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I just learn about the different color harmony styles models, and I was playing with Adobe color wheel website using the complementary style, but I'm realizing that the proposed colors are not really on the other side of the Hue circle:

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Here, you see that the blueish line has hue 174° and the brown color has hue 19°, and 174°-19°=155°, while I would expect their distance to be 180° since they are complementary. And if I ask to Krita, they are indeed not on opposite parts of the Hue circle:

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So what's wrong with Adobe color wheel? I also tried with https://paletton.com, and the Paletton gives similar results compared to Adobe color. Are all color wheels crazy, or am I missing something? I also tried to check how footage was behaving, and they seem to agree with my definition, for instance this photo uses colors #27AB9E (Hue=174°) and #ff4473 (hue=344°), which are much more aligned, and we have 344-174 = 170° which is way closer to 180°.

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Not all color wheels are alike. The traditional/old school RGB color wheel (like Krita's) begins with the three primaries at 120˚ intervals; which places red opposite cyan, such as this wheel.

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However, more modern color wheels use the opponent process colors which places red/green and blue/yellow opponents at 180˚ intervals... such as the adobe color wheel.

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And then there are other color wheels that use RBY which places those three colors at 120˚ intervals; it also places red opposite green, but blue is no longer opposite yellow. This wheel aligns with the color mixing principles taught in grade school (e.g. blue+yellow=green, blue+red=purple, and red+yellow=orange). However it breaks the CMY (subtractive colors) triadic relationship the other two color wheels maintain.

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Which one is correct? I can't really say because it's all color theory. But my inclination is the opponent process theory.

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    Oh, I see, thanks a lot. And is there any "mathematic/physical" reason to say that the opponents of red is green and that the opponent of blue is yellow, is it just a more or less arbitrary choice because it's more practical to work with an even number of colors and define pairs opponents? Also, if you have some cool resources on color grade theory, I'd be curious to hear about it! Thanks! – tobiasBora Apr 24 at 13:47
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    @tobiasBora Color is only meaningful in terms of how humans experience it. There’s nothing special about the visible spectrum except that it is meaningful to us. Color theory is based on human experience not the way things are independent of humans in the manner in which we reason about subatomic particles. And human vision is a messy product of evolution. Both biological and cultural. – Bob Macaroni McStevens Apr 24 at 14:12
  • @BobMacaroniMcStevens It make sense, sure. But I guess there must be some mathematical theories for colors, more or less independent of the human perception (or that only start from basic principle, like "if you mix blue and yellow, human will see green"). From that, I guess you can matematically define a "sum" operation between colors, and a "basis" which are some colors that are enough to represent all other colors. For instance, we can sum blue and yellow and obtain green, and you can physically observe it. So I'm wondering if there is a natural space in which red/green are "opposite". – tobiasBora Apr 24 at 14:30
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    @tobiasBora, The RGB color theory functions in the way optical receptors receive light information (short/med/long wavelength sensitive cone cells); and it is the basis behind the bayer CFA digital sensor and the LCD display. But the opponent process theory functions in the way our brains interpret that information and perfectly explains after images/colors. verywellmind.com/… – Steven Kersting Apr 24 at 19:51
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    @tobiasBora, What you are seeing is additive colors balanced against subtractive colors; RGB offset against CMY; in that order... just like how a color balance adjustment layer, and temp tint adjustments work. It is pretty consistent for people with normal color perception (~85%). Too much information here... frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00229/full#B19 – Steven Kersting Apr 25 at 13:25

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