[an error occurred while processing this directive] Complementary & Accent Colours - Steven and Chris

Complementary & Accent Colours

Anne Hepfer teaches the basics of the colour wheel and discusses how basic colour theory can help the "colour challenged" make successful colour choices.

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Colour Wheel:
A colour wheel (also referred to as a colour circle) is a visual representation of colours arranged according to their chromatic relationship. Begin a colour wheel by positioning primary hues equidistant from one another, and then create a bridge between primaries using secondary and tertiary colours.

Colour Basics:
Primary colours: colours at their basic essence; those colours that cannot be created by mixing others.

Secondary colours: Those colours achieved by a mixture of two primaries.

Tertiary colours: Those colours achieved by a mixture of primary and secondary hues.

Complementary colours: Those colours located opposite each other on a colour wheel.

Analogous colours: Those colours located close together on a colour wheel.

The colour wheel can be divided into ranges that are visually active or passive. Active colours will appear to advance when placed against passive hues. Passive colours appear to recede when positioned against active hues.

Advancing hues are most often thought to have less visual weight than the receding hues.
Most often warm, saturated, light value hues are "active" and visually advance.
Cool, low saturated, dark value hues are "passive" and visually recede.
Tints or hues with a low saturation appear lighter than shades or highly saturated colours.
Some colours remain visually neutral or indifferent.

Complementary colours
We look at a colour wheel to understand the relationships between colours. Analogous colours are positioned in such a way as to mimic the process that occurs when blending hues. The colours that are positioned opposite one another are complementary colours.

To call those hues in direct opposition to each other "complements of each other" is appropriate. Complementary colours bring out the best in each other. When fully saturated complements are brought together, interesting effects are noticeable. This may be a desirable illusion, or a problem if creating visuals that are to be read.

colour Combinations
colour combinations may pass unnoticed when pleasing; yet offend dramatically when compositions seem to clash. One outcome we seek in the final form or composition is a successful use of colour.

We determine whether or not we are successful by critically assessing the visual balance and harmony of the final composition-balance and harmony are achieved by the visual contrast that exists between colour combinations.

Using a colour wheel and a template, the relationships between colours are easy to identify.

Monochromatic Relationship: that are shade or tint variations of the same hue.
Complementary Relationship: Those colours across from each other on a colour wheel.

Split-Complementary Relationship: One hue plus two others equally spaced from its complement.
Double-Complementary Relationship: Two complementary colour sets; the distance between selected complementary pairs will effect the overall contrast of the final composition.

Analogous Relationship: Those colours located adjacent to each other on a colour wheel.
Triad Relationship: Three hues equally positioned on a colour wheel.


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