colours - value

How much light is reflected from a surface will determine its level of value

Low Value colours are in the shadows.

When light reflects at a lower level the value is darker. When the light reflects at a higher rate the value is lighter.

This landscapes shows shadows and light areas.


There is often confusion between value (shade or darkness) and chroma (intensity or saturation)

The diagramme above shows the high chroma/ high value colour is really saturated and in the bright light. The weak chroma/ low value has little colour and is in the shade.

When you tone a colour (add a contrasting colour) it becomes greyer, and looks darker. Another way to create a lower value is to add black paint. High value will have high reflections of light.

On a cloudy day there is low light and little reflected light. It is a low value day!

This throw is in the sunlight, and is showing high value colours (and high chroma)

The same throw in the shadow has low value colours

This throw has high value as it reflects a lot of light

The same throw in the shadows looks darker - the sequins are reflecting some light.

Darker matt surfaces reflect less light and have a lower value

Glenise has used high value colours in the sunlight, and low in the shadows.

See more about Glenise by clicking on her images.

A matt black wall will have a low value, add a contrasting high value painting for a focal element.

Leonie contrasts the bird in the shadows with a reflective sky.

See more about Leonie by clicking on her images.

A pink wall will have a low value in the shadow, and high value in the light.

Jeanene contrasts the trees in the shadows against the early morning sky.

See more about Jeanene by clicking on her images.

The colours look darker in the shadows.

On a grey day colours have a low value.

Some mood boards with high and low value colours to inspire...