The easiest way to pick (non-professional) color schema is to use free on-line instruments, like https://color.adobe.com/ or many others.

If I choose 0 degree, calculator set complementary color to 137 degree. If I choose 100 degree calculator set complementary color is 235 degree.

I expect simple relation: (base + 180) mod 360 = complementary degree. But this is not the case.

I make decision that hue is not linearly distributed across 360 degree in HSL/HSB/HSV color representation.

Am I right?

How can I make complementary, triad, analogous colors in term of Hue, Saturation and Value which correspond to usual color wheel?


1 Answer 1


The HSV colour space has little relation to how humans perceive colour. If you're looking to model colour relationship in a quantitative way, you will need to use a different colour space.

The CIE Lab* colour space tries to account for some of the non-linear effects that occur in the eye. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lab_color_space

Paper by 53 encountered a similar problem with the colour mixer in their "Paper" app. They ended up using an algorithm involving 6 partially-correlated dimensions describing the colour - search "Ein Beitrag zur Optik der Farbanstriche". http://www.fastcompany.com/3002676/open-company/magical-tech-behind-paper-ipads-color-mixing-perfection

Generally - when working with colour it can be very difficult to create linear transformations when the human visual system is a very non-linear one.

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