Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (2023)

  • Color Theory

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (1)

We often hear people say things like, 'What a beautiful blue hue.' or 'What shade of green do you like?' or 'Which tone do you prefer?' or 'That tint is too light.'

Have you ever wondered what exactly they mean by these color terms? Let me clarify the difference between them. Once you understand the difference, you'll never be unsure again. You'll also be able to describe or mix a color muchmore easily. A color scheme refers to the combination of colors used in design or visual representation. It can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of a design, as well as its perceived meaning and message. It is important to choose a color scheme that aligns with the purpose or brand of the design. Some popular color schemes include complementary, analogous, and monochromatic. In order to ensure that the color scheme is effective, it is a good idea todo my paper by researching and experimenting with different options. This can help to determine the most appropriate combination of colors to use in the design.


Hue vsColor

To begin, most people use the terms Hue and Color interchangeably. It's very common, even with artists and designers to assume the two mean the same thing.

Generally speaking they sort of do, but technically they don't.

The comment above sounds like one of those mind-bending riddles.In fact, the difference between them is actually very simple.

When you use color in any project, it's super helpful to talk or think about each one clearly. So let me explain the difference between Hue and Color in the easiestway possible.

  • COLOR is the general term we use to describe every hue, tint, tone or shade we see.White, Black and Gray are often referred to as a color.
  • A HUE refers to the dominant Color Family of the specific color we're looking at. White, Black and Grey are never referred to as a Hue.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (2)

Hue refers to the origin of the color we see. Think of the Hue as one of the sixPrimary and Secondary colors.In other words, the underlying base color of the mixture you're looking at is either Yellow, Orange, Red, Violet, Blue or Green.

In the photo at the top of the page, you obviously know the Hues right away. But what about more complex colors we want to duplicate in our artwork or projects?

How to Talk Like a Color Pro​

What if a color is truly an in-between Tertiarysuch as a Yellow/Green where neither Yellow nor Green dominate? Obviously you could describe it as a Yellow/Green Hue and you wouldn't be wrong.

Before long you'll find it easy to identify the Hue more specifically.You'll begin todrill down and impress yourself, by describing the color something like this:
'The color has a Yellow Hue, leaning strongly toward Green.'
Indeed this clarifies that the mixture began with the Primary Yellow, and gradually added the Secondary color Green.

Neutrals also contain a Hue depending on their originating color. On the other hand, pure Black, pure White and Pure Grey do not contain a Hue.

Here area few examples of how you can lookat a color closely to decide which isthe Dominant Hue. One you've established this in your mind, it becomes much easier to recreate the color or mix it further.

  • Burgundy = RED
  • Pink = RED
  • Navy = BLUE
  • Rust = ORANGE
  • Cool Gray = It might be BLUE or even PURPLE or GREEN - Really look at it.
  • Warm Brown = It might be ORANGE but it mightbe RED or YELLOW - Really look at it.

Painting Tips for HUES

* When you want to mix a specific color, begin by observing it really closely. Try to see the Hue Family it originates from. To this end, you will have a clear beginning point to start mixing.

* When you buy paint in an art store, some of the colors will be labeled with the word HUE. Don't be fooled into thinking these are pure Primary or pure Secondary colors. It's a manufacturer misnomer. The 'HUE Colors' are mixed colors that imitate a pure Hue, but never mix well.

Defining and Describing a TINT

A Tint is sometimes also called a Pastel. But to be precise, Color Theory defines aTrue Tint as any Hue or mixture of pure colors with only White added.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (3)

A Tint lightens the color, but it doesn't make it brighter. Even though the color may appear brighter,in actual fact it is not. In other words, it remains exactly the same color, onlya paler version. Furthermore, even a small amount of Whiteadded to a color, transforms it intoa Tint.

Therefore a Tint can range fromslightly lighter than your original color, all the way to White with barely any of the color mixed in.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (4)

In addition, a true Tint contains no Gray.

To create a true Tint, simply add White toany individual coloron the Color Wheel or any of those pure colors mixed together.

Regardless of this Color Theory definition, artists oftenbend the rules somewhat. Instead of White to mix a Tint, they use other pale neutral pigments such as Titanium or Titan Buff. These pigment 'Whites' can produce beautiful complex Tints.

Painting Tips for TINTS

* To mix pale Tints, always begin with your White paint. From there, very gradually mix in the tiniest specks of your color until you achieve the Tint you want.

* Artists often add a tiny touch of White to a pure pigment. This help to accentuatethe mass tone of the color making it appear brighter.

* When you mix White with any color, be careful and mix extremely gradually. For example, Bright Red can very quickly turn into an ugly Pink you don't like.

What Exactly is a TONE?

Color Theory defines a True Tone as any Hue or mixture of pure colors with only Gray added. To be precise, this definition considers Gray as truly neutral. In other words, there are no additional pigments in the Gray other than White plus Black.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (5)

A neutral mixture of Gray, no matter how light or dark, will tone down the intensity of any color. As a general warning, be careful with how muchGray you mix in. Too much Gray dulls the color so much, it becomes impossible to get the brilliance back.

Toned colors are generally considered more pleasing to the eye. They are complex, subtle andsophisticated. That's because bright pure colors are most often associated with children.

Generally speaking, almost every color we see in our day-to-day world has been toned to some degree.In the photo below, look at the colors themselves without thinking of them as wool. Almost every bundle is a slightly Toned version of the original pure colors. Notice hownearly every variation appears to contain a littleGray, that is either a light or dark Value.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (6)

Painting Tips for TONES

* There's an easy way to mix both light and dark Tones quickly while painting. Specifically, pre-mixLight, Medium and Dark Neutral Grays from White plus Black. Store them in small foodcontainers to have them on hand all the time.

* Artist always love to bend the rules. An experienced painter might make a Gray usingPaynes Gray plus Titan Buff. It's true this will produce a gorgeous Gray. But be extremely careful.Mixtures like this contain Neutral Base Hues such as Blue or Orange.Therefore, when mixed with other paints, colors can get muddy very quickly.

* It's always a great idea to experiment with the color mixtures before you paint.This helps you understand the potential of each color while avoiding unintended muddy colors in your artwork.

What is the definition of a SHADE?

Color Theory defines a True Shade​ as any pure Hue or mixture of pure colors with only Black added. In other words, it contains absolutely no White or Gray.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (7)

A Shade darkens the color. It remains the same Hue only a darker version. As has been noted above, even a small amount of White or Gray added to a color, transforms it into a Tone.

Therefore a Shade can range from slightly darker than your original color, all the way to nearly Blackwith barely any of the color mixed in.

As you can see below, the colors intheumbrella have been shaded by the lack of sunlight. However, if you wanted to paint this, you would add a tiny touch of black to each color.

Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained (8)

Painting Tips for SHADES

* When you mix a Shade, begin with the color itself. Then add your Black a tiny speck at a time. A little goes a long way!

* Again, many artist like to bend the rules. Many experienced painters do not use Black at all. Instead they create Shade mixtures with Neutral Dark pigments such as Paynes Gray or even Burnt Sienna. These mixtures are gorgeous and complex. However, unless you've pre-testedyour paint mixtures, colors can get muddy very quickly.

Let's Review What You Learned

  • In painting, the word COLORis the general term for everything we see. However, the word HUE refers to the brightest 6 - 12 pure, unmixed pigment families on the Color Wheel.
  • In Color Theory a TINTany Hue with White added. The color remains the same only lighter.
  • In Color Theory, a TONE isany pure Hue with Neutral Gray added. The color remains the same only less vibrant.The Values can range from very light to very dark.
  • In Color Theory, a SHADE is any pure Hue with Black added. The color remains the same only darker.


Hue, Tone, Tint and Shade Explained? ›

Hue: A pure pigment. Tone: A pure pigment with just grey added. Tint: A pure pigment with just white added. Shade: a pure pigment with just black added.

What is the difference between shade tone and tint? ›

An example of a tint is pink. Pink is a tint created by adding white to red. A shade is where an artist adds black to a colour to darken it down. A tone is where an artist adds grey to a colour.

What is the difference between hue and tint? ›

Primary and Secondary colors (Yellow, Orange, Red, Violet, Blue, and Green) are considered hues; however, tertiary colors (mixed colors where neither color is dominant) would also be considered hues. Tint refers to any hue or mixture of pure colors to which white is added. Pastel colors are generally tinted colors.

What is hue tint shade tone value? ›

Tone indicates the lightness or darkness of a hue, known as the tonal value. In printing or graphic design, this value can be adjusted using black, white or grey. The tonal value is increased when you lighten the tone, known as adding a tint. The value is lowered when you darken the hue, known as adding a shade.

What level of tint looks best? ›

A car window tint percentage of 50% is effective in keeping out UV rays and heat. It blocks half of the light, thus reducing glare and eye strain. If you're looking for a stylish and smooth look for your mobile car, the best window tint percentage is 35%. It gives off a darker appearance without sacrificing visibility.

Is white a tint tone or shade? ›

Black, white and gray are not considered a Hue and are not a part of the color wheel; they are defined as neutral colors. A Hue contains no added black, white, or gray.

What is hue vs shade vs tone? ›

Hue: A pure pigment. Tone: A pure pigment with just grey added. Tint: A pure pigment with just white added. Shade: a pure pigment with just black added.

Is hue the same as undertone? ›

Masstone is the primary hue in the color, or the hue that you identify first. The color on the left has a red undertone; the color on the right has a blue undertone. Undertone is the hue or hues that make up a smaller percentage of the color.

Is pink a hue or a tint? ›

Pink is a tint of the primary color red, so it is not on a traditional color wheel. It is made by mixing white and red together, creating a paler version of red.

What is tint tone shade examples? ›

Tints are light values that are made by mixing a color with white. For example, pink is a tint of red, and light blue is a tint of blue. Shades are dark values that are made by mixing a color with black. Maroon is a shade of red, and navy is a shade of blue.

Which hue color has the highest value? ›

Lighter colors have higher values. For example, orange has a higher value than navy blue or dark purple. Black has the lowest value of any hue, and white the highest.

Is tint the dark value of a hue? ›

Value is the measurement of the amount of black or white mixed into a pure hue. By adding black to the color, the value is made darker, resulting in what is referred to as a “shade.” When white is added to a color, the result is a lighter value, which is referred to as a “tint.”

Why is a tint lighter than a tone? ›

A tint is a lighter value of a hue that involves adding the neutral color of white to the hue. Darker values are known as shades. They involve adding black, another neutral color. When both white and black (grey) are added to a hue, the result is a tone, or a diluted version of the hue.

Why are tints and shades important? ›

Tints and shades are an important part of color theory. They can be used to create a certain feeling in a work of art or design. Tints can be used to create a feeling of warmth, while shades can be used to create a feeling of coolness.

Is a shade pure hue plus yellow? ›

A shade is pure hue plus yellow. False. Adding black to a pure hue is referred to as a shade.

Is 35 or 20% tint darker? ›

35% tint or 20% tint, which is better? Though a 20% tint is darker and gives your car that stylish look when weighing the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, 35% is the better choice. 35% film has properties that shield you and the inside of your car from dreaded UV rays.

Is 20% tint darker than 30%? ›

The percentages refer to visible light transmission (VLT), which is the amount of visible light that can come through the windows. So this means that the lower the percentage, the darker the tint will be.

Is 20% tint darker than 5%? ›

You can see through windows with a 20% tint if you're up close, but it's still difficult. Typically, it's enough to deter snoopers, though. When vehicles come with a factory tint, it's usually between 15% and 20%. A 5% is the darkest tint you can get, and you can't see through 5% tinted car windows at all.

Is adding white to a hue called a tint? ›

Tints are created when you add white to any hue on the color wheel. This will lighten and desaturate the hue, making it less intense. Tints are often referred to as pastel colors, and many feel they are calmer, quieter colors.

What happens when you include black to hue colour? ›

Shades are created when only black is added to a hue. This results in a rich, often more intense and darker color.

Is hue warm or cool? ›

Of the four unique hues that are considered in modern colour science to be the fundamental components of our hue perceptions, yellow and red are usually both classified as warm in traditional colour theory, and green and blue are usually both classified as cool.

What are hue undertones? ›

An undertone is the color from underneath the surface of your skin that affects your overall hue. There are three undertones - cool, warm, and neutral. You've most likely seen makeup products with shades like “cool linen” or “warm bisque,” and these descriptions refer to skin undertones.

Is hue the same as brightness? ›

Hue is therefore the actual color. Brightness refers to how much white (or black) is mixed in the color while Saturation indicates the amount of grey in a color.

How do I know what hue my skin is? ›

In natural light, check the appearance of your veins beneath your skin. If your veins appear blue or purple, you have a cool skin tone. If your veins look green or a greenish blue, you have a warm skin tone. If you can't tell whether or not your veins are green or blue, you probably have a neutral skin tone.

How do I know my undertone and shade? ›

Grab your wrists and check the veins under them. Those with warm undertones have green colored veins, while blue veins are a sign of a cool undertone. If your veins look bluish-green, you may have a neutral undertone.

How do I know my undertone? ›

White Cloth Test: Put a white cloth next to your bare face and observe what cast your skin takes on. Skin with warm undertones will appear yellowish, while skin with cool undertones will seem blueish or pinkish.

What is an example color of hue? ›

Green, orange, yellow, and blue — each of these is a hue, a color or a shade that's true. A rainbow shows the melting of one hue into another, from red to violet, and all shades in between. The noun hue means both a color and a shade of a color. Green is a hue, and turquoise is a hue of both green and blue.

Is beige a hue? ›

Beige has a hue angle of 60 degrees, a saturation of 55.6% and a lightness of 91.2%.

What hue is cream color? ›

Cream gets its name from the dairy product naturally produced by grazing cows. To make the pale yellow hue, white is mixed with a tad of yellow.

How do you describe tint? ›

: a usually slight or pale coloration : hue. : any of various lighter or darker shades of a color : tinge. : a variation of a color produced by adding white to it and characterized by a low saturation with relatively high lightness.

Is grey considered a color? ›

Grey (more common in British English) or gray (more common in American English) is an intermediate color between black and white. It is a neutral or achromatic color, meaning literally that it is "without color", because it can be composed of black and white. It is the color of a cloud-covered sky, of ash and of lead.

What is tone shading? ›

Tonal shading refers to the lightness or. darkness of an object. It is done by setting down various strengths of shading to demonstrate where an object is affected by the light and shadows.

What color is the darkest hue? ›

Vantablack, the pigment considered the blackest shade of black on the planet, is currently the source of commotion among the art world.

What color has the darkest hue? ›

Black is the darkest shade, and the result of the absence or complete absorption of light.

What color hue light is most relaxing? ›

Red-toned lights, which generally have a color temperature similar to candlelight and sunsets, are best used to help you ease your body into its natural sleep cycle. According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature1, 1900 K lighting is particularly beneficial to our health and biological clock.

What are the 4 properties of color? ›

The properties of color are hue, saturation, brightness and temperature.

What is the difference between color value and tone? ›

Simply put, value is the lightness or darkness of a color or hue. Tints, tones, and shades are variations of the hues found on the basic color wheel when white, black or both are mixed in.

Is tint the lighter value of a color? ›

A tint is defined as a color that has a lighter value than the hue of that color. Tints are produced by mixing white into a hue of a color. A tint is any color that is lighter than the original hue, and tints usually appear softer and less intense than the original hue.

Does tint color matter? ›

Yes, color does matter when it comes to tinted sunglasses. In addition to elevating your style, lens color plays a big role in your overall eye health and performance in certain activities.

Does tint get darker with more light? ›

What you're actually seeing is the adhesive changing. The adhesive is “setting” and reacting to heat and sun exposure, which makes your tint look like it's getting darker. Your car window tint is not getting darker over time; it's simply the adhesive.

Can you explain tints and shades in colors? ›

In color theory, a tint is a mixture of a color with white, which increases lightness, while a shade is a mixture with black, which increases darkness. Both processes affect the resulting color mixture's relative saturation. A tone is produced either by mixing a color with gray, or by both tinting and shading.

What are the 5 main color schemes? ›

The major color schemes in art are analogous, complementary, split-complementary, triadic, rectangular and monochromatic.

What is it called when you mix black with a color? ›

Mixing Darker Colors

Shades are created when black is added to a color. Since burgundy is already made by adding black to red, it's unlikely that you'd need to add more black.

What hue absorbs all colors? ›

Black objects absorb all colours so no light is reflected.

Is orange a pure hue? ›

The pure Orange hue is a Secondary Color. It's a blending of Yellow and Red on the Basic Color Wheel. Because it's a mixture of two colors, a more Yellow/Orangewill tend to create color meanings more closely associated withYellow. And of course a Red/Orange will naturally have more of the color symbolism of Red.

What is chroma in color? ›

Chroma is the departure degree of a color from the neutral color of the same value. Colors of low chroma are sometimes called “weak,” while those of high chroma (as shown in figure 3) are said to be “highly saturated,” “strong,” or “vivid.”

What is an example of a tint and shade? ›

Tints are light values that are made by mixing a color with white. For example, pink is a tint of red, and light blue is a tint of blue. Shades are dark values that are made by mixing a color with black. Maroon is a shade of red, and navy is a shade of blue.

Does tint get lighter or darker? ›

When first applied, window tint may appear darker than anticipated. However, as it cures and dries the film will lighten slightly. If after some time your tint still looks wet with no prospect of drying or curing in sight, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional tinting shop for assistance.

What is the difference between tint and shade quizlet? ›

A tint is a lighter value of a color. When mixing a tint you start with the lightest color (white). A shade is a darker version of a color. A shade is a darker value of a color.

What is an example of a hue color? ›

Hue is what most people think of when using the term 'color. ' It corresponds to its position in the spectrum. Examples of hues are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. In scientific terms, hue is the spectral wavelength composition of a color that produces the perception of being red, yellow, blue, and so on.

Is pink a tint shade or tone? ›

Pink is a tint of the primary color red, so it is not on a traditional color wheel. It is made by mixing white and red together, creating a paler version of red.

Does the darkness of tint matter? ›

While it does make sense that darker films always block more heat, most window film manufacturers have developed nearly transparent films with VLT ratings of 70 and 80 that are designed specifically to keep your vehicle cool without blocking visible light.

Is 50% or 35% tint darker? ›

Because less light can get through, the window tint with 35% VLT will look darker than the 50% VLT. If you want to upgrade your ride with dark, sleek windows, make sure you choose a low VLT percentage.

What is a colour without tint or shade called? ›

Hue. The hue is what we call in color theory a pure pigment. This means that it's a pure color without the addition of any tint or shade (without any white or black pigment).

What is called hue? ›

Hue literally means colour. When it is used in a colour name, it indicates that a modern pigment has been used instead of the traditional one. For example, Cadmium Red Pale Hue is a “colour of cadmium red pale”. It is important to note that a hue colour is not necessarily inferior.


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