Exercise 2. – Primary and secondary colours

This is probably the only thing I learned about colours back in school, I remember painting the colour wheel on Drawing and Painting class, primary colours (red, yellow, blue) and secondary colours (green, violet, orange). In photography using colour film or DSLR and monitors are working with different primary colours (red, blue, green) known as RGB but printers are using CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black referred to key colour). But why is that? It took a while to wrap my head around it.

The concept of paint is that colour absorbs every colour except itself, so when colours are added together, the amount of colour is absorbed by the paint, the light is subtracted that the paint can reflect and it turns black when all colours are added togther because there is no light left to reflect, that is why RYB is also known as the subtractive colour scheme. However we see light differently, light travels in RGB referred to additive colour scheme because when lights are added together, the spectrum of the light is added what it can reflect back creating lighter colours and eventually turns to white when all lights are added.

Illustration-1_Colour-Wheel1-300x300

Painters’ primary colours (from digital-photography-school.com)

hue_wheel

Hue wheel (from georeference.org)

ryb-cmyk-rgb

(from seeklens.com)

 

Primary colours

Red

2. primary and secondary colours-red (1 of 3)

Too bright

2. primary and secondary colours-red (2 of 3)

Closest to primary red

2. primary and secondary colours-red (3 of 3)

Too dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow

2. primary and secondary colours-yellow (3 of 3)

Closest to primary yellow

2. primary and secondary colours-yellow (1 of 3)

Close match

2. primary and secondary colours-yellow (2 of 3)

Some parts are close, mostly darker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue

2. primary and secondary colours-blue (1 of 3)

Light blue

2. primary and secondary colours-blue (2 of 3)

Close to primary blue

2. primary and secondary colours-blue (3 of 3)

Closest match

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary colours

Green

2. primary and secondary colours-green (3 of 3)

Close match

2. primary and secondary colours-green (1 of 3)

Closest match – leaves in shadow

2. primary and secondary colours-green (2 of 3)

Too dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violet

2. primary and secondary colours-violet (3 of 3)

Too bright

2. primary and secondary colours-violet (2 of 3)

Light violet

2. primary and secondary colours-violet (1 of 3)

Closest match

 

 

 

 

 

Orange

2. primary and secondary colours-orange (1 of 3)

Closest match

2. primary and secondary colours-orange (2 of 3)

Close but a bit dull colour

2. primary and secondary colours-orange (3 of 3)

Too dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First I found it hard to match the colours to the hue wheel, I deliberately chose objects that are natural to avoid creating a paint manufacturer’s catalogue as advised, except my red dress against a window since I couldn’t find anything else red around me other than cars or doors. Before this exercise I never really thought about controlling the colour because I can enhance them in post processing, however this gave me a guideline to follow when it comes to colouring an image to get realistic results.

 

References

Michael Freeman – The photographer’s eye

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