Chromatic Circle


The color wheel is used to make graphic representations on a circle with the six colors reflected in the decomposition of the visible light of the solar spectrum that are ordered as follows: purple, red, yellow, green, cyan blue, dark blue . The mixture of these colors can be symbolized by a circle of 12 colors, executing a mixture with a different color and thus a chromatic circle can be made with different colors.

What is color wheel

The chromatic color wheel is nothing more than a fairly orderly circular representation of colors, although of course, they are organized according to the tone or hue they possess, so that both primary colors and their derivatives are represented.

It is usually used in subtractive models of colors, that is, in pictorial and artistic fields, but it is also possible to use it in additive models, that is, lighting.

The term circle comes from the Latin circulus, whose meaning refers to a fence. On the other hand, the chromatic term comes from the Greek khromatikos and refers to a musical space or, failing that, to color. By joining both terms, a fence of colors remains as meaning, that is, a chromatic circle of colors.

According to its conceptualization, these can be represented at a degraded or staggered level, in the case of the last element, the number of colors will always depend on the author, but generally it is spoken of between 12, 24 and 48 colors.

Characteristics of the color wheel

Within the multiple characteristics of this fence, there is the hexagram, that is, a star-shaped figure that is placed on the chromatic circle of colors, in which the number of peaks that the star has, will be the number of colors that exist, then the star will show the complementary colors.

Another feature is the additive color model, which is a method that is transmitted by direct light from a lighting source. Opposite colors are those that are opposite each other. While the mold for pigmentation mixtures is the subtractive color model.

The synthesis explains the hypothesis of the mixture of paints, inks and natural colors, in which they make colors that aspire the wavelength and reflect others in which there is approximate reciprocity between the color mold “RGB”, its acronym in English for “Red, Green, Blue” and the color mold “CMYK”, which is an acronym for “Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key”.

Color wheel colors

Color wheel - Crayons as an example of the color wheel

The number of colors will always depend on the type of fence that is used, so it is necessary that in this aspect we talk about the chromatic circle with names. In the first place, there is the traditional one, that is, the basic RYB color wheel, which is characterized by being a wheel that has six colors, three of them are primary (blue, red and yellow), while the rest are secondary ( purple, orange and green).

Then there is the natural wheel, which was discovered by Isaac Newton, explaining that if it is possible to distribute a segment of natural light within a color wheel, the order of the colors provides a color wheel as the only result.

From this definition, new color organizations appeared, these are additives and subtractives.

In the case of the additive model (RGB), it is a proposal in the creation of new colors by adding other spectral colors, which will result in a white hue thanks to the sum of all the colors. In this case, the primary colors would be green, red, and blue, while the secondary colors would be cyan, yellow, and magenta.

Then there is the subtractive model, which has the proposal of creating a new color thanks to the subtraction of tones, this would result in the absence of light, that is, black. Magenta, cyan and yellow are part of the primary color wheel, while the secondary colors are green, blue and red.

  • Color Schemes: A full color wheel is a tool and as such has different methods of color matching. The first method is monochromatic and is characterized by the use of a single color, but playing with its different shades. Then there is the analogous method, which is based on the combination of the closest colors on the wheel, for example, if there is yellow, this is used together with orange, which is the closest color.

In the combinations color wheel, there is the complementary method, which uses the colors that are opposite on the wheel, a basic example of this can be violet and orange, which are in distant locations.

Finally, the method of three equidistant colors, that is, use three colors that are in the form of an equilateral triangle, for example, yellow, blue and red.

Color Wheel Applications

As a general rule, the color wheel is used as a practical classification method for each of the colors that exist, however, its usefulness will always be reflected by the links of contrast and harmony between the primary and secondary hues. tertiary It is thanks to this that designers take this wheel as a basic tool to execute different combinations.

color wheel images

In this aspect, a gallery will be shown with images of the different color wheels that exist, among them are a chromatic circle for coloring, as well as the chromatic circle for makeup.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chromatic Wheel

What is the color wheel?

It is a wheel that organizes colors according to their shades.

How to make a color wheel?

First of all, you have to make a circle, then add the primary colors, which are used to create the secondary and tertiary ones because they are the result of combinations.

What is the color wheel for?

It works as a tool to combine colors.

What are the colors on the color wheel?

The primary colors (yellow, blue and red), secondary (green, purple and orange) and tertiary (intermediate colors between the primary and secondary hues).

What are the levels of the color wheel?

They are the classification of colors, that is, primary, secondary and tertiary.