Skin color and accurate skin color code is an extremely important aspect to consider in photography , film making , color grading and to some extent in graphic design as well.
A wrong skin color can make or break your creative work. The solution to this problem is to use a standard skin color code based on the type of skin that your subject has it is also known as skin color palette . You can use a skin color hex code or RGB or CMYK skin color code.
We strongly recommend to use these skin color hex codes for creative purpose only and not to evaluate , discriminate based on skin color.
Why Skin color code is important ?
We have some colors that are imprinted in our minds. The most common colors we see are sky, grass, and skin tone color. These colors have a definitive reference in all humans minds.
It is particularly important to represent these colors accurately in your creative work to ensure audience immersion, unless the narrative specifically calls for a distortion of these hues which is the case with a sepia color or tone which is used to give a nostalgic feeling.
Man-made objects tend to have less color memory associated with them, so you have more freedom to tweak the hue of a car or the saturation of a character’s dress. But you can never mess around with someone’s skin color.
Skin tone color has to be accurate and that’s where human skin color code comes in. Before going into detail of skin color code , lets understand what are color codes ? and what different types are in use ?
What are color codes ?
There are three different color code systems generally used. RGB, CMYK and Hex. These codes basically represent a color by using a series of numbers and/or letters.
The RGB color system is the most commonly used color model in computers, televisions , LEDs , smartphones etc. This color system uses combinations of these three colors to create all other colors on the spectrum.
Hexadecimal means that you type in six-digit numbers with the letters A through F representing the six different bits for each digit. Hex digits are available in both lowercase and uppercase letters without any spaces between them.
CMYK stands for cyan , magenta , yellow and black. It is more applicable to print projects where you have more control over what the final product will look like on paper. CMYK colors are also known as process colors. A color model with four channels.
What is a skin color hex code ?
A skin color code is either RGB , CMYK or Hex code of the exact skin color. It basically represents a combination of hues that exactly represents a human skin color.
The skin tone color lies somewhere between yellow and red and the saturation varies depending on type of skin.
Skin color code RGB
A typical natural skin color codes RGB values are (232, 190, 172).
This represents a natural skin tone color and be used for general purposes. For more dark or light skin color tones please refer sections below.
Skin tone Color code CMYK
CMYK skin tone color codes representing the same color as above are (0%, 18%, 26%, 9%). The first three values represent Cyan , Magenta , Yellow colors and last values represents amount of black.
Skin color hex code
The skin color hex code or skin colour hex code for same natural skin color is #E8BEAC .
Following table gives you skin color code values in various different forms. Skin colour hex code is very easy to use and most professional coloring tools accept hex codes.
|Skin Color Hex Code||#E8BEAC|
|RGB Values||(232, 190, 172)|
|CMYK Values||(0%, 18%, 26%, 9%)|
|HSV/HSB Values||(18°, 26%, 91%)|
|Closest Web Safe||#FFCC99|
What are types of Skin Tone colors ?
The color of your skin is determined by the amount of melanin (skin pigment) in your outermost layer of skin, whereas your skin undertone is the underlying hue. The amount of melanin (skin pigment) in the top layer of your skin determines your skin tone.
The 4 Main Types Of Skin Tones Are:
- White Skin Color Code : #fde7d6
- Light / fair
- Deep (Dark)
Lets see some color palates based on different types of skin color types.
Please note that these skin color codes are given for creative purpose only and not for any discriminations or evaluation based on skin color.
Following are some examples of skin color palatte photoshop.
You can also read our post on peach color code where you will get a beautiful peach skin color code as well. Coral colors are also beautiful and have shades of pink , orange and red. You can read all about them here.
Fair Skin Color Palette
Fair skin is a little easier to handle in terms of photo editing and or film color grading. Following is an example of fair skin color codes. These can be used as skin tone color code in photoshop or a complete skin color palette in photoshop.
Or even for that matter any other photo editing application.
Fair skin colors can take a lot more adjustments and re-touching compared to dark skin color. They can also handle a lot more saturation compared to dark skin colors.
These are also known as light skin color code or the first color in the palette is also known as white skin color code.
Dark skin color palette
Dark skin is very tricky to handle in photo editing and color grading. You should avoid doing a lot of re-touching and color correction for dark skin images as it can spoil the image quickly.
Following is an example of dark skin color palatte.
Caucasian skin color palette
Caucasian skin color code is very typical and has more of orange , yellow feel to it. Here is an example for Caucasian skin color codes or color palatte.
Indian skin color code (Brown skin Color Palatte )
Indian skin color code is again very typical with shades of brown in place. Following is an example of Indian skin color codes.
You can make brown by mixing blue and orange.
These are also known as brown skin color code.
Real Skin Tone Color Scheme or Skin color palette
The real skin tone color scheme consists of following 5 colors , it is also known as skin color palette.
|RGB: (141, 85, 36)|
|CMYK: 0, 0.397, 0.744, 0.447|
|RGB: (198, 134, 66)|
|CMYK: 0, 0.323, 0.666, 0.223|
|RGB: (224, 172, 105)|
|CMYK: 0, 0.232, 0.531, 0.121|
|MELLOW APRICOT||Name: Mellow Apricot|
|RGB: (241, 194, 125)|
|CMYK: 0, 0.195, 0.481, 0.054|
|NAVAJO WHITE||Name: Navajo White|
|RGB: (255, 219, 172)|
|CMYK: 0, 0.141, 0.325, 0|
Skin color tones in color grading
Skin color correction and grading is one of the most important aspects of color grading. Beautiful skin tones can make a huge difference to a project. Skin color adjustments are a part of secondary color grading.
If you are new to color grading then you can read our post here.
A common task for secondary correction is to make skin tones look more natural. Whether you are working on a documentary , music video or a feature film, the audience will be paying the utmost attention to the actions (and, therefore, the faces) of the people on the screen.
Skin tones are deeply engraved in people’s mind and are always referenced by the audience. You want to make sure to get the skin tones as accurate as possible to ensure minimum distraction from the narrative.
A vector scope is generally used with Skin color indicator. The skin color line lies somewhere between yellow and red.
You can sample the skin in your scene to see if it lies near to this line and then use the hue vs hue and hue vs sat curves to adjust the skin tone to make it look natural.
In color grading light skin tones can handle a lot more saturation before they get distorted while the dark skin color tones get distorted very eaily.
Here are two good videos about getting perfect skin tones in Da Vinci resolve.
Skin colors can also be used for adjustment of white balance in videos. This is required when you do not have any white or neutral colors in your frame and you are not sure about the white balance.
Here is a video about how you can do that in resolve.