Color theory definition

We tend to underestimate the meaning of colors, and very wrongly so! Color schemes are a powerful tool for attracting the viewer's attention, highlighting the details, creating a mood, and implicitly showing the character's traits.

Colors’ characteristics

Each color is defined by three parameters:

  1. Hue — the color itself, i.e., blue, green, etc.
  2. Saturation — the intensity of the color.
  3. Value — how dark or light this color is.

Usually, you can change these parameters while editing a video.

Color circle

As for the question "who invented the color wheel", it was Sir Isaac Newton. According to his theory, there are three primary colors: yellow, blue, and red. Interestingly, black and white are not colors at all. The former is just an absence of any light, and the latter is a mixture of all the possible light wavelengths in the visible spectrum.

Color theory black and white

The combinations of primary colors are called "Secondary colors": green, orange, and purple.

At last, "tertiary" or "intermediate" colors are the mixes of primary and secondary ones.

Classic color schemes

  1. Monochromatic. Different hues and shades of the same color.
  2. Analogous. Any three neighbor colors on the wheel.
  3. Complementary. The colors opposite each other in the circle, for example, red and green. This palette may be complemented with any colors aside from these two.
  4. Triadic. Put an equilateral triangle inside the circle, its corners will point at the colors you need.
  5. Tetradic. The same with a square.
Color schemes

Of course, it's just a theory, and every designer can invent their own palettes. It's not also uncommon for designers to look for inspiration in other professionals' projects and use their ideas.

Colors in films

Since 1938, when the first color film was released, cinematic color palettes have become one of the "languages", revealing the hidden meaning of the movie. Sometimes it helps to emphasize the idea; sometimes, it may even create a contrast between "implicit" and "explicit" meanings and completely change our understanding of the film.

  • Red. This color mostly expresses anger, danger, love, passion, violence, strong feelings, and emotions.
  • Green. Depending on saturation and other parameters, it may symbolize calmness, nature, ecology, youth, or envy, jealousy, and greediness.
  • Yellow can be a sign of happiness, sunshine, summer heat, or illness, deceit, cowardice.
  • Color theory yelllow
  • Blue, on the one hand, gives us an impression of tranquillity, something supernatural, divine, spiritual. On the other hand, it can also symbolize depression, cold, and distance.
  • Pink is strongly associated with innocence, childhood (even being childish), naivety, and maybe even some security.
  • Orange is considered to be one of the most optimistic colors. It gives energy and expresses positive vibes, humor, and adventures.
  • Purple. Being traditionally a royal color, this hue still adds some nobleness to every scene it appears. It also creates an atmosphere of mystery, transformation, and spiritual experience.
  • Brown is a very "earthy", materialistic color. On the other hand, the warm tones of this hue look cozy, stable, and homely.
Color theory brown

These are just very rough examples, as different color combinations create totally different moods and messages. Use our hints, but don't limit yourself!