The application includes a color management system which makes creating beautiful color combinations easy. Be sure to see the important note regarding saturation and lightness on the Using Colors page.
Warm Versus Cool
Color temperature plays an important role in design, because it is associated with emotion and depth perception. Warm colors are considered active and tend to advance toward the viewer. Cool colors are passive and appear to recede. Red is generally regarded as the warmest color and cyan the coolest.
A temperature-balanced palette is often effective in design and can be achieved using the 80/20 rule. If your design is warm, use 80% warm hues and 20% cool or gray tones. If your design is cool, use 80% cool hues and 20% warm or gray tones.
Harmonic colors are useful in design, because they are pleasing to the eye and can be used to evoke different emotions. A color wheel is used to display the relationship of one harmonic color with another. Each relationship has a name and an associated symbol. Different color sets are produced by rotating the color wheel while the harmonic symbol remains stationary.
Colors opposite one another on a color wheel are complementary colors. One of the colors is selected as the dominant color and the other is the complement. One color will always be on the warm side of the wheel; the other color will be cool. If the dominant color is warm, and colors near the dominant color are added, the palette will be warm and vice-versa.
Analogous color consists of a dominant color and two secondary colors on either side. The dominant color is the primary color and the two secondary colors are used as accents. If secondary colors are near the dominant color, the color mood is serene. As distance between the dominant color and secondary colors increases, the mood becomes more tense.
The accented analogous color scheme is a combination of the analogous and the complementary color schemes.
The split-complementary color scheme consists of a dominant color and two complementary colors on the opposite side of the color wheel. The complementary colors are used as accents.
Triadic colors are a variation of the split-complementary color scheme. The colors are equal-distance from one another, and no color is dominant. This scheme produces a vibrant color palette.
Tetradic colors are a variation of the triadic color palette in that four colors instead of three are equally spaced around the color wheel. No color is dominant. A tetradic palette has an aggressive mood and requires good planning.
Tints Shades & Tones
If a color is made lighter by adding white, the result is a tint of the original color.
If a color is made darker by adding black, the result is a shade of the original color.
If gray is added to a color, the result is a tone of the original color.
Hue, Saturation, Lightness & Alpha
Saturation is the intensity of a color and increases as a hue moves on a line from the center of a color wheel to the edge of the wheel. Stage lights can cause the apparent level of saturation to change.
If black is mixed with a color, lightness decreases; if white is added, lightness increases. Adding black to a color creates shades of the color; adding white creates tints of the color.
Hue is the angular distance around the edge of a color wheel in a clockwise direction. Changing the hue has the effect of rotating the color wheel. As the color wheel rotates, the colors in the harmonic set change.
Alpha indicates the opacity of a color. Cycloramas use alpha in the B. Famous On Stage™ Magic application.