Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Color Accents

A color accent is any small area of color that is noticeably different from the rest
of the colors in the composition.

Marek Piwnicki, Kyoto, Japan

Color accents are usually more highly chromatic than the rest of the picture. If you restrict the entire image to something close to a monochromatic scheme, anything different will jump out and grab the viewer. 

In the photo above, the orange color of the shop at night creates a magnet for the attention. Color accents don’t have to be used only for the main focus of interest. They can also be added as a seasoning throughout a picture, to provide relief from large areas of unrelieved hues. 

If you have a picture with a strong blue cast, it can help to sneak in a little yellow or orange here and there—just a set of floating dots or an outline, or a weird reflection in a window. This becomes a matter of taste and of momentary inspiration, keeping your color scheme from being too mechanical or predictable.
Learn more in my Gumroad tutorial TRIADS: Painting with Three Colors.


Steve Gilzow said...

Reminds me of Stapleton Kearns’ advice about “smuggling red” into a green landscape — carefully placing a bit of red here and there to enliven the scene.

Unknown said...

What I especially like about the photo is that the eye "wants" to be drawn by the perspective / lights, but is irresistably attracted / distracted by the orange spot.

Kristof Willaert said...

James, funny how your color gamut chart looks exactly like "Impression soleil levant" by Claude Monet.