4 Replies Latest reply on Sep 6, 2007 5:41 AM by jacobrus

    Why RYB?

      Hello. Sorry about my English. I've just found Kuler today and it seems me a wonderful resource, but I was checking for instance the triadic scheme and I found Kuler works on basis of the Item's color theory, that it is long passed away. I know that this model is still very spread in the community of designs and artists. My suggestion is that Kuler should allow to change the color scheme basis model to RGB, (where for instance the secondary triad is red, blue and green, and the primary one is cyan, magenta and yellow).
      Thanks in advance for your repply.
        • 1. Re: Why RYB?
          Sami@Adobe Adobe Employee
          Hello, thanks for the post. This question has come up before.

          kuler's color wheel is based on the Live Color color wheel in Illustrator CS3, which uses a red-yellow-blue color wheel. This wheel corresponds to the color wheel that many artists are familiar with where red/green, blue, orange, and magenta/yellow are complements. The RYB wheel was invented by Johannes Itten, a Swiss color and art theorist. The color wheel does not correspond with the different types of color receptors in the human eye and instead reflects how pigments are mixed when painting. Adding a color's complement with this wheel mutes the color.

          Here are some references with more info:

          • 2. Re: Why RYB?
            It is worth noting that all three of the references cited quite clearly disagree with the claim that the RYB wheel "reflects how pigments are mixed when painting".

            It's probably true that many artists may be more familiar with the RYB wheel and perhaps this is an argument to provide it as an option. But to not provide RGB as the default is just contributing to the continuing miseducation of a whole new generation of artists.
            • 3. Re: Why RYB?
              barva Level 1
              With regard to RGB being the default and "a whole new generation of artists" being miseducated: The aesthetic perception of color is about more than just scientific complements a la Munsell or CIE. Our perception of colors as "working together" or "not working together" is a brain-based phenomenon, i.e., a lot of processing goes on. At that level, the real primaries are very likely to be RYGB anyway, at least insofar as naming colors goes.
              For making aesthetic choices, the RYB wheel functions so well precisely because it takes into account the overriding factor in this context: color temperature (in the artist's, not the photographer's sense). The RYB wheel opens up the warm area of the spectrum and deemphasizes the cool area. To a large extent, this accords with color perception, as well: we're able to make much finer distinctions in the warm part of the spectrum.
              Compare the RGB wheel to the RYB, and you'll see how superior RYB is in this regard: it comes very close to matching every warm hue with a complementary cool hue.
              In any event, as I've said before in this forum, we might have at least a modicum of respect for the hundreds of years of artistic tradition behind the RYB wheel. It's likely those artists had some vague idea what they were on about -- and I suspect that a lot of the RGB-oriented lobbying originates with people who came to design from computer science, rather than vice-versa.
              • 4. Why RYB?
                jacobrus Level 1
                Note that various RYB wheels were in use centuries, if not millennia, before Itten.

                Barva: Color is far richer and more complex than you make it out to be, and your statements about our visual acuity by hue range and color temperature are misleading and vastly oversimplified, if not completely false.

                As for artists, most of the "RYB lobbying" comes from a few theorists in the 17th-19th centuries. Da Vinci for instance wrote of RYGB primaries circa 1500, and many artists have long made palettes outside of RYB primaries. Color science for the last century or so has mostly discredited the RYB model, and it is as far as I can tell mostly artists' unwillingness to question assumptions and learn new tricks that has allowed it to cling on into this millennium.

                I suggest < http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/wcolor.html> as an excellent and extremely comprehensive resource on the subject, perhaps starting with this page: < http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color2.html>.