# Where can I find fomulas for calculating coordinating colors?October 20, 2006 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find mathematical fomulas for calculating coordinating colors for interior decorating projects?

I'm attempting to build an application to assist with interior decorating that will take a primary color for a room and suggest other colors to go along with it. For example, if you picked a certain color of carpet, the application would suggest paint colors for the wall and trim. Or if you picked a certain countertop, the application might suggest cabinet stain colors that would go well.

I've read up on basic color theory, and I understand how opposite colors on the color wheel are "complimentary", colors adjacent on the color wheel are "analogous", and monochromatic color schemes can look nice with some variations of lightness and saturation. However, for the application I'm trying to create, I really need formula that will yield *exact* complimenting color values for a given "primary" color. I've seen a couple of tools that do something like this (here and here, although the results aren't *exactly* what I'm looking for), but I don't know how they work.

Can anyone please point me in the right direction? Thanks!
posted by Vorteks to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Would this help? http://www.easyrgb.com/math.html
posted by Pigpen at 9:44 PM on October 20, 2006

However you do it, it should cross-reference the Pantone numerical charts, although there are licensing issues involved in that.
posted by frogan at 9:49 PM on October 20, 2006

my friend wanted me to show you this link:

posted by pinksoftsoap at 10:32 PM on October 20, 2006

oops here.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 10:32 PM on October 20, 2006

I've done this kind of work in actionscript.

My starting point was looking at the source for http://wellstyled.com/tools/colorscheme2/index-en.html

Hope that helps.
posted by Dataphage at 10:33 PM on October 20, 2006

pinksoftsoap - That link doesn't seem to work, it's giving me some kind of an ASP error. It looks like you were searching for "color match", but when I went to the homepage and typed that in, I just got pictures of toilets. What were you trying to link to?
posted by Vorteks at 10:42 PM on October 20, 2006

I second Dataphage's suggestion.
posted by kiwi.es at 6:11 AM on October 21, 2006

Careful about using online tools on your own computer. The colours do not show up accurately on your screen or printed unless you have professionally calibrated equipment.

Best if you obtain actual Pantone colour swatches, and look at them under real-world lighting conditions. Otherwise, there's no point obtaining "exact" colour values.
posted by randomstriker at 1:21 PM on October 21, 2006

This sort of thing will also depend on the illumination, which is different from room to room (and day to day and hour to hour). Color is more complicated than an RGB (or HSV) triple.
posted by hattifattener at 1:49 PM on October 21, 2006

Thanks for the help everyone. Dataphage's suggestion was a good one, and I have learned a lot by examining the source code of the applications I've found, but I was really hoping to find an article explaining why these formulas work and (hopefully) how to best tweak them for different effects.

As for the pantone matching issue, I'm actually not going to be picking raw RGB colors, but instrad I'm trying to build an application that'll select the "best match" coordinating colors from a database of product data and PNG images. So I already have a limited palette of "endpoints" for the algorithim to choose from. I have access to spreadsheets from paint manufacturers and other companies that list real names/skus for their products and RGB value approximations for their color, and I'm trying to build "we recommend this paint with this floor"-style functionality using this data.
posted by Vorteks at 2:09 PM on October 21, 2006

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