New Zealand D-Photo

THE COLOUR ORDERS

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Now, when we say ‘colour theory’ don’t get worried that this is an overly academic subject — we’re really talking primarysch­ool learning at this point. There are three basic orders of colour: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary colours are the colours from which all other colours come about through mixing: red, yellow, and blue. Take two of these primary colours and mix equal parts together and you’ll create a secondary colour; for example, mix blue and yellow equally and you’ll get the secondary colour green. Tertiary colours come about from mixing a primary and secondary colour, for example, primary yellow mixed with secondary green will get you tertiary chartreuse.

These examples come from the traditiona­l RYB colour space used in art — not to be confused with the RGB or CMYK colour spaces often used in digital photograph­y editing and printing. The RYB colour wheel is a helpful diagram showing what the different colour orders are and how they are created. Knowledge of the colour orders is useful in most artistic pursuits, and for photograph­y in particular it is helpful in making decisions around what to include and leave out of a photo.

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