I received this fine query in my e-mail today, and I think I will go off on a tangent about color. I will start by answering this one about hue.
I have a question. What exactly is Hue? I have a setting on my photo editor that is hue but I don't understand what it is referring to. I understand chroma and value, but how is hue different? I looked it up on Wikipedia and got " “the degree to which a stimulus can be described as similar to or different from stimuli that are described as red, green, blue, and yellow" huh?
I am going to speak about hue from an artists perspective, you are on your own with that photo editor. Hue is one of the three characteristics of color. In the early twentieth century Albert Munsell devised a system for rationally notating color using three characteristics. They are hue, chroma and value. There were a number of systems devised before his, but Munsell's has proved enduringly useful, and is the standard system in the painting world. Today there are a number of other systems that are used in printing and video displays. I will restrict my discussion to the Munsell system as it is the only one I know much about.
I was taught long ago to think of color and describe it in the terms hue, value and chroma by Ives Gammell, I didn't learn until years later that I was using the Munsell system. This system of color can be carried into enormous complexity and formulae, and no doubt some of you reading this are expert in that, I am not. James Gurney over at Gurney Journey IS and has a new book coming out on color theory and its uses for artists, until you can get that book, his blog has acres of posts on color. James goes into far more depth than I intend to.
But I do know enough to give an explanation that will satisfy the needs of most of the readers of the blog. I have a whole shelf of books on color and color wheels and boxes of color aid paper and don't find them all that useful. But you might, some artists use this stuff a lot. I work more intuitively in color.
Hue is like the "name" of the color. Red, yellow and blue are hues, there are subdivisions between them,(infinite actually) so green-yellow is a hue, as is violet, or red-violet. But all of those words are sort of fuzzy, and Munsells system is a way of our knowing precisely which color we are talking about. The Munsell system is a way of imposing order on color because of the difficulty in defining colors. Below is a diagram of the Munsell system.
As you can see the system is three dimensional. The outer ring pictured describes the hues. I will talk about the other axises in later posts. This three dimensional aspect is describing what artists call "color space". Within this three dimensional space one can plot colors accurately and describe their exact characteristics.
There is another way that artists refer to color and that is as tints and tones and shades. A tint is any color plus white, a tone is any color plus gray and a tone is any color plus black. A hue is none of these. It is the unalloyed color itself. So a hue is the root from which a tint, tone or shade might be mixed. The enormous majority of those sample paint chips you see at the paint store are tints, tones and shades. Artists don't use those decorator titles like organ meat violet or desert sunset, they use the Munsell system or the names of the pigments on their palettes. Munsell didn't invent color, he mapped it.
I will return tomorrow with more. Jeez it's hot!
I will be holding a three day workshop at the Bass Harbor Campground in Bass Harbor, Maine. the 25-26-27th of September. That's Saturday-Monday. We will paint outside and I will teach beginners to experts the art of outdoor landscape painting.
Here is a link to where you can sign up.