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Tip 2: Understand Hue, Saturation, and Value (HSV)

Hue, saturation, and value (abbreviated HSV) are the three components of any color you can see-just these three, always these three, and only these three. In case you've forgotten what you learned in Color Theory 101, Figure 1 shows the definitions.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Definitions of hue, saturation, and value.

Finding just the right variation between a palette's specific hues, levels of saturation, and values is key to the development of any combination of colors. This creative work is truly instinctual, and every piece of design and art we color calls for an approach unique to that project. The two best ways of acquiring the intangibles necessary to develop strong and true palette-building instincts are observation (as I mentioned earlier) and practice.

Computers make practicing with color easier than ever, allowing us to explore different color applications for our visual creations. With software, we can digitally alter the hue, saturation, and value of individual colors up through entire palettes. Investigate your options whenever you're adding colors to a layout, a logo, a graphic, or an illustration. Let your instinct and intellect guide you toward the most effective and attractive outcomes-and, if possible, consider asking for the opinions of experienced artists.

A number of digital color-selection and color-modification aids are available within programs like Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Illustrator has a particularly effective helper called the Color Guide that presents users with several variations of any selected color-these variations include the color's hue, saturation, and value.

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