Thursday, January 27, 2011

The colors, Duke! The colors!

Awesomeness of my post title aside, I read a very interesting post over at PBackWriter the other day. The author makes color palettes to help her visualize each character, setting, scene, etc, which I had never thought of doing before. It's interesting to think about how colors stimulate emotions, like the red corrections on a returned school paper create a visceral reaction because we instinctively think of blood, and thus harm. But blue and pale yellow, on the other hand, are considered very calming colors.

Whenever I am brainstorming characters, I search online and find an image of an actor, or anyone really, that I make the mascot for that character. It helps me think of the little things, like how a character hunches their shoulders and swings their arms when they walk when I can see a picture of a similar person with a slouch. I had previously cast this character, the lead Snatcher from the latest Harry Potter film, as Eamon.

This is the clearest picture I could find of the character, but I think he looks much more like Eamon while he is sauntering around in the movie. But the layers of clothing, boots, and gloves on his hands are exactly what I imagined him to look like. (As a side note, way too many of my male characters end up looking like Daniel Craig.)

I plugged this picture into the color palette generator at DeGraeve's, which lets you create a palette of colors from an image URL, to test Lynn Viehl's method of paletting (a word?). These were the colors returned to me:

and of course black. Not very interesting, and I don't think of Eamon when I see them. So I went to DeGraeve's Color Picker, and started plugging in some of the HTML color codes to see what colors would turn up.

It was actually kindof difficult to work with, at least for what I am trying to make. If I was trying to paint my room, then I got set after set of perfectly coordinated colors that would have completely rocked. But I'm looking for colors that each mean something, and if one of the colors is the mud brown color of his hair and the other is a steel blue color for his eyes, those two colors are totally not in the same color family nor are they related in any way, but they mean something to me. (Although it was a lot of fun to click around and see what colors came up.) By going to this code site, I was able to pick and choose more colors for specific purposes. I like this site because there are several ways to pick your color, and it also gives you information about HTML coding, which I think is super interesting. (There is also this code site if you are looking for something a bit more streamlined.)

I came up with this color palette for Eamon:

which seems a little generic to me, there are all just dark colors, but it screams more "Eamon" to me than the first set does. But I feel very unsettled when I look at it, because I know it isn't TRULY Eamon. The green is too Chrismas-y, the grey is too blue and girly, and the palette needs more black and grey but that is too hard to show with the black background of my blog. I think this is a cool concept, and I know that when I finally hit that perfect combination of colors it will help me a lot and be a great visual aid, but who know how long it will take me to hit that perfect combination... This isn't something I would want to spend hours on, but I know it would take that much effort to get it right. I'd like to keep trying with the color generator, because I think that has the right potential. In any case, I was entertained for an evening, and I do really like the idea behind it.

Funny story, Lynn Viehl posted the blog on the same day my boss told me I must be color blind. I'm not. His sweater was totally purple.

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