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The painter's color wheel

Primary colors - the ``pure'' component colors from which are mixed other
colors in a given color system
Secondary colors - equal mixtures of two primary colors
Tertiary colors - unequal mixtures of two or more primary colors
A painters primaries can be somewhat aribitrarily chosen, but redish, yellowish,
and blueish color primaries plus black and white often form the core of a
painter's pallette

Combinations of different frequencies striking the cone cells of the retina cause
the sensation of different colors.
o e.g. the sensation of purple requires power in both the red and blue
spectral regions

Different spectral distributions can result in the same (or very similar) encoded
signals being sent to the brain and hence cause the perception of the "same"
color. This phenomenon is called metamerism.
The principal of metamerism underlies color reproduction systems.
Various spectral stimuli can be effected in a controlled manner by proportional
mixing of primary colors - typically three, and typically chosen to take
advantage of the "long", "medium" and "short" wavelength sensitivities of the
cones of the retina.

CIE (Commission Internationale de L'Eclairage) XYZ

tristimulus colors
Spectral sampling / tristimulus color
Human visual response is relatively consistent - "CIE standard observer" standardized in 1931
CIE XYZ primaries are "imaginary" primaries, abstracted from statistical
results from experiments with human observers, able to represent any
perceivable color

CIE color gamut for representative human perception

R,G,B additive primaries

R,G,B flashlight demo

R,G,B color wheel

R,G,B swatch demo

Raster graphics displays

Phosphor triads

Proportionally excited by voltages

Emissive display

Colors are "added" at source

RGB Color Space

RGB - Red, Green, Blue

o R,G,B color cube

o R, G, B sliders
o Hardware display oriented
o Not terribly intuitive for mixing tertiary colors

Subtractive primaries

C,M,Y color wheel

C,M,Y sliders

C,M,Y reflective surface

CMYK Color Space

CMY(K) - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, (Black)

o C,M,Y color cube

o Process printing oriented
o Also not terribly intuitive beyond secondary colors

C,M,Y/R,G,B slider demo, ideally:

o C = RGB White - R
o M = RGB White - G
o Y = RGB White - B
But this is not true in practice.

Printers and inks

Cyan(C), Magenta(M), Yellow(Y), Black(K) inks

Proportionally mixed through screen densities
Reflective display
A combination of incident illumination and reflective substrate (paper) provides
the "white point"
Colors are "subtracted" by the inks at the reflected source
CMY are not ideal filters in that there is some overlap of spectral absorbtion
among the three primaries
Note that Pantone Matching System (PMS) is fundamentally different from
CMYK process color. PMS colors are recipes for mixing standard printing inks
of various colors (much like painter's colors). CMYK colors are proportional,
screened percentages of coverage by the CMYK primary inks.

Perceived Attributes of Color

Hue - the primary wavelength(s) of a color
Lightness - the perceived luminance of a color
Saturation - the purity or vividness of a color

``Perceptual'' Color Spaces

HLS - Hue, Lightness, Saturation

Developed by Gerald Murch at Tektronix, also late 1970s

Perhaps a ``truer'' representation than HSV (see below)
Compare to RGB cube rotated

HSV - Hue, Saturation, Value

Developed by Alvy Ray Smith, around 1978, after artist's nomenclature

User oriented
Compare to RGB = 1 planes from RGB cube
Sometimes also referred to as HSB

Color difference / component

Separates luma or luminance component from chroma
Avoids ``crosstalk'' (cross-luma, cross-chroma) in video systems
Human eye is more sensitive to luminance change than to chroma change
Chroma channels may be subsampled for transmission or storage efficiencies
Color difference or component schemes often are used in conjunction with
digital video graphics
devices or JPEG and MPEG compression schemes

Application and/or device specific

Named color schemes, pen indices, etc.
Simple for user to specify color
Suitable for business graphics, for example, where precise color specification is
Often difficult for user to predict or control color

Key Points

Tristimulus color primary sytems have been derived to take advantage of the
unique spectral sensitivities of the human visual processing system
RGB and CMY(K) primaries are designed for use with specific and very
different techologies (monitors and process-printing)
User-oriented color spaces (HLS, HSV, named indices), while conceptually
convenient for the user, ultimately will be transformed to RGB or CMYK
during the display or printing process
Ultimately, your monitor displays RGB/voltages/phosphors; raster printers use
CMYK/inks; at some level(s) in your system colors are transformed from one
color space and/or device profile to another