Colors


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After exposure to strong light in their sensitivity range, photoreceptors of a given type become desensitized. For a few seconds after the light ceases, they will continue to signal less strongly than they otherwise would. Colors observed during that period will appear to lack the color component detected by the desensitized photoreceptors. This effect is responsible for the phenomenon of afterimages , in which the eye may continue to see a bright figure after looking away from it, but in a complementary color.

Afterimage effects have also been utilized by artists, including Vincent van Gogh. When an artist uses a limited color palette , the eye tends to compensate by seeing any gray or neutral color as the color which is missing from the color wheel. For example, in a limited palette consisting of red, yellow, black, and white, a mixture of yellow and black will appear as a variety of green, a mixture of red and black will appear as a variety of purple, and pure gray will appear bluish.

The trichromatic theory is strictly true when the visual system is in a fixed state of adaptation. In reality, the visual system is constantly adapting to changes in the environment and compares the various colors in a scene to reduce the effects of the illumination. If a scene is illuminated with one light, and then with another, as long as the difference between the light sources stays within a reasonable range, the colors in the scene appear relatively constant to us. This was studied by Edwin Land in the s and led to his retinex theory of color constancy.

Both phenomena are readily explained and mathematically modeled with modern theories of chromatic adaptation and color appearance e. Colors vary in several different ways, including hue shades of red , orange , yellow , green , blue , and violet , saturation , brightness , and gloss.

Some color words are derived from the name of an object of that color, such as " orange " or " salmon ", while others are abstract, like "red". In the study Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution , Brent Berlin and Paul Kay describe a pattern in naming "basic" colors like "red" but not "red-orange" or "dark red" or "blood red", which are "shades" of red. The next colors to be distinguished are usually red and then yellow or green.

All languages with six "basic" colors include black, white, red, green, blue, and yellow. The pattern holds up to a set of twelve: black, gray, white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and azure distinct from blue in Russian and Italian , but not English. Individual colors have a variety of cultural associations such as national colors in general described in individual color articles and color symbolism. The field of color psychology attempts to identify the effects of color on human emotion and activity. Chromotherapy is a form of alternative medicine attributed to various Eastern traditions.

Colors have different associations in different countries and cultures. Different colors have been demonstrated to have effects on cognition. For example, researchers at the University of Linz in Austria demonstrated that the color red significantly decreases cognitive functioning in men. Most light sources are mixtures of various wavelengths of light.

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Many such sources can still effectively produce a spectral color, as the eye cannot distinguish them from single-wavelength sources. For example, most computer displays reproduce the spectral color orange as a combination of red and green light; it appears orange because the red and green are mixed in the right proportions to allow the eye's cones to respond the way they do to the spectral color orange.

A useful concept in understanding the perceived color of a non-monochromatic light source is the dominant wavelength , which identifies the single wavelength of light that produces a sensation most similar to the light source. Dominant wavelength is roughly akin to hue. There are many color perceptions that by definition cannot be pure spectral colors due to desaturation or because they are purples mixtures of red and violet light, from opposite ends of the spectrum. Some examples of necessarily non-spectral colors are the achromatic colors black, gray, and white and colors such as pink , tan , and magenta.

Two different light spectra that have the same effect on the three color receptors in the human eye will be perceived as the same color. They are metamers of that color. This is exemplified by the white light emitted by fluorescent lamps, which typically has a spectrum of a few narrow bands, while daylight has a continuous spectrum. The human eye cannot tell the difference between such light spectra just by looking into the light source, although reflected colors from objects can look different.

This is often exploited; for example, to make fruit or tomatoes look more intensely red.

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Similarly, most human color perceptions can be generated by a mixture of three colors called primaries. This is used to reproduce color scenes in photography, printing, television, and other media. There are a number of methods or color spaces for specifying a color in terms of three particular primary colors. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the particular application.

No mixture of colors, however, can produce a response truly identical to that of a spectral color, although one can get close, especially for the longer wavelengths, where the CIE color space chromaticity diagram has a nearly straight edge. Because of this, and because the primaries in color printing systems generally are not pure themselves, the colors reproduced are never perfectly saturated spectral colors, and so spectral colors cannot be matched exactly.

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However, natural scenes rarely contain fully saturated colors, thus such scenes can usually be approximated well by these systems. The range of colors that can be reproduced with a given color reproduction system is called the gamut. The CIE chromaticity diagram can be used to describe the gamut.

Another problem with color reproduction systems is connected with the acquisition devices, like cameras or scanners. The characteristics of the color sensors in the devices are often very far from the characteristics of the receptors in the human eye. In effect, acquisition of colors can be relatively poor if they have special, often very "jagged", spectra caused for example by unusual lighting of the photographed scene. A color reproduction system "tuned" to a human with normal color vision may give very inaccurate results for other observers.

The different color response of different devices can be problematic if not properly managed.

For color information stored and transferred in digital form, color management techniques, such as those based on ICC profiles , can help to avoid distortions of the reproduced colors. Color management does not circumvent the gamut limitations of particular output devices, but can assist in finding good mapping of input colors into the gamut that can be reproduced.

Additive color is light created by mixing together light of two or more different colors.

Red , green , and blue are the additive primary colors normally used in additive color systems such as projectors and computer terminals. Subtractive coloring uses dyes, inks, pigments, or filters to absorb some wavelengths of light and not others.

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The color that a surface displays comes from the parts of the visible spectrum that are not absorbed and therefore remain visible. Without pigments or dye, fabric fibers, paint base and paper are usually made of particles that scatter white light all colors well in all directions.

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When a pigment or ink is added, wavelengths are absorbed or "subtracted" from white light, so light of another color reaches the eye. If the light is not a pure white source the case of nearly all forms of artificial lighting , the resulting spectrum will appear a slightly different color. Red paint, viewed under blue light, may appear black.

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Red paint is red because it scatters only the red components of the spectrum. If red paint is illuminated by blue light, it will be absorbed by the red paint, creating the appearance of a black object. Structural colors are colors caused by interference effects rather than by pigments. Color effects are produced when a material is scored with fine parallel lines, formed of one or more parallel thin layers, or otherwise composed of microstructures on the scale of the color's wavelength.

If the microstructures are spaced randomly, light of shorter wavelengths will be scattered preferentially to produce Tyndall effect colors: the blue of the sky Rayleigh scattering, caused by structures much smaller than the wavelength of light, in this case air molecules , the luster of opals , and the blue of human irises. If the microstructures are aligned in arrays, for example the array of pits in a CD, they behave as a diffraction grating : the grating reflects different wavelengths in different directions due to interference phenomena, separating mixed "white" light into light of different wavelengths.

If the structure is one or more thin layers then it will reflect some wavelengths and transmit others, depending on the layers' thickness. Structural color is studied in the field of thin-film optics. The most ordered or the most changeable structural colors are iridescent. Structural color is responsible for the blues and greens of the feathers of many birds the blue jay, for example , as well as certain butterfly wings and beetle shells. Variations in the pattern's spacing often give rise to an iridescent effect, as seen in peacock feathers, soap bubbles , films of oil, and mother of pearl , because the reflected color depends upon the viewing angle.

Numerous scientists have carried out research in butterfly wings and beetle shells, including Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke. Since , electron micrography has been used, advancing the development of products that exploit structural color, such as " photonic " cosmetics. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Characteristic of human visual perception.

For other uses of "Color" and "Colour", see Color disambiguation.

List of colors: A–F - Wikipedia

For editing Wikipedia, see Help:Using colors. See also, Colorful disambiguation and Lists of colors. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Color theory. Main article: Color vision. Main article: Color blindness.

Main article: Tetrachromacy. Main article: Color constancy.

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