Introduction 3Dimensional Colour Theory

May 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

For this mini-tutorial I’m going to be using the brilliant Colorotate

I’ll start with 2D colour theory, and move into how it relates to all of the dimensions.

This is the basic wheel that you should be familiar with. It features primary, secondary and tertiary colours. You can mix every single colour in the rainbow by using a mixture of the primary colours (as seen on the outer ring) But only at 100% colour, with no black or white additives. What happens when we want to shade or tint our colours? We add another dimension.

We are familiar, in the computer world, mixing colours in the above way. It’s 3Dimensional, but presented differently. There is the main window with black at the bottom, white in the top left and the colour in the top right. This window is 2 dimensional, left/right and up/down, but the colour picker window (the vertical one on the right) also counts as a dimension (up/down as well) making three overall. The right side one would be the equivalent to the colour wheel at the very top, it chooses colours but not shades. The 2D window takes that colour chosen and displays all the possible shades/tints of it.

But you can display all three of these dimensions together, and that’s where the Colorotate comes in. It’s a cone, with black at the bottom and white at the top, then colours all around the central axis. Think of this as if you took the 2D colour plane and stacked them all around a central vertical axis. Effectively, you can fit every single colour somewhere inside this double cone shape.

Play around with that site, and stay tuned for actual colour theory sometime in the future.


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