CE7: Color guide exercise

February 10, 2010

Done for this class exercise: using the Color Guide in the top right corner of Illustrator. This dandy tool automatically chooses a set of colors to go along with whatever color you’re currently using, and not just one – it generates a whole pull-down menu of sets related to each other by different rules.

The Color Guide.

List of possible color sets.

All the colors in a set are chosen automatically by the program, because their relationships can be expressed through geometry on a color wheel – and by opening the tiny Edit Colors color-wheel symbol, those relationships can be visualized. So colors that complement each other instead of clashing have a definite mathematical relationship, the same way that harmonious music does.

Here’s my finished class exercise:

CE7 color guide exercise.

(The rectangle tool makes the boxes, with Shift held to constrain them to squares. Then the Select arrowhead tool moves them or changes their size; use Select with Option to drag an exact duplicate of whatever box needs to be moved. Making the background black was peculiar: use the Rectangle tool with black fill, and Select to drag the resulting black box right out to the edges of the image, behind all the other text and shapes.)

The Triad and Pentagram sets, among others, are named for the arrangement of lines that join them on the color wheel: they are equidistant from the center (which means they have the same intensity), and equally removed from one another.

Triad wheel

Pentagram wheel

The Shades wheel.

The Shades wheel takes all five colors from the same point on the wheel, with the same shade (the angle of the line to center) and the same intensity (distance from center). The shades vary only in the amount of black.

Analogous 2 wheel

Complementary wheel

The Analogous colors are closely related to the main color, so their angles from center are similar. For the Complementary wheel, the reverse is true: the colors are as far away from the main color as possible.

Compound 2 wheel

And the Compound wheel chose colors related to two main colors: the initial gold color, and a dark purple that I had accidentally chosen earlier.

These sets of colors convey different emotions or expressions when applied to an image; but the study of what color conveys is an entire class or three in itself.


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