Friday, May 15, 2009

The Art of Color, Demystified

Like most of you, my computer is chock-a-block with files of favorite images that I've culled from various websites. I turn to them whenever I need to be creatively galvanized, when I want to be reminded of the design elements I love or when I'm just craving a jolt of style. When it comes to colors, though, it can be a bit tricky to pull a specific shade or hue off the screen and onto a curtain, couch, wall or pillow. 

Until now.

That's because yesterday I stumbled upon www.colorhunter.com. Just upload an image onto their website and they instantly analyze it and break it down into its five most recognizable color components.  

Warning: Extreme caution must be used with this application if you are a design junkie. Addiction may rapidly occur and result in severe sleep loss, hunger, dehydration and cranky spouses.

Here are some color palettes I created when I should have been eating/sleeping/lavishing attention on my family.

1.
("Farm at Watendlath", Dora Carrington, 1921)


2.
(Illustration of Jackie Kennedy in Jaipur by Jacqueline Duheme)


3.
(A tartan-clad, red-tressed Linda Evangelista )


4.
(Ruthie Sommers home, courtesy of the late Domino)


5.
(Morrissey and Edith Sitwell, from here)


Cool, huh? Colorhunter also offers a million color palettes you can search through by hue, category or even by typing in a hex color code (if you're thinking, "A what code?", click here). 

Try it. But clear your schedule first.

22 comments:

C.T. said...

You have saved my day!!! THANK YOU...coming monday we need to give the painters the exact colour. I'll send an E-mail right NOW to my hubby, so he knows he needs to take care of the kids till monday...I'm off to colorhunter.com...X, C.

two hippos said...

What a fasinating site, I'm off there now to have a wander. I'm sure he dogs won't mind their walk later!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Oh my!! I'm not sure what I like more... the Image in #1 or the colour palette it produces.. I have to go and play on that site. Thanks for the link.

pve design said...

Funny, I already do this on my own. I am always and have always had the ability to hunt down and scout out the colors. I see in full living color.
So many years of studying color theory~ I'd be lost without my sense to separate and mix color. People tell me "You are good!" I just can look right away and analyze people by color. "You are shades of gold, amber and a rich ruddy red, with green undertones..."
pve

hello gorgeous said...

That is an excellent tool! I am not even going to look at it yet, though. I am too busy today (and shouldn't even be blogging!). tsk tsk

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

what a great way to source colors.
Neat site, will check out it in more detail this weekend!

catbird said...

BRILLIANT. are there bigger caps somewhere on this keyboard?? BRILLIANT!!!!!!

Laura [What I Like] said...

God Linda Evangelista is fabulous. Love that color palette that matches the Jackie Kennedy illustration!

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

Thanks for the head's up on a great website....but as far as the "hex color code" go....I am still so confused.

my mind was abused

Tricia said...

Ok, I think you should PhotoShop your head over Linda's and seriously consider the entire outfit for the '09 holiday season. It is so you! Those boots!!!!!!!

Style Court said...

Love what you did with the Duheme illustration! And the bathroom Ruthie designed!

hmstrjam said...

sad they missed the red from the tartan and plaid book! It makes the whole image!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

hmstrjm: I know, it's ALL about the red. But I think it's like squinting at a painting (see PVE's post): Colorhunter provides you with the broad swaths of color and then you have to fill in the details yourself...

A Super Dilettante said...

Really fascinating! It's incredible that you use Carrington's painting as an example. I once visited the village of Ham where Lytton Strachey and Dora Carrington had their house, called Ham Spray. It's just like the painting. It's so charming and idyllic. You can see surrounding downs and you can imagine the countryside where Carrington would go for her ride.

em said...

Love this, and have linked to your blog from mine.
Margaretha

Anzu said...

Love the palettes you have created and the website sounds great. I won't look just yet - as I have a big work deadline looming and I know what I'm like!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ooh. I want to hurry over and try Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights!!!

What a treat!!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

ok ... that is way cool and so much fun!

and yes, i have avoided 'work' for ... oh two hours now ... cuz i just had to try it out on a few of my own pics. it is interesting the hues it picks up ...

thanks so much for sharing Lisa ~ i really love your blog and will be visiting daily to see what wonderful bits you have to inspire ...

cheers,
prairiegirl

hellkitefly said...

Umm, sorry to correct you, but it is STEVE Morrissey. Some music fans may consider your blunder blasphemy of the highest order. But I love your site!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Hellkitefly: I'm blushing with embarrassment. I love both Morrisseys: Steve AND Paul (from Warhol's Factory days)!

jason said...

Thanks for the tip!

If you're interested in converting RGB hex codes to paint swatches, you may want to check out this site I stumbled upon:

http://www.easyrgb.com/index.php?X=SEEK#Result

It makes the conversion for lots of different paint brands. It will also let you calibrate the site to suit your monitor, so that's worth doing if you want to make sure you're not surprised when you go to the store for swatches.

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