So, the other day, this genius, cartoon-creating friend of mine is showing me some of his latest work. He’s really good. This guy can focus on a project for hours without end, and with more attention to detail than is necessary at 24 frames per second. His sense of humor is unique, but he’s won student awards for great work. Anyway, we get to this one cartoon . . . it starts, and within moments, the retinas of my eyes are actually in pain. “What are you doing?” I asked him, “Your color palette is killing me!” He tells me that traditional color combinations are so predictable. He just wanted to catch his audience unaware by using colors not traditionally associated with his subject matter. That’s ok, but he totally disassociated his choices from basic accepted color theory.
Wow. And, he knows better.
But, then again, it is a theory, and color is an abstract concept, and an artist needs to express his . . . blah, blah, blah. My eyes are STILL BURNING!!
I have something that can help keep you from blinding your audience. Two things actually. And the first is a few short words of advice:
1. Create the color palette for your cartoon, FIRST.
Yes, first! Start with the color. Ok, it’s not foolproof advice – my friend caused my eyes to bleed with a color palette that he created first. The bigger part of this might be “create a PLEASING color palette before you open your animation software, because you don’t want to end up using your color picker as a palette.” Hmmm, I like the shorter version better, but it’s still good advice.
And, the second thing to keep you from damaging innocent eyeballs:
2. The video above shows you how to create a PUPIL-PLEASING palette in just a few minutes.
This simple knowledge is a game-changer. It makes your animation watchable. Of course, your mom will watch whatever you create even if it does cause her iris to pucker. But, if you get the color palette right, total strangers will gaze at your animated art without weeping.