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  • Lesson 3: Glossary of Color Terms

    Primary Colors

    The three colors (red, yellow, blue) from which the twelve full strength colors of the color wheel originated. 

     red yellow blue

    Secondary Colors

    Colors created by mixing primary colors. Primary red combined with primary yellow produces secondary orange. Primary yellow plus primary blue yields secondary green. Primary blue added to primary red produces secondary violet.  

    orange green violet

    Intermediate Colors (or Tertiary) Colors

    Colors created by mixing equal parts of a primary color and a secondary color. Examples of intermediate colors: 

    yelloworange yellowgreen bluegreen     blueviolet redviolet redorange

    Hue
    The name of a color. Technically, a hue is defined by the dominant wave length of light reflected by an object. Many colors are created by adding black, white or gray to any given hue. 

    blue 
     
    Tint
    A saturated color plus white. Pastel colors are examples of tints. 

    blue color white tint

    Tone

    A fully-saturated hue plus a value of gray. Tones are often referred to as low intensity or grayed colors. 

    blue color grey tone

    Shade

    A mixture of a fully-saturated hue with black.

    blue color black shade

    Value

    The lightness or darkness of hue. Judging a color's value is based on the amount of light a hue reflects. High value colors reflect a lot of white (without changing its hue). The average eye can distinguish about 40 variations of a color's value.

    Saturation

    Saturation describes the purity of a color or its intensity. A hue in its purest form is at maximum chroma. The more gray a hue contains, the weaker its chroma.

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