16 Great Books On Color

September 2, 2014 | 2 Comments |

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Looking for great books on color?

Browse this collection of my favorites.

This collection covers a wide range of aspects of the rich phenomenon including physics, biology, psychology, history and theory.

Enjoy!

Find more great books here.

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Looking for good books? Browse my Recommended Reading lists.

Topics include …

Creativity, Color, Graphic Design, Digital Photography, Photography Appreciation, Photography Theory, Photography Business, Important Thoughts, Cultures, Climate Change, Meditation and Journaling.

If you’re looking for great books on these subjects look at these books first.

Yes, these lists are missing some of the  important classics in these fields that are less accessible and require more effort. Essential, clear, actionable – these are the criteria I’ve used for this selection.

These are some of the books that have changed my life. One of them might change yours too.

Enjoy!

This video offers many insights into and from one of the most influential color photographers of our times.

View more Videos On Photographers here.

Read conversations with photographers here.

How artists get there is just as important as where they arrive. My new ebook Process examines many aspects of my creative process – writing, drawing, painting, photography, Photoshop, iphoneography and more. Thirty-three chapters are organized into five sections – Color, Composition, Draw, iPhone, Write – showing how each discipline contributes to the completion of finished works of art.

This ebook reveals that an artist’s creations are produced by not one but many activities in many media and that the creative process is a never-ending journey of discovery that offers surprising insights along the way.

192 pages fully illustrated

$12.99

$9.99 for Insights enews members

(Email info@johnpaulcaponigro.com for discount code.)

Buy the PDF here

Download a free preview here.

Arthur Meyerson and I discuss the power of color.

Read our extended conversation here.

Read Arthur’s quick Q&A here.

Read Arthur’s favorite quotes here.

Learn more about Arthur Meyerson here.

View more photographers on photography videos here.

In this Quick Tip, Julieanne demonstrates the new Color Lookup Adjustment layer and walks you through how to download a template to quickly apply these new “looks” to your images.

The files she references can be found here. http://adobe.ly/Ng3afA

Find out more on Julianne’s blog.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.


1

Images with lighter palettes tend to be brighter and less saturated (though driving colors towards white desaturates them), while those with heavy palettes tend to be darker and more saturated (though driving colors towards black desaturates them).

2

Brighter less saturated colors seem lighter, while darker more saturated colors seem heavier.

3

Colors can be matched or contrasted by weight to control visual dynamics. Here yellow and blue are matched in weight.

Many psychological attributes have been assigned to color, such as temperature. It’s so natural to think of color having temperature that we often don’t think about how this is an associative meaning rather than a physical fact. Physically a blue fire is much hotter than a red fire. Nonetheless, red is universally (in all cultures and periods of history) considered the warmest color and blue the coolest color. It’s quite likely that this comes from our experiences with fire (generally red, orange, and yellow) and water (typically blue in large quantities). You might think the ascription of temperature to color is particularly strong for photographers who assign white balances to their images based on the color temperature of the light a photograph was made from to reproduce color accurately. But, it’s equally strong with painters and designers who use temperature associations to create expressive color schemes.

One other useful psychological attribution to color is weight. Does yellow feel lighter than green? Does purple feel heavier than orange? Most people would say yes. Of course, our response depends on the specific variation of each broad color family. You can make a green seem lighter than yellow if you make it brighter, either with luminosity or saturation or both.

So how can you use this information? Here are four ways.

1            You can strengthen comparisons or contrasts between two image areas by making their relative weights appear more or less similar.

2            You can also set the tone for an entire image. Set a brighter airier tone by using lighter colors. Set a darker earthier tone by using heavier colors.

3            You can attract the eye more strongly to specific areas. Once a predominantly light or heavy palette has been set, you can accent it dramatically with smaller accents of contrastingly weighty colors.

4            You can create comparatively lighter and heavier palettes for specific areas of an image, such as a lighter color scheme for higher areas and a heavier color scheme for lower areas.

It’s useful to note that weight is also associated with gravity and thus vertical location.

That the word ‘light’ can be used to describe both the appearance and the mass of an image speaks volumes. Psychologically, color has weight. With only a little practice and more sensitivity, you can use this to make your images more effective.

Exercise

Sensitize yourself to the weight of color by matching the weight of colors.

1               Create two or more colors. Match the weight of two colors from the same color family, such as blue.

2               Create two or more colors. Match the weight of two colors from different color families, such as blue and yellow.

Read more about color theory here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Sometimes the things we resist influence us the most. For me, this was certainly the case with the paintings of Mark Rothko.

As a young man I found myself alienated from many modernist works. I felt they were overly intellectual; you needed a degree to begin to approach them much less understand them. They didn’t meet the audience half way. Some of them even needed critical interpretation to be fully resolved.

Nonetheless, my intensely emotional reactions to Mark Rothko’s paintings were undeniable. Standing before these fields of color produced a physical sensation, much like listening to music. Rothko was able to communicate powerful emotions with the simplest means. Often his canvases were composed no more than two rectangles inside the larger rectangular field of the canvas or as few as three colors. Unlike DeKooning, gesture isn’t what communicates emotion – Rothko’s canvases are stained.  Rothko’s use of scale, quite different than Albers’, also impressed me; the large fields immerse you in the sensation of color, further intensifying it.

Rothko’s painting was more than an exploration of optics, it was also a spiritual quest. It’s not just color-for-color’s sake; it’s color placed in the service of the human spirit. Upon further study, I found that many early modernists shared a similar spiritual impulse and used abstraction in a quest for a universal language that reached beyond time and culture. For me this was the link between the modernists I appreciated and the ones that left me cold. It was a quest I resonated with. It started a chain reaction within my thinking about and appreciation of art. I continue to search for similar qualities in my own work.

Who are your influences and what do they mean to you?

Find out more about my influences here.

“The new Color Lookup Adjustment Layer in Photoshop CS 6 has several options (3DLUT File, Abstract, and Device Link) that are used to load different “looks”. These looks are achieved by remapping every color in the image to a different one using a lookup table (LUT). I think that many photographers and designers will find their resulting color shifts quite interesting. You can think of these tables as a sort of meta-adjustment, a way to apply pre-packaged adjustments (sometimes lots of adjustments together) in one step.”

Julianne Kost has created a file that you can download free and test all the new CS6 Lookup adjustments on your image. Simply open the file and replace the contents of the Smart Object in it with one of your own images. It’s a great way to visually compare the various results in a ring around.

Find out more and download the file here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

I Love Color

April 6, 2012 | 1 Comment |

I love color. I love it because it’s exciting and energizing. I love it because it’s physical and sensual. I love it because it’s emotional and expressive. I love it because it’s interesting – scientifically, historically, socially, psychologically.  I love color because you can look at it literally, abstractly, or symbolically. I love color because it has a rich history and diverse cultures and people have done such different things with it, but somehow I can connect with most of the things they’ve done with it, even if I don’t have the same culture or language. I love color because it’s a language that we can all do so much with.

Do you love color too?

What will you do with color today?

(Don’t think for a second that I don’t like black and white or gray; they’re some of my favorite colors!)

Read / view more on color theory here.

Read / view more on color psychology here.


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