ChromaMagic Munsell Color Tool

Munsell wheel at different values

Welcome to ChromaMagic – the online Munsell color analysis tool. Click the button to go straight to analyzing your photos. If you’re new to ChromaMagic check out the walkthroughs at the end of this post. I also have a post on Munsell and how it helps artists.

This version of ChromaMagic will always be free but any donations towards its upkeep, development and maintenance would be gratefully received. Click the button below to donate securely through Square.

Anyone who donates will get a free upgrade to the next version currently in development.

What is ChromaMagic?

Have you ever looked at a scene or a photo reference and thought ‘What is that color?’ As artists our color perception is crucial in knowing what we see and how we translate it onto canvas or paper. ChromaMagic was developed to help us quickly sharpen our skills in color perception and improve our paintings. It can show you the three Munsell components of color for any color in a photo reference and display them in the relevant color chart.

The Munsell Color System

ChromaMagic uses the Munsell Color System to define color. As artists it is a wonderful way to define and mix color. Munsell classifies color into 3 components of hue, value and chroma. If you’re new to this way of thinking about color it can take a little while to get into the swing of things. But it is well worth it. I can personally say that it transformed my paintings almost overnight.

Starting with ChromaMagic

ChromaMagic start screen
ChromaMagic start screen

When you first load up the ChromaMagic tool it has a color wheel photo displayed in the photo area. At the top on the left is the full photo and, on the right, is a zoomed in region. To load up your own photo click the black button on the top right.

Click Anywhere on the Photos to Select a Color

ChromaMagic Selected Color
ChromaMagic Selected Color

Click anywhere on either the left or right photo regions to select a color. The zoom panel on the right will center on that pixel and display a red cross-hair on the selected color.

Below the photo are 3 representations of that color. On the left are rectangles displaying the exact color and also the nearest Munsell chip color. On the right is the color highlighted in the relevant color chart.

ChromaMagic Munsell Color Tool Detail Panel

ChromaMagic hue, value, chroma color chart
ChromaMagic hue, value, chroma color chart

Chroma Varies as the Hue Changes

Munsell 5B color chart
Munsell 5B color chart

Example Photo 1 – Apple and Pear Still Life

This reference is one I have used in a beginners class. It’s great for honing your skills identifying and mixing colors. See the link for a full step by step watercolor tutorial and video.

Munsell apple and pear example
Munsell apple and pear example

Light Values Vary Between the Fruit

ChromaMagic Munsell pear color
ChromaMagic Munsell pear color

Shadow Values Change Hue

ChromaMagic Munsell pear shadow color
ChromaMagic Munsell pear shadow color

Gray Colors Aren’t Really Gray

Munsell gray color
Munsell gray color

Example Photo 2 : Landscape Reference

I’ve come a cropper with beach paintings many a time. Finally, with the help of ChromaMagic, I could work out and learn where my colors were wrong. The result was that my paintings were much more successful.

ChromaMagic landscape sand color
ChromaMagic landscape sand color

Blue Sky is Surprisingly Dark

Munsell blue sky color
Munsell blue sky color

Distant Things are Blue!

ChromaMagic background landscape color
ChromaMagic background landscape color

Green Hills are Blue!

Munsell greens are actually blue
Munsell greens are actually blue

4 thoughts on “ChromaMagic Munsell Color Tool

    1. Hi Bernie,

      Many thanks for the interest! This version is free (it’s a web app and will likely remain so). A small donation is always welcome and helps pay for the domain and keeps the servers running. If you make a donation now then I’ll put you on the list and you’ll get the next version free which will have lots of extra tools (learning mode, chroma curves, multiple chip selection, output options and wheel display).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.