"Second String" by Kenna Barnes


I created "Second String" for my fourth year Capstone project for Ryerson — essentially a thesis project, involving a research paper along with a creative component to support the given research. I wrote my paper on the topic of colour deficiency, and the proper method of creating accessible designs for colour deficient audience members. This includes print, animation, web design, etc. Designs often pose a visibility issue for these individuals - words get lost in a map, enemy/ally teams in a video game are impossible to distinguish, etc.


Through my research, it became clear that the current methods of creating accessible colour designs (though there were few) were very complicated and limiting for the artist. They involved suggestions such as choosing “safe” colours, which consisted of a very limited palette, or to “imagine what the colour blind audience sees, and avoid these problem areas.”  As a colour deficient individual myself, I knew these methods were ineffective, and their confusing instructions would not ensure they were used by designers.

Due to this, I created a method that is extremely simple, effective, and very easy to enforce into practice — focus on value! The solution to creating colour accessible designs does not, in fact, have anything to do with colour. It is extremely difficult to choose only hues that a colour deficient audience member can see, especially since there is such a wide range of colour deficiencies. However, if you ensure that the colours you do choose are visibly different values, the deficient individuals will be able to perceive a change in the design, and it will remain readable at all times.

To demonstrate this theory in my film, I alternate the value-consious colour palette with the same palette viewed from the eyes of a red-green deuteranopic deficient individual - the most common form of colour deficiency.  As shown, the design is still visible throughout the film, and the change in colour does not affect the aesthetic or visibility of the animation. In order to further this explanation for you, I have also attached a sample I created of a poorly chosen colour palette, as well as a recoloured frame using an inaccessible palette, circling the problem areas within the design.







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