Color Bias

Traditional primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. However most traditional pigments have a color bias or what is called an "undertone." In fact, no pigment or paint is ever really truly a “primary color” because of how paint is manufactured. Manufactures make paints, using the traditional pigments but, each brand may have a slightly different process or recipe.

Primary Colors

Color bias or undertone is an important  concept in mixing secondary and tertiary colors. Each of the traditional primaries (red, blue, and yellow) has an undertone which leans toward one of secondary colors (orange, green, and violet).

Traditional Primary Colors: Blue, Red and Yellow

For example, a red will lean either towards one of the secondary colors such as a red-orange or a red-violet. The same is true for blue, it will either be blue-green or blue-violet. And yellow, which would lean towards a green-yellow or orange-yellow.

Color Bias

Colors or pigments that are warm versus cool are relative. Meaning that you must compare one color swatch to another because colors can be optically deceiving. For example, pink is the color of Valentine's day, we think of pink as a warm color. However, when pink is next to red it becomes a cool color in comparison to red.

These variations may seem insignificant but they have a huge impact when mixing color. If you use the traditional primaries (R, B,Y) to create the secondary colors (O, G, V), most of the time it will be successfully. However, when you mix a purple or violet using a cool blue and a cool red, you will get a muddy or dull purple.

Making Mud

Today, according to physicists, who study the visible spectrum of light, the true primary colors are not just blue, red or yellow, they are specifically cyan, magenta and yellow. If you want vibrant secondary and tertiary colors, use the modern primary colors (cyan, magenta and yellow). Cyan (C), which is not just any blue, it is a cool blue.Magenta (M) is a pinkish red and the Yellow (Y) is warm.
Modern Primary Colors: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) 

If you don't have paints that are close to cyan, magenta or a warm yellow, use the two primary color system, two colors for each primary, one warm and one cool to get vibrant secondary colors as shown below.

Traditional Primary Colors with Undertones

No comments

Powered by Blogger.