Advertisement


Why do yellow and red look good together in this photo?


Question

I've been looking into complementary colors and appealing color schemes, and I couldn't find any which suggested that this shade of yellow would look good with this shade of red. However, the picture below from Tarantino's Death Proof looks amazing (to my taste...).

What is the principal that ties these two colors together? And if possible, I would love to see more examples to demonstrate it.

enter image description here

2014/04/13
1
8
4/13/2014 10:47:00 PM

Accepted Answer

I think the genius/expertise in that photo is perspective, not color. The viewer's eye is intentionally drawn right to her torso. The door, the mirror, the feet, the hair, her face, the building, and the billboard all use the middle of her torso as the focal point.

Every aspect of that photo makes Ms. Winestead the focal point.

enter image description here

The color use between the red and the yellow are high contrast. High contrast makes colors work well together in many aspects. You can use online contrast tools to check the contrast between two colors to verify there's enough difference to make readability/legibility useful. Using the deepest read and the deepest yellow, you can see here that the contrast ratio is workable.

If you convert to values (greyscale) and bump the contrast, you'll see that the interior of the car (red) is a value "hole" in the image and Ms. Winestead is emerging from that empty spot, further making her the focal point.

enter image description here

The use of the "grabber yellow" is used in combination with her outfit to further set her as the focal point. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the color of her uniform in the film was specifically selected due to the color of the mustang. The eye will naturally see the surrounding yellow then the yellow spot in the middle of a field of red. Any bright color at the edges, a field of dark color, then the same bright color in the center will draw the eye to the center spot.

enter image description here

Color is only used as an additional solidifying aspect. The entire orchestration of everything in the image is what is masterful in my opinion. Simply thinking, "The red and yellow work well here" is not giving enough credit to everything else going on and that same yellow against that same red could easily fail in many other uses.

Side note.. I've got that same Mach 1 in my garage, but with a black interior and no cheerleaders. :)

2014/04/16
8
4/16/2014 8:51:00 AM