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3 Tutorials that teach The Color Wheel
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The Color Wheel

The Color Wheel

Description:

In this lesson, you will study the construction of the traditional color wheel and recognize different color relationships based on it.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to today's lesson on the color wheel.  This tutorial will focus on the construction of the traditional color wheel and explain how to recognize different color relationships based on the wheel.  Specifically, this lesson will cover: 

  1. The Color Wheel
  2. Versions of the Color Wheel
  3. Tertiary, Secondary & Primary Colors

1. The Color Wheel

The color circle, commonly known as the color wheel, is a circular arrangement of hues in the order that they appear in the light color spectrum.

Term to Know

    • Color Wheel
    • A circular arrangement of hues in the order that they appear in the light color spectrum. The color wheel most commonly referenced has 12 segments and uses the subtractive color model.

The color wheel most commonly referenced has 12 segments and uses the subtractive color model. So the color wheel is going to be a vehicle for visualizing color and color relationships and it's actually quite useful for mixing color, selecting color, matching color, and looking at color relationships.

Since we're talking about the color wheel, it's probably worth mentioning Johannes Itten, 1920s Swiss painter and teacher who developed color theory as we know it today and wrote The Art of Color.

Term to Know

    • Johannes Itten
    • 1920s Swiss painter and teacher who developed color theory as we know it today and wrote "The Art of Color". Itten's twelve-step "color sphere" is still in widespread use as a model for students of color theory.

Itten's 13 step color sphere is still in widespread use as a model for students of color theory.


2. Versions of the Color Wheel

There are various versions of the color wheel and the differences are often associated with their use in particular professions. The image below shows the 12 step color wheel on top, a digital design wheel on the bottom right, and the additive/subtractive color wheel on the bottom left.

So if you're a painter, you might see something more similar to the 12 step color wheel that you'll be looking at the majority of the lesson. However, you might see alterations and different versions. You might see something like the one on the bottom right that says MagicPicker if you were doing something like digital design, Photoshop or Painter.

The additive and subtractive color models and their respective versions of the color wheel are also versions of the color wheel. A good way to remember these models is that in the additive color wheel, the colors mix to create white. In the subtractive, the colors mix to remove color in that sense to create black.


3. Tertiary, Secondary & Primary Colors

Speaking of mixing, the lesson will now jump into triad, secondary, primary, and tertiary colors.

Terms to Know

    • Triad
    • The name for three hues positioned on the color wheel in the shape of an equilateral triangle.
    • Primary Colors
    • The triad of red, blue and yellow on the subtractive color wheel or red, green and blue (RGB) on the additive color wheel.
    • Secondary Colors
    • Hues which are the result of mixing two primary colors in equal amounts.
    • Tertiary Colors
    • Hues which are the result of mixing two secondary colors in equal amounts.

Triad is the name for three hues positioned on the color wheel in the shape of an equilateral triangle. So if you look at the main color wheel below, you can see we have our triad, our equilateral triangle, with our primaries which are red, blue, and yellow.


In the additive, you have red, green, and blue. So same triad but different colors, RGB.


The secondary colors are hues which are the result of mixing two primary colors in equal amount. So if you take your primaries and mix them in equal amounts, like yellow and red, you get orange. You mix equal amounts of red and blue, then you get violet. And if you mix equal amounts of blue and yellow then you get green. So secondary colors-- hues-- which are the result of mixing two primary colors.

Tertiary colors are hues which are the result of mixing two secondary colors in equal amounts. Results of those hues might be something like lime green or yellow orange or magenta. 

Summary

This tutorial covered the basics of the color wheel and the different versions of the color wheel.  Tertiary, two secondary colors in equal amounts, was covered, as well as secondary and primary colors.  The original triad is comprised of tertiary, secondary, and primary colors.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: SOURCE: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR MARIO E. HERNANDEZ

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Color Wheel

    A circular arrangement of hues in the order that they appear in the light color spectrum. The color wheel most commonly referenced has 12 segments and uses the subtractive color model.

  • Triad

    The name for three hues positioned on the color wheel in the shape of an equilateral triangle.

  • Primary Colors

    The triad of red, blue and yellow on the subtractive color wheel or red, green and blue (RGB) on the additive color wheel.

  • Secondary Colors

    Hues which are the result of mixing two primary colors in equal amounts.

  • Tertiary Colors

    Hues which are the result of mixing two secondary colors in equal amounts.

  • Johannes Itten

    1920s Swiss painter and teacher who developed color theory as we know it today and wrote "The Art of Color". Itten's twelve-step "color sphere" is still in widespread use as a model for students of color theory.