Friday, 29 March 2013

OUGD404 - Design Principles: Colour Experiments

Experiment 1 - Contrast of Tone

Contrast of tone is formed by the juxtaposition of light and dark values. This could be monochromatic - a single colour. For this colour experiment I have decided to collect a variety of objects and comment on their tones in comparison with their positioning on the colour wheel.

Below is the colour wheel in it's original state and manipulated to become black and white. I have done this to show the tonal values of each of the colours indicated on the colour wheel. It will also help with my explanations of each study I carry out.

Here I have chosen three objects which demonstrate the significant difference of tone. For each image I have also manipulated them to become black and white so that the differences show up as being even more noticeable. Here, the blue object has the darkest contrast, the red object has mid contrast and the yellow has the brightest contrast. 

Blue and yellow are at the opposite ends of the tonal spectrum which means that they have the highest contrast between them, as indicated below.


On the other hand, red and blue have dark tonal values which means that there is a low contrast between the two. I have shown this below with two sets of objects, blue and red, to see whether the shade of the object made a difference. However, it still worked out that both the sets of objects had the same outcome and displayed a low contrast.

Indicating the same effect below as the previous objects. Showing that the texture or material of an object doesn't necessarily have an obvious effect on the tone of something.

Violet and blue are very close together on the colour wheel, meaning that they should also have a low contrast. I used the same blue object with a violet one next to it to see what effect it had, and their tonal values were virtually identical.

Magenta and violet are next to each other on the colour wheel also, they too show a low contrast.

I wanted to then see whether two objects with the same tonal values by observation were accurately the same when the photograph was manipulated to become black and white. Ignoring the area where there is a shadow, I think this reinforces how the tonal values are identical and therefore have no tonal contrast at all. If this principle was therefore applied to design, the overall impact would be much less effective as opposed to using high contrasts of tone.

All of the following images show a high contrast of tone and this is what would create higher impact when designing. The blue against the yellow has the highest contrast of tone because they are on opposite sides of the colour wheel.

Experiment 2 - Contrast of Tone (Natural Light)

I thought it would be worthwhile to continue to experiment in to contrast of tone. I decided that I would look at it in natural light this time, to see what effect this had on the intensity of the contrast. I discovered that in natural light, especially on a bright day, the contrast of tone is even stronger and more noticeable. The lighter and darker tones are much more definable.

Here there is a high contrast in tone between the jug and the grass.

This shows a mid contrast, as the jug and the leaves have similar tonal values, decreasing the contrast between the two and making them more balanced.

Against the black there is a high contrast of tone.

The bench here is a neutral colour which means that it has quite a mid tone and is neither dark nor light. I would say however, that there is quite a high contrast in tone here, possibly due to the darker areas of grain within the wood of the bench.

There is virtually no contrast here, when manipulated to change to black and white, both the jug and the table have the same tonal values, eliminating the contrast completely.

Experiment 3 - Contrast of Hue

Formed by the juxtaposing of different hues. The greater the distance between hues on a colour wheel, the greater the contrast.

Below I have taken a photograph of my yellow paper against a white background, indicating a low contrast of hue. Whereas the yellow against the black has a much higher contrast as they are direct opposites on the colour wheel. 

I am now going to use a yellow duster I have and place different coloured objects on top of it to observe the differences in the contrast of hue. Due to the lighting and my camera, the yellow looks slightly different on each photograph, however the effect is still noticeable.

Green and orange are close to yellow on the colour wheel meaning they have low contrast.

Red is nearer to the middle of the colour wheel meaning they are of mid contrast.

Violet is furthest away on the colour wheel which means it has the highest contrast of hue.

Experiment 4 - Contrast of extension

Formed by assigning proportional field sizes in relation to the visual weight of a colour. Also known as the contrast of proportion.

Although it may not be very clear on the images below, I chose to take photographs of the red object against a green carpet, however the carpet looks very desaturated here. I wanted to experiment with the proportion of the red object, and I allowed it to be very visible in some images, whilst in others I reduced the amount on show considerably.

Using complementary colours I have therefore experimented with proportions. I found some proportions on the internet which are posted to my context blog in relation to this task.

Experiment 5 - Contrast of Temperature

Formed by juxtaposing hues that can also be considered 'warm' or 'cool'. Also known as the contrast of warm and cool.

Warm and cool temperature colour contrast provides movement in forms and throughout the space of the artwork. Warm colours appear to advance and cool colours appear to recede. This creates a type of push and pull between the colours.

When a cool colour overlaps a warmer colour, the warmer colour seems to push trough the cooler one. When cool colours are in the background the background recedes and gives a type of atmospheric perspective.

White, black and grey are considered to be neutral colours.

I am going to place colours of different temperature on to a neutral grey background and observe them. Red is considered a warm colour whilst green is a cold colour. This therefore creates a high contrast of temperature.

Yellow is considered a warm colour whilst purple is a cold colour. Together they create a high contrast of temperature, even higher than the previous photograph because they are complementary colours, meaning they are furthest apart on the colour wheel.

Red and yellow are considered to be warm colours and therefore they have a low contrast of temperature.

Both the ribbon and the piece of card here belong to the same cold temperature group, meaning there is a low contrast of temperature here.

Both the ribbon and the piece of card here belong to the same warm temperature group, meaning there is a low contrast of temperature here.

Both the ribbon and the piece of card here belong to the same cold temperature group, meaning there is a low contrast of temperature here.

Here I have collected a variety of objects to illustrate all of the cool colours in the colour wheel.

Here I have collected a variety of objects to illustrate all of the warm colours in the colour wheel.

I then placed a cool object on to a warm background to see what happened. The object with a darker tone was cooler in temperature against the background.

I then tried the reverse, whereby the object with the lighter tone was warmer in temperature.

Experiment 6 - Complementary Contrast

Formed by juxtaposing complementary colours from a colour wheel or perceptual opposites.

I chose to use a red object for this study. Whenever a colour is used, it's complimentary is always there too no matter what. So here, the red object is on an orange background and a blue tint can be seen around the edge of it.

Against the purple background a yellow tint can be seen.

Against a blue background an orange tint can be seen.

Against a yellow background a violet tint can be seen. 

Against a green background they should cancel each other out because they are complementary colours. Therefore producing an achromatic (color) A neutral color such as black, white or grey.

I then wanted to see whether it would have an impact on the outcome if the object was placed on top of the complementary colour of green as well as another colour. I think it accentuates the blue tint but doesn't have an adverse effect.

Similarly here, it accentuates the violet tint but isn't overly noticeable.

This is the reverse, bringing out the yellow tint.

Finally I looked to see what would happen when I put the object against a black background and a white background. The black brought out a white tint while the white brought out a black tint.

Out of interest I wanted to see what would happen if I placed an object against a patterned material. I can still see purple's complementary colour showing through (yellow) but it isn't as effective and clear as it could be if the white was removed from the pattern.

Experiment 7 - Contrast of Saturation

Formed by the juxtaposition of light and dark values and their relative saturations.
Saturation is the depth or intensity of the colour. The lower the saturation, the less intense are the colours. They can look weak and pale. If a colour is fully desaturated they you end up with a monochrome image. If you increase it too high then the colours can become oversaturated and look unnatural.

The deeper shade of blue against the vibrant blue makes it appear as though the ribbon is closer to black.

I have used blue and green to illustrate the contrast of saturation in this experiment. All of the deeper, more saturated shades of blue make the pale piece of card look even more desaturated, and almost white.
Similarly here, the more saturated shades of green against the card makes the card appear even more desaturated and close to white again.

The blue and green pieces of card against the more saturated backgrounds make the card itself look even more desaturated the longer we observe it.

When the background is more saturated that the object it gives the impression that the object is becoming more and more desaturated the longer we look at it.

Similarly here, when we reverse the situation so that the more saturated object is on top of the desaturated object, we get a high contrast in saturation as well as the impression that the card is becoming more and more desaturated.

Experiment 8 - Simultaneous Contrast

Formed when boundaries between colours perceptually vibrate.

To make all of my studies/experiments consistent I decided to continue using objects I could find to illustrate simultaneous contrast. I am aware however that the quality and accuracy of colour isn't always reliable when using a camera, which is why, for each of my chosen colours I have decided to then open them in Photoshop, use the eyedropper tool to pick colours up, and create a digital version for each one.

All of the grey squares in the centre are the same size. Each square contrasts with its surroundings in different ways.

The blue square has a yellow tint, showing the complementary colour.

The yellow square has a violet tint.

The green square has a red tint.

The red square has a green tint.

Experiment 9 - Simultaneous Contrast (2)

I thought I would continue experimenting with simultaneous contrast even further, as I think it is quite interesting to observe the results.

When placing yellow on orange, because they are in close proximity on the colour wheel, they have a low contrast to start with, and so when they are placed together in this way, the colours start to blur. Although this isn't as obvious as it would be if it was digital.

Sometimes, when crossing the colours over it makes them appear even more blurred, however I don't think it worked in this case as the lines are slightly too thick and there needs to be more of them for this to clearly happen.

I then looked at complementary colours and how they blur together once they are placed next to each other. There is a noticeable vibration that starts to occur, especially in this case as I have used not only a complementary colour, but one that has a pattern on it too, making it even more harder to focus on one thing.

Again, if this was smaller scale it would be even more blurred and the vibration would be more obvious than it is here.

I used the pale green card and cut it up in to segments to try and create the same simultaneous contrast. I was unsure whether there would be much of a contrast between them as the green card is low in saturation, but I think because of this, it emphasises it even more.

I think the cross over example here is probably the strongest one yet, as there seems to be a high contrast of temperature and tone between the two, making the simultaneous contrast even more striking and obvious.

Once again here, the complementary colours are most certainly indicating strong vibrations as they are opposites on the colour wheel.

I thought I would show some digital versions too, just to indicate and make it clear how effective simultaneous contrast actually is. It is much more noticeable when the vertical lines are identical weights.

Experiment 10 - Artificial and Natural Light 

For this experiment I have decided to take photographs of one green object placed on several different coloured backgrounds, both inside and outside. 

I found that all of the backgrounds looked more saturated when they were outside and the natural light was shining on them. The green object also looked more vibrant outside against all of the colours. There was also strong simultaneous contrast occuring, especially in the purple, yellow and orange backgrounds, whereby stronger tints of each complementary could be seen. 











Experiment 11 - Changes Throughout The Day

For this experiment I wanted to see what effect the light would have on the objects I chose throughout the day. I photographed them every hour from 2pm until early house of the evening. As the clocks have just gone forward, the changes weren't as obvious until it got quite late on in the day.

Here the green bottle has a yellow tint to it and the red is very vibrant.




Throughout the day, the book started to look more saturated, as did the bottle.



Later on, the bottle started to look cooler and more green.

At 9pm when I finished my recordings, the book looked much more saturated that it had done all day, and with the green bottle on top it is evident that there is a high contrast of temperature and tone.