For my project (game) im trying to create a simple color palette of ~12 100% saturation colors and use those colors aswell with different saturation-shades-tints for less important elements. (goal: harmonic, not overwhelming)
While trying different tools and their analogous feature i have noticed the results are horrendous and the reason for this is the use of the rgb color mode.

If you look at the rgb color gradient wheel you will notice it contains just a very small amount of red,orange,yellow but a big amount of blue,green, violet. Very bad distribution of colors which results in uneven and unharmonic result when using the analogous feature (graps a color every 30°).

CMYK is almost the same like rgb.

I tried the same with the ryb color wheel, the result was a lot better. If you look at the color gradient wheel you will notice the distribution is better, more warm colors (almost 50/50 to cold colors). But the analogous feature still did not provide me with 100% fitting colors in my opinion. The colors side by side look good but every second step it starts to get unharmonic.

Next i tried CIE LAB and CIE UV, but it looks like analogous feature does not work well with it as atleast on encycolorpedia.com you cant get a whole round and dont get back to your base color once changed to one analogous.

I think small modification to ryb primaries could do the trick, but not sure.

Can anyone help me on this topic or advice me a tool to calculate colors which 100% perfectly fits ?

Note: the ryb gradient wheel might not be 100% correct (did not found a better one). enter image description here (the ryb gradient wheel might not be 100% correct)

1 Answer 1


Pick the colors one by one.

Although 12 is divisible by 3 and 6 (3 primary colors and 6 counting secondary) therefore would be easy to define just a middle color, there is no way to define which colors you need, or want for that matter.

Based on your examples, you are choosing a color wheel without variations in saturation or brightness.

The color wheel is not a color "wheel". It is a section of a color solid of 3 dimensions. Is white and black allowed? Some gray? Pastel colors? Dark ones?

For example. The pure green (#00FF00) IMHO is not pleasant, so you could simply choose a darker green, let's say #00CC00, or the pure yellow (#FFFF00) is too yellow, So how about less green and a bit warmer tone #FFCC00.

But that is totally relative. We do not know if your name is in the forest, where you need more tones of green, or under the sea, which probably requires more blue. Colors are defined not only by the environment but also by style. A great example is the retro 80s look with black, magenta, and cyan colors as a base palette.

The tendency to try to automate the process, to let a mathematical relationship decide my colors, is probably a reflection of insecurity in taking personal decisions. Take decisions based on what you need. Start with your own 3 base colors, then the other 3, and then another 6. They do not need to be the exact middle color of another if you do not need them.

Here are two color wheels, only "balanced" by eye. Both have 100% saturation.

enter image description here

I left the center colors as a reference to show that you can just define the position of the primary colors wherever you want and then put the graduation of colors in the middle.

The proportion of colors does not need to be linear, they can be logarithmic.

In the second wheel, you have the Green opposite to Red. You could then say that I am using the Lab color model. So that could be a starting point to make the palette balanced in a different way, with more oranges and colors around the yellow, which are the most differentiable adjacent colors.

  • The problem i personally see here in the second wheel for example is the green does not fit very well to the cyan and the pink does not fit very well to the red. Another issue is when you try to put colors side by side which arent directly left or to right (bright orange to green, pink to dark orange...). I think the only way to make all colors fit perfectly together is by calculating it on a better base beside rgb/rby/cmyk/cia. All of them are not created for the reason to find color harmonies. Feb 1 at 16:02
  • 2
    Change them as you need. Color harmony is a human experience, not a mathematical construct.
    – Rafael
    Feb 1 at 16:27
  • @user5441400 color theory is, to quote captain Barbosa, "more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules." If you want rules you need to look into color science, but that does not help you to select colors.
    – joojaa
    Feb 1 at 16:47
  • Theese days color harmony theory is the worst piece of science i came across in my entire life and subjectivly picking a few colors is something i will definitly wont do. How hard can it be for science to find 3 primary colors which create a balanced wheel. Feb 1 at 16:56
  • If you need 3 primary colors the choice is very direct. No one is discussing it. A balanced wheel is subjective. If you will not pick colors, simply use whatever an automated model gives you. I do not see the conundrum. You can choose from RGB-based colors or Lab or Munsel, RBY is an old color model I must add. But if you like it, that is your subjetive right to do so.
    – Rafael
    Feb 1 at 17:54

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