RWBY and Hair Color

What is RWBY?

35715_rwbyOk folks, this is a total geek out article. However, I have noticed it is necessary for those in the RWBY fan base. For those of you that don’t know what RWBY is, it is an american anime show (currently 4 volumes), produced by Rooster Teeth and created by the late Monty Oum. It is based upon a make-believe world called “Remnant”, where an energy source called “Dust” powers everything, and real physical manifestations of evil (monsters) called “Grimm” prowl the world. People have learned to exploit this energy source to battle these Grimm. Dust has given them power and protection. The power emanates from their “Aura” and aura can act as sort of an energy shield for a time. This allows them to deflect projectiles and physical blows. Aura and Dust also give them unique powers called a “Semblance”, which is unique to every person.

RWBY_Kick_ButtThe story is about a group of students attending a school that teaches them to become huntsmen and huntresses. Special agents with skills to fight Grimm and keep law and order. The protagonist of the story is a 15 year old girl named “Ruby” and her teammates Weiss, Blake, and sister Yang who are all 17 years old. Hence “RWBY”, which is the name of their team and obviously the first letter of each girl’s name. There are other supporting characters in other teams, but their good friends are Jaune (male), Pyyrha (female), Nora (female), Ren (male), and Penny (female…).

You get to see these groups learn how to fight monsters, but also get themselves caught up in a worldwide conspiracy to throw the world into chaos, and they want to stop it. As the story goes on, you learn Ruby is extra special and it’s based on her silver eyes.

Velvet being bullied because she is a Faunus

Velvet being bullied because she is a Faunus

The show also deals with a sentient species of what appears to be humans with animal attributes called the Faunus. They can have cat ears, monkey tails, rabbit ears, horns, anything, but still are basically “human” in their intelligence and appearance. There is rampant bigotry against the Faunus in this world, and it fuels what is happening. Blake, is a Faunus, but hides her cat ears with a bow, and only her friends know. She used to be a member of a terrorist group called “The White Fang” that wants to rid the world of humans, mainly because of how they are treated by many humans, but Blake only wants peace between the races, so she left the organization shortly after it turned from protest group to terrorist group.

Hair Color

This fine piece shows this artist knows Ruby's hair color.

This fine piece shows this artist knows Ruby’s hair color. (Attribution unknown)

In RWBY, color plays an important factor, as people name their children after aspects or names of colors, due to the fact the last world war was about being able to express imagination and art, which was repressed originally by oppressive governments. Weiss has white hair. Blake has black hair (like a black cat). Yang is blonde and has long yellow hair. Ruby is controversial with many in the fanbase, even though it’s obvious. Ruby has ruby-red hair, and even one of the bad guys calls her “Red” every time he has a run in with her. RWBY is animated with cell shaded 3D animated characters, and Ruby’s hair is so deeply dark red (ruby-red), that it can appear to be black or black with red tips, due to the lighting. Well, people not familiar with lighting, and how it affects color, think Ruby’s hair is black with red tips, and you frequently see the cosplayers wearing wigs displaying this. Sorry to break it to them, but Ruby’s hair is red, and I will prove it. Seriously folks, why would her parents, in a world with children named after colors, be called “Ruby” if there wasn’t something about her to cause this naming, before she was old enough to dye her hair, or dress in the colors matching her name?  This is a “no brainer”.

This excellent piece is by Lo-Wah.

This excellent piece is by Lo-Wah on Deviant-Art. He knows what Ruby’s hair color is.

I have noticed that some great fanart, by artists familiar with the concept of shadows and lighting notice Ruby’s hair color too.

I will use screen captures (of the BluRay, not YouTube) of various scenes in Volume 1 of the series where Ruby’s hair is obvious. I will then increase the brightness of the scene, and then the color saturation. If this doesn’t settle the matter, then I can’t help you.

Regarding Saturation, black is a complete lack of color or hue.  Increasing saturation for black should always show… black.  If there is any other color information (like a ruby red hue), then this will be brought out to be obvious color it is based on.

What’s this mean?  If Ruby has black hair with red tips, then only the tips should have red in them.  The non-tipped part of her hair should remain black (or gray).  If it comes out as red, then it’s merely a very dark hue of red (ruby red).

These Images Were Captured From The Volume 1 Blu-Ray. Each Example Has The Original Image, Followed By The Image With Its Brightness Increased, Followed By The Image With Color Saturation Increased. Click to see the image full sized.
Ruby from RWBY by Rooster Teeth Productions

The first episode, and introduction to Ruby and her scythe Crescent Rose. Not quite so obvious on her ruby red hair, but we are just getting started.

Ruby below Torchwick's vertibird as it lights everything up.Ruby below Torchwick’s vertibird as it lights everything up.
Ruby being interrogated after the fight with TorchwickRuby being interrogated after the fight with Torchwick Still being interrogatedStill being interrogated
More interrogationMore interrogation Ruby in "Chibi" form (it's an anime thing) admiring the other student's weapons.

Ruby in “Chibi” form (it’s an anime thing) admiring the other student’s weapons.

More of Ruby chibi styleMore of Ruby Chibi style. The last Ruby Chibi exampleThe last Ruby Chibi example.

There are many more examples in the 4 volumes Rooster Teeth have produced thus far.  In fact, from Volume 4, the obviousness of her hair color is actually more pronounced.  The lighting and rendering quality is better.

Why I Chose The BluRay Instead of YouTube Sources

YouTube uses the x264 and WEBM video codecs, very lossy formats.  It tosses away a lot of color information to give a high compression ratio.  It’s very similar to JPEG in lossiness.  The codecs used in BluRay preserve a very high portion of color and detail.  Which is why the size of a video on a BluRay is considerably higher than the same video in x264 format.

This is why I went to the BluRay instead of YouTube.

For The Curious, Here Are The Trailers For The Show


Play the “RWBY – Grimm Eclipse” video game!

Recently, the developers for this game removed the very well made models with proper coloring and shading, and replaced them with craptastic poorly shaded and poorly colored models, that look like plastic dolls. To simulate shading and lighting, they gave Ruby red-tipped black hair, which is wrong. I’d prefer they return to the original models, at least with an “Ultra” setting option for this, where the coloring and lighting was accurate. They changed the models to accommodate users with ancient and slow PCs. Which is nice and all, but gives the finger to those with nice systems.

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