Colour Theory Course and Tools for Creating Palettes

I’ve just taken a slight detour to do a MOOC about colour. It is week 3 of the futurelearn The Power of Colour course from KLC School of Design.

It’s really aimed at interior designers, but the ideas and colour theory apply to all kinds of areas and I am interested in relation to web design and computer generated art.

Something new to me is the Munsell Color System, which defines colour in relation to Hue, Value and Chroma (HVC) which is basically the same idea as HSB. Hue, Saturation (= Chroma) and Brightness (= Value). It is the legacy of Albert H Munsell and more information can be found on the Munsell Color website.

A tool I haven’t used before is ColorExplorer. This tool is free with a premium option. It allows you to upload a picture and extract from it all of the colours present with the RGB and hex values. This is a way of creating palettes. The free account allows you to save 25 palettes. The maximum size image that can be uploaded is 250KB. I had to reduce a set of test photos to longest side 500 pixels as jpegs to get them below 250KB. The other option could be to cut sections of a larger photo. It takes a little experimenting to work out how to use it. You can choose how finely or roughly you want to analyse the image and how may colours to extract (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15, 25, 50). Below are some images with their respective palettes.

fireworks11

Palette from above Kaleidoscope image - a surprising number of greens that I can't see

Palette from above Kaleidoscope image – a surprising number of greens that I can’t see

Back of Middlesbrough Library - my photo

Back of Middlesbrough Library – my photo

Palette from above brick wall window and roof

Palette from above brick wall window and roof

copyright Karen Cropper

Car par in Middlesbrough – my photo

Palette from above photo - less variations of red than I would have throught would be picked up

Palette from above photo – less variations of red than I would have throught would be picked up

The tool also includes colour matching algorithms with sliders that you can move around to see different colour combinations. Example screen below.

Example selecting one colour from the palette on the left and then the algorithm for colour matching

Example selecting one colour from the palette on the left and then the algorithm for colour matching

Other Tools

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