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    Complementing colors

    From what I understand about complementing colors, is like having orange going with blue, red with green, and yellow with purple. How does it work in a painting? I mean like does painting your snow purple and having the sky yellow make the painting look good?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    I mean like does painting your snow purple and having the sky yellow make the painting look good?
    Well it sure as hell will make them pop up. How good will it look depends on the artist (there is no magical way of making any painting automatically look good), but purple/yellow combination isn't the most eye pleasing one to start.
    Simple example, blue background makes orange pop up:


    Google for "complementary colors" and you'll have lots of examples, also I'd think that most book related to painting will talk about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    I mean like does painting your snow purple and having the sky yellow make the painting look good?
    Only if you're Maxfield Parrish.

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    Oh yeah and if you're modern movie industry, you'll use it to death:
    http://theabyssgazes.blogspot.com/20...ease-stop.html

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    Well for my part, I know I'm rubbish with colour, floundering around looking for the right combinations. So I tend to fall back on complementaries in terms if lighting. if you have a warm orangey light source, I balance it with the complementary blue tinge to the shadow. Blue light source would offer a warmer orange shadow and so forth. It's pretty basic but it gets me started.



    You can then introduce areas of localised and reflected lighting, as affected by various surfaces and local colours. Although if you have a strong enough colour cast like the red in the silly sketch below, the complementary might just be used to try and balance it out a bit - as I've tried with the green sofa.



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    This is turning out to be a very educational thread.

    But anyway, speaking of yellows and blues as complimentary, they stand out so strong that I'm guessing Vermeer used their harmonizing colour as his ambient light.

    It's still beautiful, however he did it.

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    Heck, if we are going to share pics here....
    Complementary colours used in shadows/lighting



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    What do you think so far?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Oh yeah and if you're modern movie industry, you'll use it to death:
    http://theabyssgazes.blogspot.com/20...ease-stop.html
    oh gawd I remember reading this a few months ago. Makes me rage so much for some reason.

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    Thanks for all the examples

    Blue and yellow can be complementary? I thought the complementary color has to be one primary and the other 2 primary mixed together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    Blue and yellow can be complementary? I thought the complementary color has to be one primary and the other 2 primary mixed together.
    Are you sure you're not mixing it up with split complimentary or something?
    http://www.writedesignonline.com/res...les/color.html
    And I'm sorry if I sound snarky, but the clear definition to complementary colours (two colours opposite of the colour wheel) is easy to find from Wikipedia and everywhere else if you just bother to look.

    EDIT:
    "The complement of each primary color (red, blue, or yellow) is roughly the color made by mixing the other two in a subtractive system"
    Is that what you meant? Well, that's basically just harder way to say "opposite in colour wheel". It's easier to just take a colour wheel and look at the opposites.

    Blue-violet is the complementary of yellow-orange.

    Last edited by TinyBird; January 14th, 2011 at 05:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Are you sure you're not mixing it up with split complimentary or something?
    http://www.writedesignonline.com/res...les/color.html
    And I'm sorry if I sound snarky, but the clear definition to complementary colours (two colours opposite of the colour wheel) is easy to find from Wikipedia and everywhere else if you just bother to look.

    EDIT:
    "The complement of each primary color (red, blue, or yellow) is roughly the color made by mixing the other two in a subtractive system"
    Is that what you meant? Well, that's basically just harder way to say "opposite in colour wheel". It's easier to just take a colour wheel and look at the opposites.

    Blue is the complementary of yellow-orange.
    That's what I meant on what you said on your edit message.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    That's what I meant on what you said on your edit message.
    Well, no wonder you were pretty confused. That definition is still right, as in if you want the complementary colour for red, you mix blue and yellow and get green. You want complementary colour for violet-red, you mix yellow and green to get yellow-green and so on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Are you sure you're not mixing it up with split complimentary or something?
    http://www.writedesignonline.com/res...les/color.html
    And I'm sorry if I sound snarky, but the clear definition to complementary colours (two colours opposite of the colour wheel) is easy to find from Wikipedia and everywhere else if you just bother to look.

    EDIT:
    "The complement of each primary color (red, blue, or yellow) is roughly the color made by mixing the other two in a subtractive system"
    Is that what you meant? Well, that's basically just harder way to say "opposite in colour wheel". It's easier to just take a colour wheel and look at the opposites.

    Blue-violet is the complementary of yellow-orange.
    It's sooooooooo much more complicated than that. Which colors are complimentary will depend on what color model you use. So will which colors (if any) are primary, and how many there are.
    Obligatory plug for Briggs' site: http://www.huevaluechroma.com
    Jim Gurney's posts on color: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/search/label/Color (Or you could just buy his book.)
    And if you really want to fry your brain: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/wcolor.html


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    It's sooooooooo much more complicated than that. Which colors are complimentary will depend on what color model you use. So will which colors (if any) are primary, and how many there are.
    Obligatory plug for Briggs' site: http://www.huevaluechroma.com
    Argh, busted!
    But that starts to be pretty hard stuff there, especially if the original question is just what complementary colours are.

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    if frying my brain is what it takes to learn it, I'll do it.

    Edit: Oh its the handprint site, I remember trying study perspective from there; after getting the through the first half of the first chapter "perspective in the world" I got stuck; it got too confusing after the part talking about the circle of view.

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    Crap, I'm already confused on the first part when they talk about the 4 types of colors

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    Edit: Oh its the handprint site, I remember trying study perspective from there; after getting the through the first half of the first chapter "perspective in the world" I got stuck; it got too confusing after the part talking about the circle of view.
    Then you should buy Carl Dobsky's perspective tutorial from the Massive Black store.. Hint hint Nudge nudge...

    if frying my brain is what it takes to learn it, I'll do it.
    This is good practice. I took programming in 11th year High school and the rest of my grades improved because it pummeled my brain to bits, and pushing myself to finally get my head around it helped me understand everything else a lot easier.
    We don't train enough, physically or mentally these days methinks...



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    It's complementary, not complimentary.

    I expected better from at least you, Elwell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    Crap, I'm already confused on the first part when they talk about the 4 types of colors
    Mind you, don't get discouraged if you don't get it at once and get some magical revelation about colour. Like everything in art, you need to learn the basics, so I'd suggest for you to read a little bit of those sites daily and also do some basic colouring practices and studies along side the reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    It's complementary, not complimentary.

    I expected better from at least you, Elwell.
    Aaarg, I do that all the time!


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    I would recommend getting a better handle on drawing and value before you start getting into color. Learn your fundamentals first...color is about the last one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    Crap, I'm already confused on the first part when they talk about the 4 types of colors
    The first part of what?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    The first part of what?
    Its at the begining when they are explaining material colors, radiant colors, and the other 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteJ View Post
    Its at the begining when they are explaining material colors, radiant colors, and the other 2.
    Oh OK, on Handprint. I wasn't sure whose site you were referring to. I'd suggest holding off on that for a while, stick with the other two I linked.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Argh, busted!
    But that starts to be pretty hard stuff there, especially if the original question is just what complementary colours are.
    No disrespect to Wikipedia, but that actually is the thing that is a little more complicated! I hope this saves you some time :

    The "primary school" red-yellow-blue colour wheel is influenced by paint-mixing relationships, but is not really accurate for anything. For a question like this that involves visual stimulus (as opposed to mixing paints), you should use a colour circle that shows true additive complementaries, like the one your graphics program uses. James Gurney calls it a "Yurmby" colour wheel. The main page where I discussed it is here, but see also the relevant sections under "Basics of colour vision":

    http://www.huevaluechroma.com/074.php

    Examples of true additive complementaries are:
    red and cyan
    yellow and ultramarine blue
    green and magenta

    These are the complementaries that govern all visual phenomena such as afterimages, contrast, optical mixing, and our subconscious judgement of colour relationships. The yellow and blue in the Vermeer are an example of almost exact additive complementaries.

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