Color Theory

In a simple form we can define color as a mixture of various frequencies of light. Number of colors is infinite and out of that human can only see which have 400nm-700nm wave length.

Shades, Tints, Tones

Shades: Colors which are derived by adding black to any hue (pure color)

Tints: Colors which are derived by adding white to any hue

Tones: Colors which are derived by adding gray to any hue

As a simple formula we can say;

Sade + Tint = Tone

Wheel of Color (Color wheel)

It is a tool which visually represents relationships between every hue in a circular manner.

Analog colors: Colors beside a certain color in the color wheel. eg: For Yellow green(light                green); it is green and yellow.

Complementary colors: In the color wheel, the color which is directly in the opposite side of a certain color is called as complementary color. As an example for Purple, it is Yellow and for Yellow, it is Purple.

        Purple <<<>>>>  Yellow


Split complementary colors: Colors besides a complementary color is called as split complementary colors.

For an example if we take Red-orange, split complementary colors are Green and Blue.


Warm colors: Colors which are located in the first half of the color wheel

Cool colors: Colors which are located in the second half of the color wheel

3 Dimensions of colors

  • Hue
  • Saturation (density)
  • Value (lightness and darkness)


This pictu8re shows how the color differs because of the light fell upon the flower in different angles. The side which is directly exposes to the light have the bright side and when the distance between the light and the flower increases, it will gradually get d

Color percentage

By mixing colors in different percentages, we can create new colors.

Color Bit Depth (Color Depth)

It is the number of bits used to indicate the color of a single pixel. Through this we can decide the number of colors a monitor can display.

Color Models

It is a kind of representation of how the colors will be appears on a paper, TV screen or on computer screen. There are number of color models and because of the characteristics of each models, their usage is differ from one to another. So, when we are choosing color model we should check whether it is the most appropriate one for our purpose. In here let’s talk about few models.

RGB [Red, Green, Blue]

This model is good for screen based designs like web applications. It is an Additive model.

CMYK [Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black)]

This model is good for printing purposes. If we take a printout of a photograph then we should follow this model. When we use Photoshop and if are hoping to get a printout of our work, we should change the color model before we start our work. This model is a subtractive model.

YUV [Luminance, Chrominance-Red, Chrominance-Blue]

In this model we are not considering about green color because it is embedded within all the three colors. More in Luminance and less in Red and Blue. This model is widely use when creating videos.

HSV [Hue, Saturation, Value]

This model is also called as lab color model. And it is specially used in photography. And also it is use for paintings and high quality graphics. The main advantage of this model is that each of its components is directly related with basic color concepts and it is defined in a way that is similar to how humans recognize colors.


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