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Color Wheel Basics

The color wheel shows the relationship of colors. The complementary colors sit directly opposite each other on the color wheel chart.

The most widely used basic color wheel starts with three primary colors: yellow, red, and blue. You can't mix any other colors to achieve a primary color.
color wheel primary colors

primary colors

Next are the secondary colors, orange, green and purple. When you mix the primary colors of this basic color wheel with one another, you get the secondary colors. These appear between the two primary colors that form them.
color wheel secondary colors

secondary colors

The tertiary colors are obtained when mixing a primary and a secondary color together and are red-orange, red-violet, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-violet and blue-green.
basic color wheel

tertiary or intermediate colors

Every color has a temperature that is described as warm or cool. Warm colors are from the red and yellow side of the wheel while the cool colors are on the blue and green side.

TERMS TO KNOW
Value: The lightness or darkness of a color.
Hue: Another name for color
hue

Tint: Color + White
tint

Shade: Color + Black
shade

Tone: Color + Grey

CLICK HERE FOR A DOWNLOADABLE COLOR WHEEL CHART

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