How movies manipulate emotions with color >> And why Teal and Orange
For review, complementary colors are:
Red and green;
Yellow and purple;
Blue and orange.
One of the rules we learn as painters is that color opposites cancel each other out when mixed. In other words, when we combine a pair of complementary colors on our palette, the original or parent colors lose their intensity or chroma. They mix into a black or brown.
When you study each of these chromatic scales, you can see how just a small amount of the complementary color starts to de-saturate the parent color; the intensity of the color or chroma immediately begins to decrease when its complement is added.
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The big change that digitization made was it made it much easier to apply a single color scheme to a bunch of different scenes at once. The more of a movie you can make look good with a single scheme, the less work you have to do. Also, as filmmakers are bringing many different film formats together in a single movie, applying a uniform color scheme helps tie them together.
One way to figure out what will look good is to figure out what the common denominator is in the majority of your scenes. And it turns out that actors are in most scenes. And actors are usually human. And humans are orange, at least sort of!
Most skin tones fall somewhere between pale peach and dark, dark brown, leaving them squarely in the orange segment of any color wheel. Blue and cyan are squarely on the opposite side of the wheel.
Unlike other pairs of complementary colors, fiery orange and cool blue are strongly associated with opposing concepts — fire and ice, earth and sky, land and sea, day and night, invested humanism vs. elegant indifference, good old fashioned explosions vs. futuristic science stuff. It’s a trope because it’s used on purpose, and it does something.
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