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how to desaturate colors (red)

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So I have a concept for a mini but I want desaturated colors. I mostly have bright colors.

Would it be correct to mix in some greens to brown it up? How do I keep it reading red? Is it ok to still have some of the bright but use it as a highlight?

Looking for links to stuff you've painted, free videos that address this, or an explanation of process that will still let me experiment a bit.

Thanks for sharing your experience/knowledge.

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Adding green will desaturate the red. Because it absorbs the wavelengths that red reflects, it will also take the red toward black ("chromatic black"). (Note that some light greens or light reds will have some white pigment in them, which will cause the color to trend toward gray rather than black.)


Adding a neutral (black, gray, or white) to red will also desaturate it. Which you choose will depend on whether you also want to lighten or darken the resulting color. If you want a similar value but less saturated, start with a gray that is similar in value to the red that you are using.


Note that in artist terminology, color + black = "shade", color + white = "tint", and color + gray = "tone", which might help you to find something specific to your needs.

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Doug's right.


So saturation is a function of how we see the color in terms of wavelength, pigment density, pigment choices and paint additives. What red are you using?  If you have a picture of it, we might be able to help you choose how to beat it into submission. 


here's the wikipedia page I generally use.


here's a graphic of how colors change when you add things:


Image result for desaturation color


See how adding white lightens but also desaturates the color? The pigment is less intense.  Same with the black. The [  ] thingys show the area generally of highest chroma- most intense color, or the color the artist started with. Notice how they are at different heights relative to one another on the columns? This is a function of the pigment. certain color max their chroma out along different parts of the value scale (that's the first column, black to white)  That's going to affect how they play with each other and which one wins the right to rule.


Image result for adding complements to colors


Classically, adding the complement of a color will desaturate it.  See how it grays out in the center the closer you get to a perfect mix of the two?


Some colors are stronger than others.  Have you ever tried mixing and noticed how if you use one, you have to add a ton of another to make it shift at all?  This has to do with the quality of the paint sometimes, and the pigments used- be they dense, weak or simply stronger. Playing on paper with paint mixes can be helpful, and will show you how to alter a color bit by bit until you get the result you want.  What colors do you have available?  


If you have the ability to get something like a cadmium red, ultramarine blue and medium cadmium yellow, those purer colors plus white and black, will allow you to mix just about anything you want.

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