All posts by Jireh Louie

Color Perception

I found it interesting that 8% of men experience visual color impairment, as opposed to .5% of women. The difference seemed surprisingly large to me. I also found it intriguing to learn that other organisms’ color spectrum varies quite a bit from a human’s. Some may be able to see less colors like dogs, but some have a spectrum that is much wider than a humans. I would be curious to see how the world would look through the eyes of different organisms.

Presentation Notes

Color Biology:

–       L cone red, M cone Green, S cone blue

–       In dim light you use rods, Rods don’t distinguish different color wavelengths

–       Some animals can see a wider range of colors

–       Mirrors reflect greenish light

–       Red and green light make yellow on a screen


Color Theory History:

–       Newton was the first to beginning to understand color theory. Breaking light w/ prism -> formed color wheel.

–       Tobias Mayer, Color Triangle w/3 primary colors (RBY)

–       Jacob Schaffer, formed color combinations with RBY with groups.

–       Johann Geothe, studied the psychological side of color.

–       Runge & Chevreul used white and black to create more colors

–       Munsell- cylindrical model to show hue, value, chroma

–       Hering more design focused color model, Primary RBYGBW, incorporates psychological side of color. Most used now


Color Psychology:

–       Red> Light: Warm+, Quiet-, Bright: Sensual+, Danger-, Dark: Rich+, Serious-

–       There are positive and negative reactions to colors

–       Majority of people prefer blue.


Modern Color Theory:

–       Munsell: created a system to numerically organize colors based off people’s response to color.

–       Itten: Studied Contrasts, light dark (white vs black), warm cool (Red orange vs Blue Green), extension, saturation, hue, complementary, simultaneous

–       Albers, Color interactions.

–       Color Mixing: Additive (light RGB) and Subtractive (print CMYK, paint RYB)

–       Complementary, Analogous, Triadic, Square


Applied Color:

–       60% of people decide on products based on their attraction to the logo which includes color

–       Color symbolism play a large role in determining colors for companies/products. Relating the color’s symbolism to the company/product’s function

–       Brand extension: repeating color usage throughout the brand

–       Color Navigation: blue links, etc

–       Contrast: black on white or white on black are generally better


Printing Color:

–       Offset printer- Like a stamp. Print in large quanitities. Large upfront cost.

–       Silkscreen printing

–       Laser printer

–       Inkjet


Color Computer and Screen Monitors

–       LCD vs AMOLED screens

–       More brightness and saturation in AMOLED screen

–       Computer software, hardware, browser, can all affect the display of color

–       HSV (hue, saturation, value)


Color Contrasts and Optical Illusions

I found it interesting how many factors affect how we perceive color. Different contrasts, lighting, patterns, etc can all change how we see a color. It was intriguing to learn that our brains are better at keeping colors constant through different lighting than when colors are simply paired with certain other colors. Another aspect of color that I found compelling dealt with Seurat’s experimentation with pointilist painting. Although complementary colors next to each other create a vibrancy, when used as small dots to cover larger areas, their color instead visually mix together to create more grayish colors.

With regards to optical illusions, I was most surprised to learn that your eyes could be tricked into seeing color with only black and white via different patterns.

Reading Assignment Color Theory and Psychology

I found it interesting that Newton’s investigation of color did not extend past a scientific approach. It seems that emotions from color would be innately experiential for most any human, so I find it odd that Newton would have ignored that. Goethe’s delving more deeply into how color affects emotional response I feel was definitely necessary.  It expands upon the possible uses for color and how powerful a tool it can become. I like Alber’s investigation of color interactions through mathematical proportions use of color, It provides a new perspective to achieving balance in a composition and once again expanded upon the potential for the use of color to communicate.

I can appreciate Munsell’s approach to color matching, since different hues don’t all have the same saturation. It feels like since a circle color model was made, all subsequent investigations of color resulted in more circle models. It’s refreshing to see that an artist was willing to step out of that structure and address color in a way he felt was more true to its actual nature.