Saturday, October 09, 2004

Introduction to colour
Colour is a sensation in our mind that arises from the effect of visible light energy on an object containing colorant as sensed by our eyes. The average human observer can sense 16 million colours and compare colours quite accurately. Describing colours is more difficult for linguistic and cultural reasons. Most languages have eleven basic colour names and these are not enough to communicate colour sensation. The most common ways of describing colour and colour difference are the Munsel system and the opponent theory of colour.

The Munsel system separates colour into Hue or colour; Value or Lightness the placement of the colour between black and white; and Chroma or Saturation the intensity of the colour for a specified lightness these are the standard terms for describing colour. The opponent theory proposes that the brain perceives colour in pairs of opposites Red and Green, Yellow and Blue and Black and White. To communicate colour accurately we use a set of terms derived from both of these systems:
  • Hue - Basic colour - Red, Yellow, Blue
  • Saturation - Intensity - Stronger or weaker
  • Lightness - Brightness - Darker or lighter


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