What’s wrong with these arrays?

In week 2 of color class, Dick gave each student a set of color chips and asked them to sort them into an array, discarding any that were not part of the “family”. In the two arrays above, there is one imposter in each family. Can you spot them?

Answer: In the top row, the leftmost rectangle is not part of the family. If you think in terms of the pigment primaries (cyan, magenta, and yellow), it has yellow in it, which none of the others in that row do. In the bottom row, the imposter is the second from the left. It leans toward magenta more than any of the others.

Here are the arrays with the imposters removed:

Once you have an array of related hues, you’ll notice the fluting I pointed out in a previous post. If you look at an edge of one of the child colors, you’ll notice it seems to glow with the color of the rectangle on the opposite side of it. This is a strong indication that you’ve identified family members.

Something interesting happens with certain color choices for parents. Would you have predicted that this gray was the child of these pink and green parents?

How about in these contexts?

Look for the magenta and green glows along the edges of the children.

What’s happening here? Magenta and green are opposites on the color wheel, or complements. When you mix complements, you get gray.


Here is another complementary mix. The child seems to favor the yellow parent a little, rather than being neutral gray, indicating that I didn’t quite choose complements for parents. But the glowing effect along the edges, called “halation”, is quite nice.