CHAPTER EIGHT: The Art and Science of Color 227
In storytelling, it can be helpful to occasionally move away from the most
obvious color meanings. For example, if you wanted to make a robot look
evil or threatening, the most obvious cliché might be to make its eyes glow
red. Chances are, however, that your audience has already seen that done
before, so you might try something fresher, and have your robot do some-
thing evil without fl ashing a red light.
Color and Depth
Often people perceive cool colors as being farther away, and hot colors as
being nearby. For example, even with no other depth cues, most people will
nd it easier to see the left side of Figure 8.13 as a frame with a hole in the
middle, and see the right side as being a small box in front of a larger square.
There are different theories about why this happens. One reason could be
that, in natural environments, many subjects are seen against blue sky or
green foliage backgrounds, so people naturally consider blue- and green-
colored areas to be “background.” People might also focus more attention
in nature on things with warmer tones, such as a red piece of fruit, a wound,
or the fl esh tones of a person or animal, than on colors of foliage or sky.
Another reason that blue may appear to be farther away is due to chromatic
aberration in people’s eyes. When light is refracted through the lens of a
human eye, different wavelengths are refracted at different angles. To correct
for the difference, human eyes must focus to a slightly closer distance to see
a red subject than to see a blue subject in the same position.
[Figure 8.13]
All other factors being
equal, red tends to appear
closer to us than blue.

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