With the werewolf model finalized this week, I am currently in the process of unwrapping its UVs using the pelt technique. In this week’s blog I will be talking about color scripts and the importance of creating correct color combinations.

First introduced by Ralph Eggleston in Pixar while working on Toy Story, the color script has since become widely used in animation. The purpose of a color script is to illustrate the lighting, color and emotion of the film and portray the way the mood shifts throughout the film with the help of color (Pixar, no date). The first color scripts were drawn using pastel due to its efficiency but they are now often created digitally.


Toy Story color script (Gurney,2012)

The importance of the color script is that color is used to convey various emotions and the atmosphere of the scene and has the ability to make the audience subconsciously experience these emotions. Some simple examples of this would be the color yellow representing a happy mood, while red may signify danger. Complimentary color is almost always used in scenes as it renders the scene more visually appealing, creates contrasts between elements in the frame and communicated emotion. Warm colors such as red and orange compliments cool colors such as green and blue (Bowes, 2012.)

The color script helps visualize the change of mood or even location in an animation. For example, Sony Pictures Animation production designer Michael Kurinsky, recalls how different colors were used to contrast the human world and monster world in Hotel Transylvania, where the latter is very saturated in color while the human world consists of duller, desaturated colors. This shift helps represents how the main characters experience these places, with the human world being boring compared to the monster world (Failes, 2015).

Color can be used to represent a myriad of emotions, from love and tenderness, to fear, concern and loneliness.  Red is the color most strongly perceived by humans and is most commonly associated with power, rage and passion. Many Disney villains wear red or a very reddish hue of purple(a color for extravagance and dignity) such as the evil stepmother in Cinderella. (Iten, 2008) In Disney’s Peter Pan, the protagonist and antagonist feature complimentary colors which highlight the complete contrast between the characters.

Pixar ROYGBIV.jpg

(Renee, 2014)

A color mood can be achieved not only through the color of characters’ clothes or surrounding environment but also the scene’s lighting which is a strong way to communicate a certain emotion and atmosphere. Warm lighting indicates a safe and cosy environment while cool lighting or shadows signify danger or mystery (Botkin, 2009). Sometimes, however, color rules may be broken to create a deeper meaning in an animation or film. An example of the symbolism of light and shadows being flipped is Spielberg’s E.T.

Color is an extremely powerful tool of storytelling and for that reason it is a very good idea to use a color script when working on an animation. Although we have not created a color script for our cinematic due to time constraints, I feel like we would be able to achieve a much better visualization of each scene’s mood if we have and I plan to incorporate it in any future production.


Pixar (no date) Colour script. Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016)

Bowes, B. (2012) Hacking the color script; A visual color guide for your next painting. Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016

Failes, I. (2015) Inside the colorscript process: Day 1 at VIEW. Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016

Iten, O. and profile, V. my complete (2008) Captain hook’s red coat (part 1/3). Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016

Botkin, I. (2009) Color theory for Cinematographers. Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016

Gurney, J. (2012) The color blue in toy story 3. Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016
Renée, V. (2014) This Pixar Supercut will remind you just how important color is in storytelling. Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016

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