About This Class



In this class, you’ll learn how to pick and use colors to tell a story. When you tell a story, you create a world in your audiences’ minds.



Think of our world: it uses color to communicate with us, for example blushed cheeks can hint to shyness, embarrassment or anger, bright colors like yellows and reds in nature warn us about danger, poison, or venomous! And the colors in the sky say something about the time of day and the weather.



Hadis Malekie Wafflensie Nature Photography

When communicating visually, whether through movies, motion pictures, illustrations, photos or animations, it’s essential to carefully pick your colors based on the story you’re telling, and what you want your audience to feel or pay attention to looking at that scene, character and/or action.

But deciding on colors can be overwhelming, there are so many! We need to consider not only our story, but what colors go well together, and how to apply these colors to your illustration or frame, all while still keeping that story in mind.

This class seeks to demystify this process by introducing you to a few tried and true palettes to get you thinking about using color more intentionally. Throughout this class, we’ll explore these different palettes (Monochromatic, Complementary, Triadic, Tetradic, Split Complementary, and Analogous), and how to apply them to:

  • Get a pleasant result or an unpleasant one, depending on how you want the audience to experience the scene.
  • Guide the audience’s attention to a specific object, character or action in a scene.
  • Communicate with the audience what they should feel according to the story, for example telling a horror sequence with vibrant playful colors can deliver a different meaning like fantasy or comedy.

Carefully considering color can help level up or enhance your work, making it more effective in communicating your message and more appealing to the eye. On the other hand, neglecting color can decrease the effectiveness of all the hard work and effort you’ve placed on other details and parts of production.

In a nutshell, we call this process color scripting, or planning the colors in the frames of an animated film based on the story you’re trying to tell. It’s great for working with teams, so that different frames done by different artists have a consistent look. Planning your colors in pre-productions also saves time, energy, and money as it prevents from making mistakes later on in the production process.

But in this class, we’re keeping it simple, approachable and fun: we’ll work on coloring ONE single frame based on our story.

We’ll start by covering some examples, looking at how films use color palettes to convey a narrative. Then we’ll do it ourselves, we’ll pick a frame (can be an illustration, a picture, a slide, etc.) and apply a palette to it using your favorite digital design software (feel free to use analog methods too). Along the way, I’ll share some tips and tricks for proportions, and playing with colors digitally.

By the end of this class, you’ll have the ability to choose and apply color palettes quickly and with confidence based on the story you’re telling.

So let’s color your world – let’s get started!

hadis malekie border

Class Projects & Resources

This section is only available for students of this class.