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Posted: Sep 7 2008, 12:28 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 22-June 08
I was originally going to make a tutorial on both colours and volumes, but I feel I expressed enough on volumes in lesson 1, as such I will only really tackle colours in this tutorial, as it is a very large topic. This tutorial is going to be fairly intense, I will hopefully explain as much about colour theory (and colour theory in relation to pixel art) as I can.
The first thing I am going to discuss is the question, what is colour?
Colour is created by light, light is a form of electromagnetic energy. More specifically light resides in a range of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to a human being. Other forms of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum that humans cannot naturally perceive include; Ultra Violet light, X-rays, Gamma Rays, Infrared, Microwaves and Radio waves. A humans perception (or lack of perception) is determined by that lights wave length. Within the visible spectrum of light a human is capable of perceiving a range of variations these variations that we see are what we call colours. Here is an indicator of where colours lay amongst the visible section of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The numbers represent levels of variance in the wavelengths of the electromagnetic energy in nanometers
You may notice some colours have a wider range then others, for instance red/red orange seems to encompass a larger area of what we see in the spectrum then yellow. So why isn’t the whole spectrum lined up nice and neat, why do some colours seem brighter, and why are there types of energy we aren’t even getting to see like ultra-violet… Well that is because, for the most, we get what we need when it comes to nature. For instance some studies have shown women have a greater ability to see differentiations between colours in the red to red orange range, it is believed that this is an evolutionary trait (if you’re a creationist you can have your own take on why this is) so that when our female ancestors were picking berries (whilst the men hunted, hence they didn’t need this ability) they could better tell the poisonous ones from the edible ones. The fact that our understanding of colour is derived from how to use it to aid us in living also has led to colour symbolism. Association with colours and the objects or events associated with these colours enforces this symbolism.
I know that was a rather large rant but hopefully you followed it somewhat and I will try to get back to a more artistic understanding now.
Ok now that we understand what colour is (to some extent ) and we understand that different colours evoke different feelings we can begin discussing colour with a bit more relevance to art. So how do we apply colour when making works of art, pixel or otherwise? Well, we need to understand one more thing, different colours work well together, where as others don’t.
Things/Terms you should know about colour:
As has been mentioned some colours work better together then others, In order to create a pleasant palette (colour harmony) it is often a good idea to use the colour wheel. There are a number of patterns you can place on the colour wheel in order to create a good scheme. I have created a program that will help in demonstrating some of these patterns, available:
>>> HERE <<<
(I will update this link so that it goes straight from YoYo games when it finishes uploading.)
Use the analogous colour schemes described above, You can use the program to find it or look at the tutorials to find one. Think through how much luminosity and saturation you wish to apply. Create a character on a 50x50 to 70x70 sized canvas; afterwards apply a complimentary colour scheme to the character (use hue shifts to keep things looking good). Display both images side by side. Keep the palette from 16 or lower colours (for each individual image).
Important things for your task to keep in mind
more interesting links
This one is a bit of fun
I am expecting there to still be a great deal of difficulty in finding good palettes. This is because a lot of working with colours is about experience, I can't describe everything to you or things will go into too much detail and I will feel like I am restricting you. The most difficult area I believe many of you will now have will be with saturation and luminosity. After reading through the tutorial hues/hue shifting shouldn't be as big an issue.
I will likely make some small alterations to this in the future.Though this is pretty immense a tutorial already, some 1500 words.
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Learn the Zen of Pixel Art.