Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Color Me Happy

Every crafter is a visual artist, and, as such, works with color. You probably learned in grade school that red, blue, and yellow are the primary colors (of pigment, not light, but that's not the issue here), and that combinations of any two of those make the secondary colors, orange, green, and purple. You might have learned about complementary colors, colors opposite each other on the color wheel. And of course you know that black and white go with everything.

But what do you do when you're tired of primaries and secondaries, monochrome and two-tone, black and white? Unless you followed an art track in college, you probably don't know much more about color theory. What happens when you open your bead box, your yarn stash, your fabric closet, and don't know where to start?

Color Scheme Designer to the rescue! Created by Petr Stanicek as an aid to web site designers, CSD is an elegant, easy to use guide to color.

Above the color wheel on the left, there are buttons for selecting for six different color arrangements (monomchrome, complementary, triad, etc.). Once you've chosen that, you can pull the dots on the wheel around to select your main color, and the colors that fall within the range of your chosen arrangement. On the left are four blocks in a row that show the main colors of your selection, above a larger block showing some different shades of your palette. Below the wheel are tabs that allow you to play with brightness, saturation, and contrast. If you do happen to be designing for a website, or need a color for your digital art, you can get a list of the colors with their hexadecimal codes. There are even controls for viewing the colors as people with different kinds of color blindness see them. I could write a how-to guide for this application, but really, the best thing is just to go play with it. Try everything on the page, just to see what it does.

If Color Scheme Designer can't break you out of your color block blues, I don't know what can!

P.S. Idle fun for sports fans: set the color wheel to "complement," then pull the dots around and see how many team colors you can find. ;)

1 comment:

  1. ooh this is so useful!
    *plays with it* :D