Friday, May 2, 2014

952 - Super-Self Colour Scheme

I've added experimental colour onto my super-self artwork.  I wanted to pick some hideous colours, but this ends up looking like what you'd get if you left Superman too long in the company of Miami Vice.  

The reason the colours are so garish is because they are triadic.  Looking at a colour wheel, if you pick a base colour (hot pink) and choose two colours that are equally distant from each other and the base,  you get a triad.  The colours are on the points of an equilateral triangle laid over your colour wheel.  I wrote the hexidecimal names of the colours as a reference (FF00AC, 00FFCD, FFCE00).  You can enter these into Photoshop and get exactly the same colours. 

Many early superheroes relied on a triadic colour scheme.  You get the brightest outfits where the colours will still work together.   Superman is the textbook example, with red, blue and yellow.  If you shift The Man Of Steel's pure red into pink by adding blue, the triad also shifts:  the blue moves into lime green and the yellow becomes an orangey-yellow goldenrod.  I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, but I feel I can make these colours work in the final image.  

As a historical note, comic book printers used to rely on pure cyan, red, yellow, and some formulation of black to print cheap issues.  Those inks can be combined to create most common colours in a gamut.  Since the mixes were created through the tiny dots of a half-tone, if you wanted solid colours, you'd stick to cyan, red, and yellow, which is what Supe's original colours were.  If you made a large enough batch of comics, the printer could use other custom-made colours, such as a blue when Superman's costume became darker.  Those custom vats came with a higher cost.

These days print is digital, and there are a much wider range of colours available to choose from.  Modern comics can be hand-held works of art, with an almost Baroque sensibility towards light, shadow, and colour.  Me, I prefer the silver-age stuff I grew up with.