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View Full Version : The Real Colorwheel - experience / advice?


Reinhard1
12-21-2013, 05:31 PM
I am getting my feet whet in colour with coloured pencils, read a lot about colour theory (thanks for all the great information here), but I am looking for a 'practical' approach to understand which colours I have (Faber Castell Polychromos does not publish their pigments) so I need to visually sort my colours into an understandable and manageable form.

I have come across Don Jusko's Real Colour Wheel and need advice. I am thinking of purchasing one of his laminated colour wheels (I don't trust my ColorLaserJet to produce exact colours). Does anyone of you either have a personal experience with this or an opinion which might help me to come to a decision before going the 'trial and error route'.

Thanks for understanding and helping.

davidbriggs
12-21-2013, 08:53 PM
Reinhard1, I don't think it's absolutely crucial in itself which hue circle you use to sort your pencils, as long you can use it consistently, but the single most important thing you can accomplish is to sort them by value (at full strength), and the RCW won't help you with that. As you are only asking about the colour wheel itself I won't digress into a critique of the associated site, but you've probably noticed yourself that it is unreliable to say the very least!

The best currently available option for most people would be to use the hue pages in the New Munsell Student Colour Set (any edition). The book is supplied with the colour chips loose so that you can sort them yourself (an excellent exercise!), but if you wanted you could buy a student's used copy with the chips glued in place, as are available very cheaply on Amazon.com etc. The matte chips do not cover the full gamut of glossy oil paints, but I expect they would adequately cover the gamut of lightfast coloured pencils.

I'm sure you'll see for youself the great advantage over the RCW and other "colour wheels" of having the colours of each hue set out according to value and chroma independently. Unfortunately there are only ten hue pages, but you should find that you can interpolate satifactorily. Otherwise there is a Japanese atlas that has twenty hue pages and a 40-hue hue circle; it's also inexpensive, but it's a bit of a business to purchase it outside Japan.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19583733&postcount=5

opainter
12-22-2013, 12:19 AM
Simpler, maybe, if you have a camera, is to take a black and white photograph of your colors. Then sort them by value. Then maybe take a second photograph to verify that you have them sorted correctly.

WFMartin
12-22-2013, 02:08 PM
Don Jusko's Real Color Wheel seems to be one of the ONLY color wheels that have placed the colors in locations in which they actually belong from a scientific point of view.

It is, without a doubt one the only color wheels that actually contains the two primary colors, Cyan, and Magenta (most commercial color wheels don't even display those two colors, as if they don't exist). It also positions the primary colors, Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan, directly opposite their complementary colors, Red, Green, and Blue. To a color theorist such as I, that seems very logical.

If your plan is to own a color wheel that will demonstrate its use as a true, "tool" for the predicting of color mixes, this will accomplish that, and much better than most color wheels. Most commercial color wheels make rather good "decorations" to hang on the wall, helping to offer the impression that "Look, I am an artist." But, very few can be used as real tools, chiefly because they don't even contain two of the primary colors.

kinasi
12-22-2013, 04:29 PM
I made my own wheel. The issue with using someone else's wheel is that they tend to have their own idea of where colors go, they might use a clockwise instead of couterclockwise system. So eventually I decided to make my own.

My color wheel is a vector image, not a raster image, so I can blow it up into any format without loss of quality.

I don't really rely on it anymore, but just making a wheel yourself is invaluable, you'll learn much more than buying a premade wheel.

Doing the chips in munsell's book is invaluable too.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Dec-2013/1558522-etetetetete.JPG

kinasi
12-22-2013, 04:41 PM
(most commercial color wheels don't even display those two colors, as if they don't exist)

I looked up "color wheel" in google and almost none of them display magenta, everything between blue and red is treated as violet in different tints. That's sad and hilarious at the same time.

Reinhard1
12-22-2013, 08:55 PM
Dr. Briggs, thanks so much for your input, suggestions and help. Seems that I need to do a lot of learning and studying. The multitude of diverging 'colour theories' is daunting to say the least and I am less sure after having read a number. I did not consider Munsell until now since I was, most likely erroneously, searching for something understandable and applicable. What drew me to RCW was the hope that I could get an idea where my colours are and deduct from that complements and harmonies. Plus it gives the feeling that one could use it as a guide for mixing. Munsell, without having even started to try to understand, seems rather logical and applicable, especially when looking for matching correct colours (Munsell colour chips) and my pens. What I have not seen so far is to understand how Munsell arrives at the chroma variations. Does this system use greys (according to the value) to tone down the chroma in the shades or is that the result of using complements.

On my iPad I have quite some Munsell colour chips as published by The Classical Lab. Still VERY theoretical. I think it would be wise to follow your suggestion and acquire the Student Colour Set and get started. I will definitely share my frustrations.

opainter, many thanks. That sounds like an interesting and useful approach.

William, thanks a lot for your input. I have printed the RCW and like the hue cirlce very much. What I was/am looking for is the shades. I think that a combination of the RCW and the artist colour wheel from handprint (with the pigments) will help me. Seems though that I can 'avoid' learning value and chroma via Munsell.

kinase, I thank you for your comment. Seems that one day I will need to do my own colour wheel. If that could be done with coloured pencils or if it were advisable to attempt it with acrylics or oil will be another step on my 'colour learning curve'.

kinasi
12-22-2013, 10:12 PM
you can make shading series too when you're bored

david briggs his site is very helpful if you want to get them right

some sites and books (like Alla prima) tell you to just try to combine colors and see what happens, I honestly think that's not very useful, it's impossible to memorise what happens, but making color wheels and series is easy to remember

I made these in the past when I started out:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Dec-2013/1558522-jop;j;j;j.JPG

davidbriggs
12-23-2013, 06:26 AM
Dr. Briggs, thanks so much for your input, suggestions and help. Seems that I need to do a lot of learning and studying. The multitude of diverging 'colour theories' is daunting to say the least and I am less sure after having read a number. I did not consider Munsell until now since I was, most likely erroneously, searching for something understandable and applicable. What drew me to RCW was the hope that I could get an idea where my colours are and deduct from that complements and harmonies. Plus it gives the feeling that one could use it as a guide for mixing.


I sympathize regarding the multitude of colour "theories"; it's very difficult for the nonspecialist to separate the good from the bad, especially as the people who really do know what they are talking about don't always bother to point out the duds. Here's a comment you might find informative by Professor Mark Fairchild regarding one of the innumerable errors on the RCW website. Fairchild is Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Education and Director of the Program of Color Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and author of the textbook Color Appearance Models. He is undoubtedly one of the top ten researchers on colour alive today:

"... That reference, as well as most of the other information on the website you referenced, is erroneous. ... The website attempts to describe a "true" hue circle. The "trueness" of a hue circle depends on the objective for its use and the type of materials that are being mixed to produce the colors. There is little value in the website other than for mixing the specific transparent colorants mentioned by the artist."

http://www.rit.edu/cos/colorscience/rc_faq_all.php#262
(By the way, this whole FAQ is a goldmine of reliable, clearly expressed and interesting information on colour).

Munsell, without having even started to try to understand, seems rather logical and applicable, especially when looking for matching correct colours (Munsell colour chips) and my pens. What I have not seen so far is to understand how Munsell arrives at the chroma variations. Does this system use greys (according to the value) to tone down the chroma in the shades or is that the result of using complements.


In the Munsell system each horizontal row is a series of colours that are same value, and increase in chroma in even steps. The Munsell system itself doesn't say anything about how to mix those colours with paint, but it can be used as a frame of reference for describing what happens when you mix paints. For example, when mixing a colour with a grey of the same value, the intermediate mixtures may drop a little in value, but when mixing the same colour with a complementary of the same value, the intermediate stages will drop a lot in value. (For this reason, painting systems that use the Munsell framework, such as the Reilly system, favor mixing with a grey of the same value as a much more controlled way of adjusting chroma than mixing with the complementary).

David

kinasi
12-23-2013, 06:49 AM
(For this reason, painting systems that use the Munsell framework, such as the Reilly system, favor mixing with a grey of the same value as a much more controlled way of adjusting chroma than mixing with the complementary).

David
I use this approach a lot. It gets increasingly more difficult to mix colors when one has to rely solely on complements, because we have access to a wider and wider color gamut with extremely powerful pigments.

Low tinting strength hansa yellow light + phthalo blue = compensate hell, it's like driving a car without a steering wheel.

Sure, you can add the complement of hansa and of phthalo, and one for red, and one for blue....now you have 40 paints.

Compensating for the hue is possible, but when you use complements you are often so far off target, that it's a pointless attempt to try to balance something that is inherently very unbalanced.

Unless you add lower chroma paint to the palette for every color, to try to keep your complement mixes from going all over the place, which frankly isn't a practical solution. You'll just end up with 20 paints instead of 8 or 12 or something that is reasonable.

Well, reasonable for me, for me buying 20 paints is unreasonable, but I still want a wide gamut and controllable mixes and do it a price that is within my budget. I use about 8 paints and I quickly realised that complement mixing is a like going on a rollercoaster hoping you don't fall off the track once you introduce powerful pigments like phthalo.

Reinhard1
12-25-2013, 02:03 PM
kinasi, thanks a lot for the help and thoughts. Doing my own mixing studies is something I have to do once I am brave enough to pick up brushes instead of my pencils. And isn't it the truth that looking for the 'correct' complementary colour is rather taxing to say the least. Especially when one does not have any more information on how the companies arrived at their colours and give them fancy names on top.

Dr. Briggs, so helpful, many, many thanks. I am afraid that for all the learning I will have to do, I might be left with little or no time to draw. I am experimenting with greys (warm and cool) and am rather pleased with the results.

Just to show that your quest for the introduction on better colour wheels, these are 2 images from the wheel I am working with at the moment. Seems that they understood. I was/am hoping that with the Munsell colour chips I might be better able to put my personal colours into an understandable order and hopefully come up with more predictable mixing results.

Gigalot
12-25-2013, 02:45 PM
I use this approach a lot. It gets increasingly more difficult to mix colors when one has to rely solely on complements, because we have access to a wider and wider color gamut with extremely powerful pigments.

Low tinting strength hansa yellow light + phthalo blue = compensate hell, it's like driving a car without a steering wheel.

Sure, you can add the complement of hansa and of phthalo, and one for red, and one for blue....now you have 40 paints.

Compensating for the hue is possible, but when you use complements you are often so far off target, that it's a pointless attempt to try to balance something that is inherently very unbalanced.

Unless you add lower chroma paint to the palette for every color, to try to keep your complement mixes from going all over the place, which frankly isn't a practical solution. You'll just end up with 20 paints instead of 8 or 12 or something that is reasonable.

Well, reasonable for me, for me buying 20 paints is unreasonable, but I still want a wide gamut and controllable mixes and do it a price that is within my budget. I use about 8 paints and I quickly realised that complement mixing is a like going on a rollercoaster hoping you don't fall off the track once you introduce powerful pigments like phthalo.

Real paints are not complementary, no one pigment in the world have true complement counterpart. Therefore, complementary mixing needs more than two pigments to make real neutral gray.
I do not have any troubles when I use Phthalo Green and Blue to paint. Try intermediate dilution! These pigments are my favorite paints. Why do you love to stumble out of the blue with phthalo? There are also other potential rakes among palette paints!

I do not believe, guys! Epson color printer, which is ROBOT CAN mix Phtalo Blue easily, while Human, with his vaunted brain, CAN NOT! :lol :thumbsup:
Add a small amount of Phthalo to a part of paint you need to mix. Then take a small amount of this mixture and add to a remaining paint pile. And voila, you beated this Epson scrap in color mixing! :clap:

kinasi
12-25-2013, 05:23 PM
I do not believe, guys! Epson color printer, which is ROBOT CAN mix Phtalo Blue easily, while Human, with his vaunted brain, CAN NOT! :lol :thumbsup:
Add a small amount of Phthalo to a part of paint you need to mix. Then take a small amount of this mixture and add to a remaining paint pile. And voila, you beated this Epson scrap in color mixing! :clap:
Epson printing grey:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Dec-2013/1558522-InkJetDotRGB50.jpg

without magnification:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Dec-2013/1558522-etetet.jpg


I think complementaries have issues. The issue I have with them is 1. the stronger pigments become, the more removed complementaries are from each other, and the more that can go wrong. Mixing a cadmium yellow and red with a cobalt blue is cake, mixing a hansa yellow with a pyrolle red and phthalo blue is not cake any longer 2. complementaries never mix in a straight line, they will sway away when you get to low valuus 3. complementaries go total bonker from yellow up to red, earth colors aren't just popular out of tradition, they are tools to mitigate those issues 4. yellow is a horrible complementary 5. phthalo, I use them, but I know they are very uncontrollable, I'm not going to use a phthalo to knock down my hansa yellow, it is way too powerful to control, it sort of works with a knife, with a brush it is quite a challenge

I mean it's possible to just get 3 paints or 6 with extreme tinting strength and a huge gamut, ignore earths and ignore black, you'll get very clean mixes, but you'll be off your mark half the time, at least I'm often off my mark, I want to paint, not spend time trying to control phthalo.

The issue with the new modern pigments companies recommend, is that on one side you have hansa yellow usually, and on the other side you have an ultramarine or worse, a phthalo, that's a 1 to 100 ratio tinting difference or something. Bismuth has higher tinting power, but I might as well use cadmium then, since bismuth is according to Golden, just as bad as cadmium regarding toxicity, and bismuth isn't very high chroma.

The modern pigments have issues when you try to do complementary mixing with them, a lot more issues than old pigments. The gamut is much wider which leaves you open to mistakes, and the tinting strength, which was somewhat leveled out when using cadmiums, is all over the place now with modern pigments.

kinasi
12-25-2013, 05:24 PM
Especially when one does not have any more information on how the companies arrived at their colours and give them fancy names on top.
Maybe faber castell will tell you the pigments if you email them,not sure.

Reinhard1
12-25-2013, 05:37 PM
kinasi, so I thought as well. I even visited them in Nürnberg but they treat the pigments as 'trade secrets'. The are still working with the Itten colour model and they even don't have a colour wheel with their pencils.

kinasi
12-25-2013, 05:53 PM
Ah bummer.

caran d'ache lists all pigments of pastel and pencil

you won't see many toxic pigments and only modern pigments in most pencils, I think there are stronger rules for pencils, since kids can lick them etc

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Dec-2013/1558522-sfsfsfsf.JPG
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Dec-2013/1558522-eyeyeyey.JPG

Reinhard1
12-25-2013, 06:04 PM
Thx for the update. I have the Luminance set and the pencils are rather splendid. Plus I had found a post somewhere, where Caran d'Ache even has the pigments for their Pablo line listed. So long Faber .........

Gigalot
12-25-2013, 06:26 PM
[QUOTE=kinasi ultramarine or worse, a phthalo, that's a 1 to 100 ratio tinting difference or something.[/QUOTE]

I guess, people are against Phthalo because they can have troubles with lifting in watercolor, or with worst drying time in acrylic, but I ABSOLUTELLY do not have problem with these pigments in oil. And I totaly do not understand people who have troubles in oil.

People, who have problem with phthalo in oil just do not have an experience in color mixing or they even are psychologycaly negative anti-phthalo heroes, self-made trouble inventors and pessimists. With chronical Phthalofobia, might be better to avoid to use any phthalo because of individual, virtual allergy to it and apply more positive, phthalo free "happy/lucky" pigments like ultramarine, genuine cerulean or true, genuine cobalt blue. Do not try, do not buy, just forget about pigment with the name phthalo, leave it for artists who are happy to use it!

By the way, to mix green with Tr.Yellow oxide these phtaloes are not as powerful as people are thinking. A lot of pigment needs to make different greens from it - olive, hookers and forest greens. Add Chromium oxide to mixture to make more opaque paint, and phthalo becomes just weak. And it is not powerful in very deep, with close to black value mixtures. A large paint pile to make greens for 50x60 cm oil painting!

kinasi
12-25-2013, 07:05 PM
Many people use phthalo without using it as mixing complement. Phthalo, especially when tinted, reaches a much higher chroma than any other pigment of similar hue. The reason they don't like it as a mixing pigment, are justified reasons.

They don't like the tinting power....which is incredibly high. They don't like the dark masstone which drags the value down really quickly, and it makes it quite hard to anticipate a mixing path.

The black line is what happens when a paint manufacturer tells a new painter to use 3 paints, and they give them a hansa yellow, a phthalo blue, and a quinacridone, PV19 or PR122.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Dec-2013/1558522-etetetete.JPG

This hue shift happens with any blue, but it is far far harder to control with a phthalo because of it's out of this world tinting power.

Cadmiums and bismuth yellows even phthalo out, but that's not what most new painters use, they use arylide yellows with extremely low tinting power.

The fact that most humans don't even associate a green yellow with yellow, or a brown with orange, complicates things further.

The tinting strength of the phthalo pigment complicates it even further.

And the dark masstone of a phthalo that only reveils it's true identity when tinted or when it's shown in a thin film, complicates it even further.

It's not that I don't like phthalo, phthalo is my main blue, it's just that I have safety nets in place, so I don't have to rely on it if I don't want to. Many people don't even use phthalo since they don't like them, that's a fine choice, if that makes their mixing more reliable. It is far better to have a reliable mixing path than having a 1 point chroma difference on the munsell scale.

davidbriggs
12-25-2013, 07:07 PM
Just to show that your quest for the introduction on better colour wheels, these are 2 images from the wheel I am working with at the moment. Seems that they understood.

Your wheel makes a "brave" attempt to force the colours of the modern subtractive primaries into the colour nomenclature of a "traditional" 12-hue colour wheel. So we get a primary labelled "Rot (Magenta)", as if magenta was just an alternative name for red (and not red-violet!). Unfortunately the colours labelled "Rot (Magenta)" and "Rot-Violett" on your wheel are both the same hue! (check in Photoshop if you can't see it straight away).

Reinhard1
12-25-2013, 08:35 PM
Dr. Briggs, thanks a lot. I had not thought of controlling it with Photoshop. As you can see, I am grabbing at every straw I can find to help me understand, and apply, colour better.

Gigalot
12-26-2013, 10:11 AM
phthalo is my main blue.

Phthalo is my main Green. It is irreplaceable as a bright, primary mixing green. Blue Phthalo is also very beautiful, but it has some alternatives in color, while green version has no alternative. Copper aceto-arsenate emerald green was abandoned in early 20 century. And it is almost the best paint to mix complementary black with alizarin hues or Dioxazine.

I guess, PY74 has a good tinting strength, better than PY3. I have a tube of "Cadmium Yellow deep HUE", PY74+PO43 pigments mixture. Not as opaque as genuine Cadmium must be, but good to mix.

kinasi
12-27-2013, 01:34 AM
I guess, PY74 has a good tinting strength, better than PY3. I have a tube of "Cadmium Yellow deep HUE", PY74+PO43 pigments mixture. Not as opaque as genuine Cadmium must be, but good to mix.
I'm changing to PY74 from PY3 lately, it is a much better pigment for some reaosn, has slightly more cover power and it just seems cleaner.

And I agree with you about phthalo and about blue, ultramarine is a decent alternative, but in green there is nothing.

phthalo + yellow, ultramarine and phthalo blue

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Dec-2013/1558522-bjb,,b,b.jpg

in acrylics my binder is so clean that you get fluo colors:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Dec-2013/1558522-kjlnk.n.n..JPG

Gigalot
12-27-2013, 10:56 AM
Looks pearlescent. In oil so much binder content possible makes many troubles!

NSR160
12-27-2013, 05:59 PM
Hi Reinhard1

Its advice to my friend.

Is to Read and reread WFmartins post on here.
His knowledge is vast, and simplified.
By far one of the best, when it comes to colors.

I also own a laminated RCW, one of the best also I have seen.

Your values is on par with any artist in this world.
The only thing you need to learn is.
Saturation (or chroma) as you call it.
One thing that have different name depending if you talking to an artist, photographer, or some working with lights.

Color temperature is related to how close a color is to the "ice blue"
Og "vibrant orange"
On the color wheel.

So a yellow can be cool against a "orange-red" color.

I oversimplify this massage, so you can get ahead.
Knowing the meaning of the words used, is the fastest way to learn.
There has been use so many different names depending on the craft.
That means the same thing.

Compliments "opposite" colors, make one stronger when is close.
Like a rose, looks more red, because of the green stem.

But when blended they cancel earth other out.
And ultimately makes a gray or a black.

Do a 50/50 on-top of each-other lightly. With a orange and then a blue on top.
And look at if from a distance, with you pencils.

Colors is a small thing for someone like you.
Once you learn saturation (chroma)

davidbriggs
12-27-2013, 09:28 PM
Dr. Briggs, thanks a lot. I had not thought of controlling it with Photoshop.

Well, you'd hardly expect to need to check, but the maker of the wheel sure should have. Incredible that they got to the stage of actually printing the thing without noticing that two of the 12 colours are the same hue!