Colours liven up our lives every single moment. The ability to see and perceive colours is a boon for us. Without colours, our world would have never been the same; so beautiful, so much fresh and endearing. Colours actually infuse depth, beauty, soul, and what not. The mere mention of colours draws up vivid imagination. Its plain and boring without colours. So, when we say colour s the whole and soul of everything, what do we have in mind? Do colours mean something? Is there a reason why everything has a particular kind of colour? That can be answered when we try to understand a little bit about colour psychology. For this, we need to understand colours, i.e. why colours are there? What are their significance and implications?
Going a step deeper into the depths of colour psychology, we first need to understand, why colours? Colours basically help us put our mind to focus on a thing, like in a plain, dark room, we’ll spot a colourful object right away when we enter. We can easily and in a pretty quick manner spot the colours at any place. Colourful things catch our attention. So, we can utilize this concept to change the mood of the viewer. In interior design, for instance, a pop of colour in an otherwise plain and dull room brightens up the place immediately. Just a dollop of colour transforms an entire outfit or a wall (talking of interior designing). So to enhance the look and feel, designers use this psychology every time to give a makeover.
However, way too much colour can lead the viewer into the lost world i.e. it might make a person look sullen and irritated if the amount of colour is not handled properly. Thus, it is very important to implement this concept properly as colour might make or break your scene. Colours are also an important indicator of originality regarding photorealism. They can let a person make out if a picture is fake or genuine. Meanwhile, a grayscale picture (turning the same picture into a grayscale) will not let you identify any fake attributes. Colours are the biggest giveaways that your image is fake. This is because we are way too much familiar with the natural shades of things around us without even realizing that we are soaking in so much information about colours and their variations (in shades) around us. So any editing easily gives away the reality.
Colour harmony is an important aspect that pertains to the fact how colours communicate with each other, like what colours go better in combination or which colour should be used with which other colour to give the maximum impact. Also known as colour scheme. Here we have,
- The monochromatic – shades of just one colour. It is better to be used for single subjects. It can also used to create striking atmospheric effects.
- Analogous – colours adjacent to each other on the colour harmony pallet or wheel. It is generally used to create a peaceful, comfortable mood as they are easy on the eyes.
- Triadic – equally distant on the colour harmony wheel. This combination goes well in cartoons or surreal scenes. They come across as playful, hence difficult to pull off.
- Complementary – it is a naturally pleasing combination and has been used extensively throughout our history. However, one shade (generally the weaker shade) should overpower the other, equal quantities of such colours might not be a wise decision.
- Split complementary – similar to complementary, but one end extended, like with green and red complements. Extending the green end with a blue shade gives more room for creativity. These type of colours are used to give a lively, joyous feeling to the viewer.
- Tetradic (or double complementary) – two pairs of complementary colours. These are best used for foregrounds and backgrounds effectively. Using these four colours doesn’t mean using equal proportions of each, the weak colours should be used predominantly with the strong shades in patches or particular sections. This one is hard to pull off but results in a pleasing picture.
So, ultimately understanding colour scheme is an integral part of getting to know colour harmony. Colour combinations can go both ways, really attractive or disastrous. It all depends on how you approach things while going for painting, choosing colours for home decoration etc. People usually regard painting something as 90% sketching and 10% colouring, but to get that perfect-looking painting, you should consider 50% sketching and 50% colouring. Both should be given equal weightage. As already told, colours infuse depth, thus, making it all the more important to get the perfect colour combination. Getting it right gives a sense of belief that everything belongs together. Colour scheme should be well thought of even before starting with the process of painting. So, it is essential to have a planned pre-painting process as well.
- Understand the purpose and the mood you want to convey.
- Search for examples of existing works that have a similar purpose.
- Think about what you want your creation to look like once it is complete. Visualize it as clearly as possible.
- Make some colour breaks ( rough colour sketches) to test out some ideas.
- Choose the colour scheme that best suits the purpose and mood.
As we know that colour scheme is the soul of a painting or any other work similar to that, choosing the right one is mandatory. Some factors need to be considered while choosing the right colour scheme. The basic colours (with no saturation or value) are raw and they will actually make a picture really ugly and dull. However, what changes the game are changing in their saturation level or the intensity of the colour and value which is the brightness or darkness of the colour. Changing these two attributes can give you a whole spectrum of colours associated with a single colour. You could make a painting with just a single colour using its different hues and shades by just changing the saturation and value. Keep in mind, though, that highly saturated colours look really fake. Using such colours in immoderation might be disastrous. Seeing highly saturated colours everywhere strains our eyes and ultimately irritates us. However, in moderation, the highly saturated colours can do wonders for a painting, photo, etc. Further, Contrast, which can be created using saturation, temperature, and value, is important. Keeping all these in mind will definitely end up giving you a beautiful, appealing infusion of colours.