Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Understanding Colour Temperature

An article I read on colour temperature and correct colour temperature (CCT) was very interesting. It states, colour temperature, known to artists refer to something being cool or warm in temperature, what we associate those things with for example are cool things being ice, water, shadows. Cool things typically are blues and green. Whereas warm things like fire and sunshine tend to be orange and red in colour.

The article states correct colour temperature is in relation to light and how we see the object. For example, we know a candle is warm and has a warm colour temperature and has a 1800 K rating. . K or Kelvin refers to a unit of temperature and is described in degrees. In comparison to the low Kelvin rating candlelight has, daylight which is seen to be stronger in light though looks cooler than candle light, is actually hotter.

Interesting to know the difference. How does it effect your art? In my studio I have fluoro white lights to paint under, but I have a large studio door allowing natural (yellow warm) light to come through. Notice the difference when you photograph your artwork? I use different settings on my DSLR Camera. I usually take a photo on 'Auto' and then on Program under 'Florescent' lighting. I then compare on the computer screen the two images with the painting in front of me to see which looks closest to the true colour. For fun sometimes I use Program: 'Cloudy' or 'Tungsten' settings to see the difference. The picture turns out very yellow. I also gage the colour by looking at other things in the photo composition in my studio, e.g. walls, floor, or even place a white sheet of paper around the edge of the painting when I photograph to help access the truest colour of the painting.

Check out the article here Artists Network - What Is Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)?

1 comment:

  1. Kelvin colours - Nooooooooo! Reminds me of having to memorise the Temp chart for the Photography uni exam - frightening stuff!

    In most of my past studios I have had overhead fluoro lighting - in the current one I have weedy little downlights, so invested in DayLight Co. artists lamps (cool blue) for correct daylight colours. I only use the lamps at night or on very overcast days, to to take indoor photographs (using reflectors). Natural Daylight (south facing if I can swing it) is by far my most preferred light source.

    Light! It's the Holy Grail isn't it?




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