Ultimate Guide to Colors Part. 01 [Tones, Hues, & Saturation]

Kayla is a student and an artist coming from Canada. Enjoys rock and electronic music and can be found on deviantART.

Understand the basics of the colors, and learn the advantages of the finest color mixes.

Hello dear visitor, and Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to the Colors Tutorial.

First of all, we'd like to thank Kayla for her wonderful color tutorial and the permission to modify it and republish here. We suggest visiting Kayla's page for more educational stuff.

In this section we’ll attempt to simply explain the Undertones, the Hues, the Saturation & Shades.
But for the beginning let’s start with some definitions. :)

But for the beginning let’s start with some definitions. :)

What is Undertone?

- A Pale of subdued color;
- The subtle underlying color of a hue is its undertone. Interior colors are rarely pure. They are mixtures of many colors and the undertones that reflect the mix.

(for example) Olive is green with an undertone of yellow;

What is Hue?

- Hue is what we used to describe the color that we see either a red, or an orange or purple.

What about Saturation?

- Saturation is simply the intensity of the color.

(for example) High saturation is the neon’s, while low saturation is washed out colors.

Now as we’re aware of what the undertones are we can divide them in groups:

1. Warm (undertones);
2. Cold (undertones);
3. Neutral (undertones);

1. With the warm undertones, you will notice that they will appear to usually be more rosey , red, pink or orange. The darker the color, the more saturated it becomes, the lighter the color the less saturated it becomes.

2. With the cold undertones, see how it appears to have more yellow, green, blue or purple. Typically doesn’t become very saturated, instead it gets.

3. With the neutral undertones, they typically aren’t considered warm or cool, instead they are in the middle. They are shades of the same color.

All colors have hues, it’s how we know what color it is. Try to guess what these hues are…

Now, you can mix colors to create, well, mixes…

You can also add shades (B&W) to make colors lighter or darker. The following example does not have any other colors added, just white or black.

However, this example combines shades, and saturation.

Now, saturation doesn’t mean lighter or darker, think of it as how “neon” or how “wasted out” a color looks. Another way to think of it is, how much white is in the color.

Colors with a high saturation will look richer, and will have less white. Colors with low saturation will look faded, and have more white mixed into them, this is also called a desaturated color.

That’s it, you’re done. Congratulations! :)

When you are ready, you can continue the series by following up on:

Part 2: Colors & Introduction To Lights & Shadows

Part 3: Lights & Shadows Continued

Part 4: Putting It All Together