Bands of colour

An observer perceives bands of colour because:

  • The human eye is able to distinguish between some ranges of wavelengths of visible light better than others.
  • Some ranges of wavelengths appear more intense to a human observer than others.
  • Colour is not a property of electromagnetic radiation, but a feature of visual perception.
  • It is the human brain that draws lines between different bands of colour when an observer looks at a rainbow for example.
  • A human observer can distinguish between colours corresponding with many thousands of single wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum. These colours are called spectral colours.
  • Combinations of wavelengths from different areas of the visible spectrum produce other colours when perceived by a human observer which are called non-spectral colours.
  • There is no property belonging to electromagnetic radiation that causes bands of colour to appear to an observer. The fact that we do see distinct bands is often described as an artefact of human colour vision.
  • The visible spectrum is formed of a smooth and continuous range of wavelengths that can be demonstrated to produce a smooth and continuous range of colours.
  • Cone cells in our eyes are particularly sensitive to red, green and blue wavelengths.
  • Our brains process information received from the eye to produce all the colours of the visible spectrum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow

Bipolar cells

Bipolar cells are a type of neuron found in the retina of the human eye. They are located between photoreceptors (rod cells and cone cells) and ganglion cells. They act, directly or indirectly, to transmit signals from the photoreceptors to the ganglion cells.

  • Bipolar cells are connected to rod and cone cells by synapses. These cells are located within the retina between these photoreceptors and ganglion cells.
  • There are around 12 types of bipolar cells that function as integrating centres. Each type acts directly or indirectly, as a conduit from a photoreceptor to ganglion cells and each carries a different parsing of its output. So, each type of bipolar cell that contacts a given rod or cone transmits a different analysis and interpretation of information extracted from its output.
  • The output of bipolar cells onto ganglion cells includes both the direct response of the bipolar cell to signals derived from phototransduction but also responses to those signals received indirectly from information and actions provided by amacrine cells.
  • We might imagine a type of bipolar cell that connects directly from a cone to a ganglion cell and simply compares signals on the basis of what is known of their wavelength. The ganglion cell uses the information to determine whether a certain point is a scene is red or green.
  • Not all bipolar cells synapse directly with a single ganglion cell. Some channel information that is sampled by different sets of ganglion cells. Others terminate elsewhere within the complex lattices of interconnections within the retina enabling them to carry packets of information to an array of different locations and cell types.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina_bipolar_cell

Black body

An object that absorbs all radiation falling on it, at all wavelengths, is called a black body.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbody_radiation

Brightness

The brightness (luminance, brilliance) of an object refers to the quality, apart from hue and saturation that an observer uses to determine the comparative brightness of another object.

In terms of tonal differences, pure white has the maximum brightness, and pure black the minimum brightness.

In terms of colour, a pure yellow may appear to be much brighter than a pure blue.

  • Brightness is a colour coordinate in the HSB colour model.
  • Brightness is the perception elicited by the luminance of a visual target.
  • Brightness should not be confused with lightness.
  • In general terms, brightness is an attribute of visual perception used to refer to whether one object appears to be radiating or reflecting more or less light than another.
  • The field of photometry, the science of the measurement of light, recognises that the human eye is not equally sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light.

Chemical bond

A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atoms, ions or molecules that enables the formation of chemical compounds.

  • A chemical compound consists of two or more atoms from different elements chemically bonded together.
  • There are two types of chemical bond: covalent bonds and ionic bonds:
    • A covalent bond forms when two atoms share a pair of electrons.
    • Atoms can lose or gain electrons in chemical reactions. When they do this they form charged particles called ions.
  • Chemical bonds occur because opposite charges attract via the electromagnetic force.
  • Negatively charged electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom and the positively charged protons in the nucleus attract each other.
  • An electron positioned between two nuclei will be attracted to both of them, and the nuclei will be attracted toward electrons in this position. This attraction constitutes the chemical bond.
  • Due to the matter-wave nature of electrons and their smaller mass, they must occupy a much larger amount of volume compared with the nuclei, and this volume occupied by the electrons keeps the atomic nuclei in a bond relatively far apart, as compared with the size of the nuclei themselves.
  • The physical world is held together by chemical bonds, which dictate the structure and the bulk properties of matter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_bond

Chromatic dispersion

Chromatic dispersion refers to the way that light, under certain conditions, separates into its component wavelengths and the colours corresponding with each wavelength become visible to a human observer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispersion_(optics)

Chromatic dispersion

Colour

Things appear coloured because colour corresponds with a property of light that is visible to the human eye. The visual experience of colour is associated with words such as red, blue, yellow, etc.

Colour

Things appear coloured because colour corresponds with a property of light that is visible to the human eye. The visual experience of colour is associated with words such as red, blue, yellow, etc.

The colour an observer sees depends on:

Light is electromagnetic radiation (radiant energy), which, detached from its source, is transported by electromagnetic waves (or their quanta, photons) and propagates through space. Even if humans had never evolved, electromagnetic radiation would have been emitted by stars since the formation of the first galaxies over 13 billion years ago.

The experience of colour is a feature of human vision that depends first of all on the construction of our eyes and the wavelength, frequency and amplitude of visible light that strikes the retina at the back of each eye.

Because colour is a visual experience that is specific to each and every one of us at any given moment, we can try and share our experiences of colour using language but colour cannot be defined without examples.

The name given to light that contains all wavelength of the visible spectrum is white light.

When white light strikes a neutral coloured object, and all wavelengths are reflected, then it appears white to an observer.

The term white light doesn’t mean light is white as it travels through the air.

As light travels through the air it is invisible to our eyes.

The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. It is the sensitivity of the eye to this small part of the electromagnetic spectrum that results in the perception of colour.

The colour an observer sees depends on the wavelengths of visible light emitted by a light source and on which of those wavelengths are reflected off an object.

Although a human observer can distinguish between many thousands of wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum our brains often produce the impression of bands of colour.

As light travels from one medium to another, such as from air to glass, the wavelength changes but the frequency remains the same so the colour seen by an observer remains the same.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color

Colour constancy

Colour constancy refers to the ability of the human eye and brain to automatically compensate when objects change colour because of changes in illumination.

  • Colour vision relies on colour constancy to enable an observer to perceive the colour of an object as almost unchanged as levels of illumination change and the spectral distributions of light changes.
  • A human observer will often not notice when the colour of object changes as the source of illumination changes e.g. sunlight to artificial light.
  • Colour vision allows us to distinguish different objects by their colour. In order to do so, colour constancy can keep the perceived colour of an object relatively unchanged when the illumination changes among various broad (whitish) spectral distributions of light.
  • Colour constancy is achieved by chromatic adaptation. The International Commission on Illumination defines white (adapted) as “a colour stimulus that an observer who is [chromatically] adapted to the viewing environment would judge to be perfectly achromatic and to have a luminance factor of unity. The colour stimulus that is considered to be the adapted white may be different at different locations within a scene.
  • The effect of changes in colour balance is very noticeable when comparing photographs of the same subject taken in different lighting conditions. Cameras use white balance to compensate for changes in illumination.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_constancy

Colour model

A colour model is a mathematical system used to describe colours using a set of numeric values.

A colour model is a way of:

  • Making sense of the colours we see around us in the world.
  • Understanding the relationship of colours to one another.
  • Understanding how to mix each type of coloured media to produce predictable results.
  • Specifying colours using names, codes, notation, equations etc.
  • Organising and using colours for different purposes.
  • Using colours in predictable and repeatable ways.
  • Working out systems and rules for mixing and using different types of colour.
  • Creating colour palettes, gamuts and colour guides.

Colour model

A colour model is a mathematical system used to describe colours using a set of numeric values.

A colour model is a way of:

  • Making sense of the colours we see around us in the world.
  • Understanding the relationship of colours to one another.
  • Understanding how to mix each type of coloured media to produce predictable results.
  • Specifying colours using names, codes, notation, equations etc.
  • Organising and using colours for different purposes.
  • Using colours in predictable and repeatable ways.
  • Working out systems and rules for mixing and using different types of colour.
  • Creating colour palettes, gamuts and colour guides.

Why use colour models?

  • Colour models help to relate colours to:
    • One another
    • Light sources, objects and materials
    • Experience and perception.
  • Colour models make sense of the fact that coloured lights, transparent inks and opaque paints (etc.) all produce different results when mixed.
  • Colour models help us manage the fact that colours mean and feel different and have different associations depending on context.
  • Colours models help us manage the fact that colours behave and appear differently:
    • When emitted by different types of light source.
    • When applied to, mixed with, or projected onto different materials.
    • When used for different purposes (fabrics, electrical wiring and components, print media, movies etc.)
    • When seen or used in different situations (indoors, in sunlight, in low light, on a digital display etc.)

Additive and subtractive colour

There are two principal types of colour model, additive and subtractive. Additive colour models are used when mixing light to produce colour. Subtractive colour models are used for printing with inks and dyes. The most common colour models used by graphic designers on a day to day basis are the RGB model on their computer displays and the CMYK model for digital printing.

Remember that:

  • Seeing colour results from how our eyes process light waves.
  • In the real world, colours are changing all the time, appear differently in different situations and are infinitely variable.
  • So colour models help to make sense of a chaotic world.

What colour models do?

A colour model helps to do any of the following:

  • Decide what colours to mix to get the colour you want.
  • Know what happens when you mix two or more colours together.
  • Provide a name or code for a colour or a series of colours you want to use again.
  • Give you a list of colours produced by a rainbow or by a digital display.
  • Provide a system to mix a palette of colours from red, green and blue (RGB) or from cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY).

Spectral colour model

The spectral colour model (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet)  is associated with rainbows and the refraction and dispersion of wavelengths of light into bands of colour.

RGB colour model

RGB (red, green, blue) is an additive colour model based on the trichromatic theory of colour vision. It is widely used in video cameras, for producing colour on digital screens and with software such as Adobe Creative Cloud.

CMY(K) colour model

CMY (cyan, magenta, yellow) is a subtractive colour model. It is the standard colour model for digital printing. Printers often include a fourth component, black ink (K), to increase the density of darker colours and blacks.

RYB colour model

RYB (red, yellow, blue) is a subtractive colour model. It is the standard colour model used for artist paints and opaque pigments.

HSB colour model

HSB (hue, saturation, brightness) is a popular colour model because it is more intuitive and so easier to use when adjusting colour with digital software such as Adobe Creative Cloud.

HSB is one of a family that also includes HSV (hue, saturation, value) and HSI (hue, saturation, intensity).

Applications of colour models

Colour models have many applications including:

  • Understanding colour vision.
  • Mixing different coloured media eg. lights, paints, inks and dye.
  • Using colour with different equipment and technologies.
  • Storing and sharing colour information eg. notation systems and file types.
  • Describing and naming colours in a consistent way.
  • Nomenclature for describing similar things eg. systems for describing birds according to their colour.
  • Comparing colours eg. swatches and samples.

Colour models, colour spaces and colour systems

  • Colour models are device-dependent. This means that a colour specified as R=220, G=180, B=140 might appear differently on two digital monitors or when printed by different printers with the same specifications. In other words, the exact colour produced depends on the device that produces it not on the colour model itself.
  • A colour space describes the range of colours that an observer might see. Colour spaces can be very limited when a photo is printed on a low price digital printers, large when the same image is viewed on a high definition digital displays, or huge when the original scene is viewed in bright sunlight on a summer day.
  • A colour system considers all the factors that affect the observer, the colour model, how information is encoded before sending to the output device and the circumstances in which it is expected to be viewed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_model

Colour notation

The most common forms of colour notation used with computer software and by digital equipment are the triplets of the  RGB and HSB colour models and the quadruplets used by CMYK model.

  • RGB notation can be represented in decimal or hexadecimal formats.
    • Decimal RGB notation for orange is: R=255, G=128, B=0.
    • Hexadecimal RGB notation  for orange is: #FF8000.
  • HSB notation is represented in a decimal format.
    • The HSB notation for orange is: H=30.12, S=100, B=100.
  • CMYK notation is represented in a decimal format.
    • The CMYK notation for orange is: C=0, M=61.48, Y=100, K=0.

Colour vision

Colour vision is the ability of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths (or frequencies) of the light they emit, reflect or transmit. The human eye and brain together translate light into colour.

  • The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. Light, however, is rarely of a single wavelength, so an observer will usually be exposed to a range of different wavelengths of light or a mixture of wavelengths from different areas of the spectrum.
  • Colours can be measured and quantified in various ways; indeed, a person’s perception of colour is a subjective process whereby the brain responds to the stimuli that are produced when incoming light reacts with several types of cone cells in the eye. In essence, different people see the same illuminated object or light source in different ways.

Colour vision

Colour vision is the ability of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths (or frequencies) of the light they emit, reflect or transmit. The human eye and brain together translate light into colour.

  • The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. Light, however, is rarely of a single wavelength, so an observer will usually be exposed to a range of different wavelengths of light or a mixture of wavelengths from different areas of the spectrum.
  • Colours can be measured and quantified in various ways. But an observer’s perception of colour is a subjective process whereby their brain responds to stimuli that are produced when incoming light reacts with light-sensitive cells at the back of their eye. As a result, different people may see the same illuminated object or light source in different ways.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_vision

Colour wheel

A colour wheel is a diagram based on a circle divided into segments. The minimum number of segments is three with a primary colour in each. Segments added between the primaries can then be used to explore the result of mixing adjacent pairs of primary colours together. Additional segments can then be added between all the existing segments to explore the result of mixing further pairs of adjacent colours.

  • The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. It is the sensitivity of the eye to this small part of the electromagnetic spectrum that results in the perception of rainbow colours.
  • Colour wheels are often used in technologies which reproduce colour in ways that match the light sensitivity of the three different types of cone cells and the rod cells in the human eye.
  • Colour wheels exploring additive colour models and subtractive colour models use different sets of primary colours.
  • An RGB colour wheel, used to explore additive mixing of light, starts with red, green and blue primary colours.
  • The colours produced in between the primary colours in a colour wheel are called secondary colours.
  • The colours produced in between the secondary colours in a colour wheel are called tertiary colours.
  • A CMY colour wheel, used to explore subtractive mixing of pigments and inks (used in digital printing) starts with cyan, magenta and yellow primary colours.
  • An RYB colour wheel used to explore the subtractive mixing of art pigments and paints starts with red, yellow and blue primaries.
  • The colour wheels described above all depend on trichromatic colour vision which involves three receptor types (cone cells) processing colour stimuli.

Colour wheel

A colour wheel is a diagram based on a circle divided into segments. The minimum number of segments is three with a primary colour in each. Segments added between the primaries can then be used to explore the result of mixing adjacent pairs of primary colours together. Additional segments can then be added between all the existing segments to explore the result of mixing further pairs of adjacent colours.

  • The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. It is the sensitivity of the eye to this small part of the electromagnetic spectrum that results in the perception of rainbow colours.
  • Colour wheels are often used in technologies which reproduce colour in ways that match the light sensitivity of the three different types of cone cells and the rod cells in the human eye.
  • Colour wheels exploring additive colour models and subtractive colour models use different sets of primary colours.
  • An RGB colour wheel, used to explore additive mixing of light, starts with red, green and blue primary colours.
  • The colours produced in between the primary colours in a colour wheel are called secondary colours.
  • The colours produced in between the secondary colours in a colour wheel are called tertiary colours.
  • A CMY colour wheel, used to explore subtractive mixing of pigments and inks (used in digital printing) starts with cyan, magenta and yellow primary colours.
  • An RYB colour wheel used to explore the subtractive mixing of art pigments and paints starts with red, yellow and blue primaries.
  • The colour wheels described above all depend on trichromatic colour vision which involves three receptor types (cone cells) processing colour stimuli.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_wheel

Complementary

In the context of a discussion of light (as opposed to pigments) complementary colours are two colours that, when mixed together, produce white light.

  • When working with the RGB colour model, combining the wavelengths corresponding with red, green and blue primary colours produces white for a human observer.
  • The complementary colour of each primary colour when working with the RGB colour model is the secondary colour produced by combining the other two primaries.
  • The complementary primary–secondary combinations of light are red–cyan, green–magenta, and blue–yellow.
  • Combinations of complementary primary–secondary colours at full intensity make white light because together they contain wavelengths corresponding with all three primaries.
  • A complementary colour plus a primary colour combine to produce white because each complementary colour is the product of combing two primaries.
  • So a complementary colour produced by combining green and blue primaries makes white when combined with red.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementary_colors