Contrast and Affinity

There are many ways to produce contrast or affinity of color. Remember contrast and affinity can occur within the shot, from shot to shot, and from sequence to sequence.

Contrast of hue occurs when the major color differences in a shot are due to hue.

The color differences in this picture are due to changes in hue.

Affinity of hue occurs when all colors in the picture are based on a single hue. Every color in the shot is green even though the brightness and saturation can vary.

Bergman's Cries and Whispers color scheme is based on a lightened, darkened, saturated, or desaturated red. Contrast and affinity of hue can occur within a shot, from shot to shot, and from sequence to sequence.

Brightness

Brightness refers to the tonal range of the colors in the shot. A scene that uses only very bright and very dark colors illustrates contrast of brightness. A scene that uses only bright colors will show affinity of brightness.

Here are illustrations of affinity (all dark red) and contrast (bright and dark blue) of brightness within the shot. Contrast and affinity of brightness can occur within a shot, from shot to shot, and from sequence to sequence.

Saturation

A picture using only saturated colors illustrates affinity of saturation. A picture using saturated and desaturated colors illustrates contrast of saturation.

These examples show contrast or affinity of saturation. The first example is contrast; all the color in the shot has been desaturated, except for the fully saturated red jacket. In the second example, all the colors are grayed-out, creating affinity of desaturation.

Contrast and affinity of saturation can occur within a shot, from shot to shot, and from sequence to sequence.

Warm/Cool

COOL . WARM

COOL . WARM

A color wheel can be used to generally classify the warm and cool hues. The warm hues are red-magenta, red, orange, and yellow. The cool hues are blue-magenta, blue, green, cyan, and yellow-green.

In terms of visual perception, magenta appears to be a combination of a warm hue (red) and a cool hue (blue), so depending on the proportion of red or blue, magenta can appear warm or cool. Yellow is a warm hue, but when mixed with a small amount of green, it appears to lose its warmth and becomes cool.

Hues can be combined in an infinite number of ways to produce warm and cool colors. Mixing complementary hues can change the warmth or coolness of any color.

Here are examples of warm and cool affinity within a shot. Contrast and affinity of warm/cool can occur within a shot, from shot to shot, or from sequence to sequence.

Extension

Color extension deals with a color's brightness and physical proportion in relation to other colors.

The saturated hues are shown in color and gray tones that correspond to the actual brightness of the saturated color above it. Yellow is the brightest saturated color and blue/magenta, the darkest.

Here is a picture in color, and then the same picture in black and white. Notice how the tonal range is revealed.

Don't confuse tone with color. A saturated color might look intense, but the audience's attention will probably be drawn to brightness first. A saturated yellow will always attract an audience's attention, because it is not only saturated, but also extremely bright. A saturated magenta, because it is so dark, will tend to be ignored. As any color darkens, its ability to attract the eye decreases.

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