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In visual art, a shade of a color is a darkened version of that color. For example, dark red is a shade of red. A shade changes only the value of the color but not the hue.

Examples of shades:


In photography and rendered art, shades are created whenever a surface is dimly lit. The changes in brightness on the surface of an object tell the viewer about the angle of the surface towards the light source, and thereby about the roundness and three-dimensional shape of the object. For more on this, see light and shade.

A shade is not the same as a shadow. Shade is found on the object's surface itself, while a shadow is cast by an object onto another object's surface.


Image illustrating the colorization of a drawing. Step 4 shows shading.

Shades are important whenever an artist strives for three-dimensionality in a picture (whether in cartoon or realism). The process of adding shades is called shading. Shades can be created (in painting or computer graphics) by mixing a color with black. In black and white art (e.g. drawing or etching, shades are created by using darker shades of grey, or by hatching darker.

The opposite of shade is tint and it is used for highlights.

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