone, but I don't think it's quite there. Let's test it and see. If it's, sort of, near to, if we just do this, and we're trying to make it 50% value so it's not too dark, so we can make a real comparison.
Okay, so. Now what's the difference? We're better but we're not quite there, so if you would've compare that color to that, what's the difference? >> I would say the new color has a little more orange, or it's a little too warm. >> Okay. So, what color does it need to get it closer to that. >> >> We can't remove the orange, but what could we add to it. >> Maybe the cerulean blue, because that's a cool green-blue. >> Okay, so we'll just do like a touch of that. To make it slightly more, would you say, sort of green colored? >> Mm-hm. >> because that's a little more green? Okay, let's just see if that does it.
I just added a little. Not to change it too much. Okay. Now let's see if that's closer to the mark. All right, it's a little bit better. Does it look like that color? >> It's getting there, but it's a little hard to tell because one's wet and one's dry. >> Yeah. That's true. To my eye, I look at that and I feel like it's close, but it's not quite There I think it needs maybe a little purple because see how dark that is? These two feel like even if they you know when they're dry they're going to be just a little bit too light.
Just a little bit of purple which'll make it a little bit reder and then we might have to neutralize it again. With the opposite of purple on the color wheel, the complement of purple would be, it could be green or yellow. >>Yellow. >>Yeah. Let's just try and see what this looks like. >> Think I've been using pixels too long. >> Pixels, you think green. All right, let's just see if that's Now that's, I think that's pretty good but to your eye does that look too purple by comparison to that color? Let me think.
>> I think it's still a little warmer. >> Which is a little bit more warmer? >> The new color is still a tad bit warmer. >> Okay so we have to cool it down we want it to be a little bit warmer, but we don't want,like a warm that has red in it, like an orange. >> huh. >> So what would be warm that isn't orange? >> Nothing on this pallet (LAUGH) wrong answer. >> How about your other suggestion which was a yellow make it lighter which isn't good but the green has a little yellow in it, right so you've got a little bit of the warmth from the yellow and the green but it's dark enough to just shift it just a little bit.
So you're thinking about the value. The green is darker and you're thinking about a kind of a slightly warm green although the veridian isn't super warm. But let's just see if it does it. I think we're almost there. >>Looking good. >>Does that look like that color? >>Yes. >> Okay, so I'm just going to mix this and we'll see If we're pretty close, it should be closer than the color that you made but if you start to think about it, what you're trying to do is figure out the color that you started with, if it is too warm how do you cool it down.
Do you cool it down with just any old blue? Or do you think about the qualities of the blue that you're using to make it cooler? Is it a purply blue? Is it a green-blue? Is it a light blue? Or, like Currelean, or a darker blue? Then you start to think about if it's too cool And you want to warm it up, if yellow's not the right answer because it's too light. Or orange isn't the right answer because it's too warm. What's another way to warm it up? What's another warm choice? So you sort of, have to keep analyzing it.
To get the flavor of the color I think just right. It's a lot of testing and experimenting. But you have to remember the complimentary relationship, you have to think about value and you have to start to think about how do you make neutral colors like this. You can combine three primaries or you can do two complementaries, mix them or you can mix two secondary colors. There're lots of ways to make the tertiary. So, remember that as you're picking. Your different choices. It's pretty close.
We could still tweak it but I think we got a pretty good match. What do you say? >> I think so. >> Now that you've had a chance to test yourself and play this sleuth to make a color match, you should now know how to deconstruct a color. You can use this ability to determine when a single color or a whole palette isn't quite working. And you want to figure out the missing ingredient. Being able to analyze color, and determine what it's made of, will help you figure out what you need, and composing colors for an image. Like an engineer, or a chef, testing is required to get just the right ingredients for the perfect end result.
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