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.
As long as possible we’lll keep ChromaMagic free but any donations towards its upkeep, development and maintenance would be gratefully received. Click one of the buttons below to donate securely through Square or PayPal.
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
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
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
Chroma Varies as the Hue Changes
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.
Light Values Vary Between the Fruit
Shadow Values Change Hue
Gray Colors Aren’t Really Gray
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.