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Author Topic: Why complementary colors go so well together?  (Read 16665 times)

Offline Emilio Romero

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« on: 27/05/2009 14:45:22 »
We call complementary colors pairs of colors that are of “opposite” hue in some color model, and are called complementary colors, because together they complete the spectrum.



Is there any scientific reason we see complementary colors and think they go very well together?
Thanks



 

Offline Don_1

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #1 on: 27/05/2009 15:35:38 »
I think this is a human notion. It is said that few colours go well with green, yet nature does it, to marvellous effect, all the time with flowers of just about every colour on green plants.
 

Offline dentstudent

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #2 on: 27/05/2009 15:40:27 »
Is it not similar to music, in that the frequencies of the complimentary light wavelengths are harmonics, i.e., they are multiples of the frequency of the root colour?
 

Offline Don_1

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #3 on: 27/05/2009 15:50:39 »
Thinking on about this, there are some colour codes in hature, (or even nature, spot of keyboard/finger trouble toady) e.g. black/yellow. How does this fit in with complimentary colour notions?


Sheesh!!! 'toady'..... se wot i meen????
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #4 on: 27/05/2009 18:08:15 »
Ok, so we’re on to something: music (sound) and colors (light)... do they come paired or do we pair them?
Ying and yang anyone?

(I’malsohavingtroubletypingtoday—spacebar)

 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #5 on: 28/05/2009 06:03:04 »
Apparently...
"colors are called complementary if, when mixed in the proper proportion, they produce a neutral color (grey, white, or black)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementary_color#Color_theory
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #6 on: 28/05/2009 13:32:21 »
I've always wondered what two colors mixed together in the appropriate proportion would produce white... :-\
titanium white and zinc white?? ??? ???
 

Online Bored chemist

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #7 on: 28/05/2009 18:27:04 »
You need to add "china white" ;-)
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #8 on: 29/05/2009 05:36:19 »
How about zinc blende?
 

lyner

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #9 on: 31/05/2009 16:28:47 »
I've always wondered what two colors mixed together in the appropriate proportion would produce white... :-\
titanium white and zinc white?? ??? ???

If you are mixing pigments, each pigment will absorb some energy (subtracting). This means that the best you can hope for is a Grey.
You can only produce a White - looking effect, from a pigment which reflects all colours - or by mixing (adding) LIGHTS of different wavelengths
 

Online Bored chemist

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #10 on: 31/05/2009 18:54:20 »
All the pigments mentioned are white, mixing them will give you a white pigment.
 

lyner

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #11 on: 01/06/2009 16:44:45 »
All the pigments mentioned are white, mixing them will give you a white pigment.
If the two 'white' pigments were mixed, each one would absorb a bit more than the other, in some part of the spectrum. The result would be a lower luminance. That's grey, in my book, even if it's a very light grey. Greyer than either 'white'.

Jeez - why does my ignorant spell check want to spell it GRAY?
 

Offline Counterpoints

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #12 on: 01/06/2009 17:40:25 »
All the pigments mentioned are white, mixing them will give you a white pigment.
If the two 'white' pigments were mixed, each one would absorb a bit more than the other, in some part of the spectrum. The result would be a lower luminance. That's grey, in my book, even if it's a very light grey. Greyer than either 'white'.

Jeez - why does my ignorant spell check want to spell it GRAY?

Your argument seems intuitively wrong.  Suppose you mix an 'obvious' white, with an 'obvious' gray. (Either spelling is correct!). 
Clearly the mixture will be lighter than the original gray. 

Now if we have two imperfect non-identical white colours, one will be more white than the other.  Applying the same intuition as above, a mixture will be lighter than the darker of the two, and darker than the lighter of the two.

(You are essentially saying that if we add a drop of white paint, to a sample of gray paint, the sample of gray paint will get darker).
 

Online Bored chemist

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #13 on: 01/06/2009 19:00:24 »
It gets worse.
Imagine that we just choose one of those pigments. Due to manufacturing defects  there will be traces of impurities in the pigment and some of these will absorb light.
They won't all be the same so, in effect, a "pure" white pigment is a mixture of lots of different whites.
By Sophiecentaur's argument it should be nearly black.

Incidentally it is possible to mix white pigments and get odd colours. A mixture of white lead and lithopone will turn brown/ grey given time.
 

Offline techmind

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #14 on: 01/06/2009 20:31:19 »
Is there any scientific reason we see complementary colors and think they go very well together?

I don't know the answer but I would hazard a guess that it has to do with the visual contrast. Consider even in terms of light and dark we tend to prefer a mixture, eg dark trousers, light shirt for a more formal occasion, or a dark shirt/T-shirt with light white/beige trousers for a pleasing informal attire. Light shirt and light trousers looks rather 'wishy washy' and naff.

When analysed into red/green/blue (long/med/short) channels, 'complementary' colours will tend to have high contrast in each channel.


I've no doubt you can find exceptions to this, but I reckon contrast has a lot to do with it.
 

Offline Emilio Romero

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #15 on: 02/06/2009 01:37:28 »
Is there any scientific reason we see complementary colors and think they go very well together?

I don't know the answer but I would hazard a guess that it has to do with the visual contrast. Consider even in terms of light and dark we tend to prefer a mixture, eg dark trousers, light shirt for a more formal occasion, or a dark shirt/T-shirt with light white/beige trousers for a pleasing informal attire. Light shirt and light trousers looks rather 'wishy washy' and naff.

When analysed into red/green/blue (long/med/short) channels, 'complementary' colours will tend to have high contrast in each channel.


I've no doubt you can find exceptions to this, but I reckon contrast has a lot to do with it.

Then, the same must happen (and I think it does) with flavours and music?
 

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Why complementary colors go so well together?
« Reply #15 on: 02/06/2009 01:37:28 »

 

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