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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.
A glaze in traditional media or a layer in Photoshop can unify an image and create a harmonious relationship within a palette, just like a ground. Spot glazes can also shift a particular color to warmer, cooler, brighter, darker, lighter, or more neutral. A glaze is a thin smooth shiny coating of transparent opaque or translucent color. A layer is Photoshop is the same, but is made from pixels on a screen, rather than a physical material.
Here are some examples of acrylic paintings created by one of my students. The fruits are each made with primaries. And the ground by a different set of primaries, using opaque, translucent, and transparent glazes. With the red apple on the green ground you can see the opaque color, the translucent color, and the transparent color, as well as the original ground that the colors sit on. Again, with the yellow pear on the purple ground, and the pumpkin on the blue purple ground.
Acrylics allow us to see what is under the paint layers and see the reaction of two families of primaries on their mixes. They create a kind of vibrant reaction because the two sets of primaries aren't related to each other. And yet the paintings each hold together because the ground unifies all the colors placed on top of it. The glazes work with the ground color to keep the colors harmonious, but at the same time are used to identify the specific color of things, red apple, orange pumpkin, yellow pear.
Let's use a digital layer to unify and shift the color palate of each painting. It needs to be a transparent layer, so that the paintings are still visible. If the layer is a small percentage of color, the color still functions well as a palate. the specific color of an object is still visible. Too large a percentage of color or too opaque and the unity and visibility of the painting is lost. Controlling the color in a layer of glaze on a piece requires a balance between creating unity and retaining individual colors in an image.
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