My achievements

Color theory explanation : 3 proven tips to change your digital painting !

Color theory is an important component when it comes to understanding colors and how to apply them for your digital painting. Let's dive into it !

In this article you'll see

Color theory explanation

Definition of color theory :

Color theory is a bunch of concepts and theory. Rules and guideline about how an artist can use colors to provoke balance, harmony and certain feelings in the eye of a viewer. We'll retain only four concept of color theory.The color wheel, color harmony and how context can affect colors. Also called as ''relativity'' and last but not least color psychology.
Color theory explanation and history
The first attempt at making color wheel through history

Different configuration and combinaison of colors

Monochromatic

A monochromatic configuration is easy and efficient when you are a beginner or when you want to keep your painting simple. The advantage is that you just control saturation and value of a color. If these two terms seems unknown to you, we made this article : How to understand colors easily 
monochromatic
Monochromatic configuration based on one color

Analogous colors

Contrast is a dangerous weapon that can be flipped toward the person who use it. You can burn your colors or use two values/hue that aren't harmonious. That's why analogous colors combinaison has been created.it's particularly efficient to create calm atmosphere by using tones that are near the main color you choose.
analogous colors
Analogous colors configuration

Few examples :

Analogous colors configuration
Use of orange and little bit of red

Complementary colors

Complimentary colors are the most usual color combinaison you can find on artwork. But what you surely don't know is how you can use it properly.
Complementary colors
Complementary colors configuration
People think it's as easy as choosing red and green and you're ready to go. NO. It's about choosing a red contrasting the green in term of value and saturation. It's about choosing a dominant color and a secondary complementary less dominant color.

Few examples

Due to color transition you can see some yellow but the touch of violet combined with orange follow a complementary color combinaison !

triadic combinaison

Triadic combinaison is something you must use carefully. Here is a good rule of thumb. Choose one dominant color and use it for 80% of your piece. And choose two other colors in the Equilateral triangle.
Triadic combinaison

Few examples

Triadic composition
Triadic composition by FinkART on twitter
Triadic composition by Leonid Afremov

Split complements

It's about taking two complementary color as you would do for a classical complementary combinaison. Then, you just take one of the two and you select analogous colors. It gives more dynamism to your piece.
Split complements

One example

Split complements combinaison

Complementary Doubles

this combinaison consist of choosing four complementary colors. Two from your head and two following the rule of color theory. A good rule of thumb is to use the first 2 as dominant and the 2 others as accent colors.
Double complementary
Double complementary

One example

Double complementary by Pavel Romanov

Relativity of colors

One image worth one thousand words.Color theory explanation

Some general advices to paint colors better

  1. Limit the number of hue in your digital painting to maximum 2 hue when you're a beginner. You can go up to 3 or 4 when you'll feel more confident.
  2. Do not saturate your colors more than 60%
  3. Use luminosity, contrast and saturation to guide or attract the eye in a specific place ( your focal point )
  • Do not use overlay, hard light or other blending mode without understanding what they do to your values.
  • Before starting to paint. Choose the ambience you want for your digital painting.
  • Invest in a good course. Not obviously Ashes courses. Study the summary of all the courses you meet and make a plan. Stick to it, learn, apply, until you become better.

Conclusion

We hope you had a good overview about the concepts that surround color theory and it's definition when it comes to digital art. If you want to go further, we suggest you some external and internal ressources.

Internal ressources

  1. Understand how light affect colors. 
  2. How to paint materials : the 1th guide for beginners

External ressources

Adding colors to a greyscale painting by drawabox Adding colors to a greyscale by MarcBrunet

Color theory is an important component when it comes to understanding colors and how to apply them for your digital painting. Let’s dive into it !

In this article you’ll see

Color theory explanation

Definition of color theory :

Color theory is a bunch of concepts and theory. Rules and guideline about how an artist can use colors to provoke balance, harmony and certain feelings in the eye of a viewer. We’ll retain only four concept of color theory.

The color wheel, color harmony and how context can affect colors. Also called as ”relativity” and last but not least color psychology.

Color theory explanation and history
The first attempt at making color wheel through history

Different configuration and combinaison of colors

Monochromatic

A monochromatic configuration is easy and efficient when you are a beginner or when you want to keep your painting simple. The advantage is that you just control saturation and value of a color. If these two terms seems unknown to you, we made this article : How to understand colors easily 

monochromatic
Monochromatic configuration based on one color

Analogous colors

Contrast is a dangerous weapon that can be flipped toward the person who use it. You can burn your colors or use two values/hue that aren’t harmonious. That’s why analogous colors combinaison has been created.

it’s particularly efficient to create calm atmosphere by using tones that are near the main color you choose.

analogous colors
Analogous colors configuration

Few examples :

Angel05 1 Color theory explanation
Analogous colors configuration
Scifi thumbnails 01 1 Color theory explanation
Use of orange and little bit of red

Complementary colors

Complimentary colors are the most usual color combinaison you can find on artwork. But what you surely don’t know is how you can use it properly.

Complementary colors
Complementary colors configuration

People think it’s as easy as choosing red and green and you’re ready to go. NO. It’s about choosing a red contrasting the green in term of value and saturation. It’s about choosing a dominant color and a secondary complementary less dominant color.

Few examples

Parc dattraction Color theory explanation
Due to color transition you can see some yellow but the touch of violet combined with orange follow a complementary color combinaison !

triadic combinaison

Triadic combinaison is something you must use carefully. Here is a good rule of thumb. Choose one dominant color and use it for 80% of your piece. And choose two other colors in the Equilateral triangle.

triadique Color theory explanation
Triadic combinaison

Few examples

Triadic composition
Triadic composition by FinkART on twitter
images Color theory explanation
Triadic composition by Leonid Afremov

Split complements

It’s about taking two complementary color as you would do for a classical complementary combinaison. Then, you just take one of the two and you select analogous colors. It gives more dynamism to your piece.

Complementary splitter Color theory explanation
Split complements

One example

28235727 2159002717652112 629839502119060845 o Color theory explanation
Split complements combinaison

Complementary Doubles

this combinaison consist of choosing four complementary colors. Two from your head and two following the rule of color theory. A good rule of thumb is to use the first 2 as dominant and the 2 others as accent colors.

Double complementary
Double complementary

One example

digital painting guide complementaire10 Color theory explanation
Double complementary by Pavel Romanov

Relativity of colors

One image worth one thousand words.

Color theory explanation

Some general advices to paint colors better

  1. Limit the number of hue in your digital painting to maximum 2 hue when you’re a beginner. You can go up to 3 or 4 when you’ll feel more confident.
  2. Do not saturate your colors more than 60%
  3. Use luminosity, contrast and saturation to guide or attract the eye in a specific place ( your focal point )
  • Do not use overlay, hard light or other blending mode without understanding what they do to your values.
  • Before starting to paint. Choose the ambience you want for your digital painting.
  • Invest in a good course. Not obviously Ashes courses. Study the summary of all the courses you meet and make a plan. Stick to it, learn, apply, until you become better.

Conclusion

We hope you had a good overview about the concepts that surround color theory and it’s definition when it comes to digital art. If you want to go further, we suggest you some external and internal ressources.

Internal ressources

  1. Understand how light affect colors. 
  2. How to paint materials : the 1th guide for beginners

External ressources

Adding colors to a greyscale painting by drawabox 

Adding colors to a greyscale by MarcBrunet

You must be logged in to like or dislike posts.

Related post