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Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider

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Choosing a Color Scheme

As mentioned earlier, if you’re picking a color scheme for your project, you usually begin by choosing a main (or base) color. This color can come from a piece of art that you’re starting with (like a logo or photo) or it can be a color that you want to build your design around. Once you know the main color, you can use a few simple rules to find other colors that go well with it. In this section, you’ll learn how to use a color wheel to pick a color scheme based on four popular color scheme harmonies (color combinations proven by color experts to go well together). But don’t worry: You’ll also learn where to find tools to automate this process in case picking colors manually isn’t your cup of tea.

Note

The rule of thirds you learned about back on Cropping Images applies to colors, too. Imagine splitting the colors in your painting or design into two categories: dominant and accent. You can think of the dominant color as the color of the environment in the image (like white in a photo of a field of snow); it sets the mood of your piece. The accent color is the color of the focal point (like a brown tree in the field of snow). If you shoot for using 2/3 dominant color and 1/3 accent color, you can’t go wrong!

Using a Color Wheel

Let’s say you’ve gotten your hot little hands on a color wheel. Great! Now, what the heck do you do with it? For starters, you need to pick the main color you want the color scheme to revolve around and then find it on the color wheel. ...

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