Thursday, November 10, 2011

Molecular make-up?


Color mapping, Part 3
My road to how I taught myself color theory and how to mix paint.

  Example of CMYK to make black

So I introduced the subtractive color theory model in the last color mapping post. The subtractive color theory model states that as you mix your primary colors, red, yellow & blue, together in equal parts that they become darker.



To clarify this more we need go back to our school days of science and talk about energy and matter. All objects are made up of matter, which are in turn a grouping of atoms that contain energy. Light contains energy which is compatible with the energy in surfaces of objects, which absorbs the energy of the light. The molecular make-up of the object will determine what light energy is absorbed and what is reflecting back, which is the color that you see.

If a surface absorbs all of the light energy then it will reflect none of the lights energy and the surface will appear black. The energy that is absorbed will be turned into heat, that’s why an asphalt road will look black and be hot to the touch. A white surface of course does the complete opposite of black; the energy of a white surface rejects all of the energy of the light waves.



Now how does this work with color? A surface that is green will absorb all of the lights energy except for the green energy wave which is reflected back to you. If a surface looks red then the red light energy waves are being reflected while all of the others are being absorbed.  If an object looks like a red-orange then in this case the light energy of the red and the orange are being reflected back.

Learning this color theory model is what helped me to understand the mixing of physical pigment into mixtures of color that I wanted. This led me to the knowledge of “Color Bias” and that every tube paint is bias towards the warm or cool side of the color wheel. If you want to mix a nice and saturated orange you have to pick up the right tube of red and tube of yellow.

Color Bias and my six color primary palette discussed in the next color posting.

Other posts of interest:

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