LEAP!Tracy HolmesComment

Three words can increase the power of 3 primaries from 8 to 27: "Only on half." From nothing but cheese, to pizza with 'the works,' see how adding half to nothing changes everything . . .


This is Ulysses.

Ulysses makes pizza. He makes the dough and the sauce from scratch, adds the toppings al gusto, and when it's fresh and hot from the oven, he'll bring it to your door, scooting along the cobblestone streets on his motorcycle. Maker, baker, and delivery boy all in one.

Three of his most popular pizza toppings are Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow.

Okay, of course, those aren't pizza toppings, and even if they were, they wouldn't be as tasty our family's favourites (BBQ chicken, onions, and piña). But I'm cutting to the chase here with today's 'Leap' lesson, using BTC's primary colours as fake toppings on virtual pizza. That way, you can follow along more intentionally, and/or substitute your own favourite toppings into the analogy if you like. Pepperoni? Artichokes? Anchovies? Gummy bears? Like I said, al gusto...


With all the Cyan sliced, the Magenta diced, and the Yellow chopped, Ulysses is ready for another night at the pizzeria. A big group calls in to order a bunch of different pizzas for a party. They're hungry, and they want variety. With three different toppings to choose from, applying the rule of '"Si, por favor!" or "No gracias" for each of the three toppings, from a plain cheese pizza (with no toppings at all) to a pizza with 'the works,' how many different pizzas can Ulysses make?

If you mastered the math problem on 'Ice Cream' Sunday, you should be able to figure this one out. Hint: the answer is the same.

Three toppings = eight pizzas.

Ulysses makes round pizzas, but to keep things even more analogous with BTC, let's pretend his pizzas are square. We're already pretending the toppings are colours, right? And really, why aren't pizzas square anyway, given the shape of the pizza box? 

Here are the eight possible 'colour pizzas' ready for delivery:


I'm sure this series of eight full Colour Squares must be getting very familiar. And as for Colour Math, so too the equation that 3 = 8. It's easy enough for a pizza guy like Ulysses to make, bake, and deliver eight pizzas, right? But wait...


The phone rings again. Another order, a bigger party. Still three toppings to choose from – Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow – but this time, there's a special request:

"I'd like a pizza with Cyan. But only on half." 

No problem!


New problem...


What happens to the equation when you add the option of 'half'? With the same three 'toppings' to choose from – Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow – and now three different values for each – none, half, or all – how many different pizzas can Ulysses make?


To find the answer, we can turn to the Colour Basics deck to find 'Cyan on Half' and all the other cards with 'half-and-half' Colour Squares:

These are the Colour Basics Connector Cards. They're the colours we get when we take a Corner Colour and connect it halfway with another Corner Colour:

6 Hue to Hue + 6 Hue to White + 6 Hue to Black + 1 Black to White = 19 more colours 

As we learned with ice cream, and then again with pizza, with only two versions of each element primary colour – 'all' or 'nothing' – we can make 8 Corner Colours.

Adding the option of 'only on half' to each of our three element primary colours, we take the colour possibilities to a new level. There are 19 Connector Colours in the Colour Basics deck. Add these to the 8 Corner Colours and we have a new total of 27 different 'none, half, or all' combinations.

3 = 27. That's a lot of pizza. And that's a lot of colours...