The first rule of color composition is to not use all the colors at once.

Yet in film, as in life, that’s often precisely what happens. From the moment we’re born, our eyes are bombarded with a cacophony of visual information, and it takes time to learn how to make sense of it.

The same goes for moviegoers — even those who’ve spent years studying the art of film. Ridley Scott is one director who understands this. Color might be the most important element in directing and cinematography.

It can set a mood, create a tone, or convey an idea more effectively than any amount of dialogue or plotting.

But it also has a lot of potential for misuse, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

And like anything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use color in your films.

movie color palette ridley scott

Who Is ridley scott?

Ridley Scott  British director and producer, known for his science fiction and horror films.

His 1979 film Alien was hailed as a new genre of “body horror” by film critic David Thomson.

Scott has garnered great critical acclaim for his influential films since the 1980s including Blade Runner, which is regarded by some critics as one of the greatest science fiction films ever made.



How To Use Color Like Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott is one director who knows how to make use of color like almost no one else.

Whether it’s the neo-noir world of Blade Runner or the epic biblical spectacle that was Kingdom of Heaven, Scott always seems to find new ways to use color to capture his stories on screen.

Ridley Scott’s Use Of Color

The film industry has been using color for years. Color helps make movies more appealing to the audience by allowing directors to create a more immersive and detailed world that is easily noticed by the audience.

Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Gladiator, uses color in unique ways to bring out themes in his films. Color plays a large role in creating the tone of Alien

The film takes place in deep space and appears mostly black and white. It wasn’t until the characters came into contact with the alien that bright colors were used to contrast the rest of the film.

This contrast creates a sense of horror because of how out of place it is compared to the beginning of the film. 

In Gladiator, there are several scenes when Maximus (Russell Crowe) is training or fighting in a gladiator arena that have heavy amounts of red used in them.


This creates an intense tone in these scenes because of how vibrant red is compared to the rest of the film being shot in yellow. The use of color is present throughout all three segments of Gladiator, but it takes on different meanings depending on what scene it is being used for.

Color Grade Your Films Like Ridley Scott

Color correction is one of the most tedious and time-consuming aspects of post-processing. It is often the part that gives editors a headache, and it’s definitely not an easy task to start with. But don’t worry, because I’ve got something for you.

Tutsplus has posted a great tutorial on how to color grade your movies like Ridley Scott, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in “The Martian.” So if you are interested in color grading or want to get started with it, check out the article below:

Color Grade Your Films Like Ridley Scott

The Martian — directed by Ridley Scott — was nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards. The film’s overall look was a key component in its success. 

In this tutorial, we will explore how you can achieve The Martian’s cinematic look using Adobe Premiere Pro and a few other tools.

The ability to accurately and creatively edit your footage is one of the most important tools a film editor has in their arsenal. 

That’s why it’s essential that you learn color grading and how to use it to your advantage. I will specifically be looking at the color grade of Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi masterpiece, “Alien”.

Ridley Scott Color Palettes

Ridley Scott’s movies use a limited color palette. In Alien, the alien ship is metallic purple, the Narcissus shuttle is dull gold, and the crew uniforms are white and gray with blue accents. The Nostromo in Alien is gray and brown.

The colonists’ clothing is white or tan, and the planet’s surface is orange. In Blade Runner, Los Angeles is dominated by green advertising holograms and massive video screens. The police blimps that patrol the city are light blue. There are no green or orange colors in these movies except for accent pieces.

The simplest way to establish a color palette for your movie poster is to use the same colors throughout your design. You can set up a palette by choosing four or five colors for your design and making sure you don’t stray from those colors.

If you’re designing a poster that has a lot of different elements in it or you’re trying to create an effect of chaos and confusion, like in Alien or A Clockwork Orange, limit your palette to three colors.


One reason that designers choose limited palettes is because they allow them to make design choices much more easily. For example, if you choose red, green, and blue as your primary colors, then you know you can use any combination.

How To Create A Movie Color Palette Like Ridley Scott With LUTs

Black and white can be a dramatic and moody choice for your movie, but the real question is, how do you create the rich and vibrant color palette that most movies have? The answer is LUTs or Look Up Tables.

A lookup table is basically a set of instructions that tells Photoshop what color to use when. In some cases, it also tells it to amplify or desaturate a color. I like using LUTs because they can quickly turn an image into a flat, boring image.

It’s important to remember that no matter how good your LUT is, you still need to have a decent photo to begin with. If you start out with a bad photo, you’re not going to end up with a great one after applying an LUT.

To get started picking the right LUT for your movie, you first need to find some reference images of movies you like. You want to look at their color Palettes as well as what kind of lighting was used on the set.

For example, if it’s a morning scene in Blade Runner, there will be less blue in the image and more orange in the shadows than for a night scene from Fight Club.

Trying out different LUTs on your image can help you narrow down what kind of look you want for your film.


Ridley Scott’s Alien – Cinematic Colour Grading

Q & A With Colorist Jonathan Wood at Technicolor London

What goes into the colour grading of a film? To get an answer to this question, we have talked to colourist Jonathan Wood at Technicolor London. He graded Ridley Scott’s Alien and talked to us about some of the challenges he faced creating the distinctive look of the film.

Q: Jonathan, what was your role in the colour grading process for Alien

A: I was one of two colorists at Technicolor London who worked on Alien, along with my colleague Bob Cieri.

At the time, I was working as a junior colorist and Bob had been around a little longer than me. Neither of us were particularly experienced at the time but I guess that’s why they put us on the project as they were keen to try out some new talent.

Q: What kind of discussions did you have with director Ridley Scott before working on the film?

A: I don’t remember being directly involved in any conversations with Ridley before we started work on Alien. Most of our working relationship took place during dailies sessions in which we would view footage together and discuss any changes that needed to be made.

The editor Terry Rawlings would be there too and would comment on things he thought needed changing or improving.