13 May 2011

003 Basic Colour Theory: Types of Colours

* Primary colours
* Secondary colours
* Tertiary colours
* In-between colour names

What is a primary colour? top
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue
A primary colour is a colour that cannot be created by mixing colours together; however, you can make any other colour using the primary colours.

If you have a limited amount of money, you can buy red, yellow, and blue, and create a huge number of colours with them. If you don't buy black or white, you can mix the three to get a dark colour and thin the colours out with water for lighter colours (if you're using a white background).

Primary colours are often used for super heroes in the West, such as Superman. -- Not to say the East doesn't use them: Sailor Moon is a pretty good example. Primaries are flashy colours and can catch peoples' attention easily.

What is a secondary colour? top
  • Orange
  • red + yellow
  • Green
  • yellow + blue
  • Violet
  • blue + red

A secondary colour is the colour created by two primary colours.

An example of characters that use secondary colours would be the Ninja Turtles. They're more harmonious due to the mix of two colours and not being as bright, generally.

What is a tertiary colour? top
  • Red-purple
  • Red-orange
  • Yellow-orange
  • Yellow-green
  • Blue-green
  • Also: "Teal" or "turqoise"*
  • Blue-purple
  • Also: "Indigo"
* Some people consider teal and turqoise to be different colours. Even if you follow this definition, they are various tones of blue-green.

A tertiary colour is a colour created by a primary colour and a secondary colour. Tertiary colours are also called "intermediate colours."

When naming tertiary colours, the primary colour always comes first, -- despite what Crayola may tell you!

An example would be Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin (her teal outfit).

What are the next colours? top

Of course, you could go on into infinity mixing colours (I don't suggest trying it), so what are the other colours called?
  • Quaternary (4th)
  • Quinary (5th)
  • Senary (6th)
  • Septenary (7th)
  • Octonary (8th)
  • Nonary (9th)
  • Denary (10th)
  • Duodenary (12th)
  • Vigenary (20th)
As usual, they're based on the Latin numbers.

Basic Colour Theory:

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