Wednesday, May 29, 2013

So What is Chroma?

So here I am throwing out lots of “color” words – as if working in glass isn’t hard enough.  Color theory is so important to art – I’d even go so far as to say it’s the “everything” if you are working in color.  If you can’t get a color to work right you will never get the depth you want in your work and it covers just about everything, even jewelry (a subject near and dear to my heart).  See a previous post on thinking about metals as color.
The chroma or saturation of a color is a measure of how intense it is. Think of it as “pure, bright color”. Remember how I mentioned I wanted that creamsicle?  I needed an orange that was a true bright hue.  Then, chemicals willing, when I added a white to it I would get a tint of that orange that looked like a creamsicle.   What happened when I used a variety of oranges is what I photographed.  These are the colors of some the thick stringers I pulled as experiments.  Pretty but not exactly orange.  Depending on whether the orange I chose as my base color was already diluted with a gray or another color greatly influenced the outcome of my color mixing. 
But Aren’t Value and Chroma the Same Thing?
Color mixing would be easier if they were, but they’re not. With chroma you’re considering how pure or intense the hue is, whereas with value you’re not considering what the hue is at all, just how light or dark it is.
And if that weren’t enough to think about how about the word – Chromaticity.  Be sure to use this one is a sentence the next time you see a Jackson Pollack painting.  “Uh, honey – I think the chromaticity of that red in Jack’s painting just makes it, don’t you?” LOL
Chromaticity: Highly chromatic colors contain maximum hue with little or no impurities such as white, black or gray.   The degree to which a color is free from being mixed with other colors is a good indication of its chromaticity.  Often referred to as "colorfulness," chroma is the amount of identifiable hue in a color.

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