Sepia

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Pencil sketch by Jameslovebirch with added digital sepia color (2012).

Sepia is a dark brown inky juice secreted by the cuttlefish (sepia). The term sepia also refers to this color in visual art.

The sepia tone range (including tints) ranges from brassy via golden brown to dark brown or dark red-brown.

Sepia:

                           

Sepia in drawing[edit]

In former times, the pigment from original cuttlefish ink was processed into an ink that could be used for writing and drawing. Today, artificial inks and dyes have replaced natural sepia.

Sepia in photography[edit]

Vintage photograph with a light sepia touch (probably c. 1900).

To vintage photographs, often sepia ink was added, which chemically makes the photographs much more resistant to breakdown over time. This is why almost all 19th century and early 20th century photographs that have survived until today are sepia colored monochrome, rather than pure greyscale.

Sepia photographs look "old fashioned" and antiquated. They can also look "warmer", more pleasant to the eye, and often, "serene", compared to "cold" greyscale.

Sepia as a digital effect[edit]

Since sepia tones are so popular in black-and-white photography, modern digital photo and video cameras, as well as image editing software, often come with a digital filter called 'sepia' that creates a sepia appearance as a special effect.

See also[edit]