Color Theory

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by roteague, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. roteague

    roteague Member

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  2. mark

    mark Member

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    Thanks robert I have been looking for a sight like this. There is one out there that demonstrates color theory in photographs but I have not been able to find it since I lost my Favorites in a computer crash.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Interesting web site, but I hasten to point out that it approaches color from the additive standpoint and all analog color photographic products today are subtractive.

    Color is color, of course, but some things would be explained differently if it were a subtractive color system being examined.

    PE
     
  4. roteague

    roteague Member

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    True, my interest is more along the lines of how different colors make people feel, and how colors change our perception of a scene.
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Robert

    I would also like to point out as PE did that this could be misleading.

    Red Green and Blue are *our * additive colours
    Cyan Magenta and Yellow are *our* subtractive colours

    Complimentary Colours are

    Red > Cyan
    Green > Magenta
    Yellow > Blue

    Mixing of colours

    Equal Yellow and Magenta = Red
    Equal Red and Green =Yellow
    Equal Yellow and Cyan =Green
    Equal Green and Blue =Cyan
    Equal Cyan and Magenta =Blue
    Equal Blue and Red =Magenta


    from here you could then break it down further but I will get too tired to go on.
    I saw on Luminus Landscape the description of Colour Therory as you have shown with the web site. I like the sections on how one percieves colour but make no mistake .

    When working with light and photographic colour materials the above is the Colour Basics.
    As well PhotoShop works with these principles.

    This is one of the areas of teaching that I think some photographers get side tracked.
    I had a good book from college that explains Photographic Colour Theory, but I lost the book .
    If anyone has a lead on a good book I would appreciate it.
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I have a day off from work, but I have a cold and I'm feeling blue. I'm embarrassed because I know how I got the cold; I kissed my snotty-nosed kid and it's leaving me a bit red-in-the-face. My frieds are all out with their cameras while I'm home with a cup or tea - I'm green with envy. What color room should I go to in order to hasten recovery?
     
  7. roteague

    roteague Member

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    True, this site isn't geared specifically towards photography. My primary interest, is one of understanding how color photography impacts the viewer, how certain colors impact a viewer emotions. This is the most useful part of the site, IMO. However, since one of my long term goals is to publish a book of photographs, it doesn't hurt to understand the publishing side of things (including web publishing) as well.

    FWIW, I understand the basics of color in the darkroom process, I'm an old Cibachrome printer - learned the process in 1979. I've also printed Agfacolor and the older Kodak color processes.
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Is the emotional response to colour dependent on culture? Yes?

    When I was taught RYB-type colour theory, Johannes Itten's books were the things to read. I'd recommend them as a starting point.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Thanks Helen, I'll look for that book. From what I've read, I believe that you are correct about color being dependent upon the culture. For example, in Korea (where I lived for 5 years), white is considered the color of death (that is what people wore to funerals), where in the west we associate it more with joy and happiness.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If you want CMY color theory read Evans, Hanson and Brewer.

    PE
     
  11. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Thanks for the link, Robert (and Helen and PE for the other references). Color theory is very interesting, paricularly when cultural differences are factored in. (I once served as the U.S. rapporteur to the ISO POSIX software internationalization effort.)

    I've bookmarked the link for later reference, as I'll admit that my real understanding of color theory is perhaps best expressed in shades of grey - a Zone II, perhaps. :wink:
     
  12. Jed Freudenthal

    Jed Freudenthal Member

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    I saw the website, and was surprised to see a painting of van Gogh ( from the same country from were I come from, the Netherlands) as an example for the use of color. In Europe, van Gogh is, like most other painters, considered as painters of light. What attracts in the painting is the light and not the color. It is misleading. The light is put in the underpainting. The color is is just something on top of it. The psychology comes from the underpainting.

    Jed
     
  13. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Ah, not exactly. Perhaps factory made products are subtractive but tri-color gum is additive.

    Don Bryant
     
  14. Photo Engineer

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    Don, then please explain to us how you get a yellow out of R and G pigments in a reflection print material.

    Additive color theory says that this will not work.

    In fact, additive color can only work with a transparency AFAIK. This is the only way to get black and white as well.

    PE
     
  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Don,

    This is not correct. Three-color gum, like three-color carbon and dye transfer, are subtractive processes. Each of the color layers functions as a filter through which white light must pass, and as it does the color layers "subtract" a portion of the visible spectrum. That is, the final color depends on how much of the visible light is absorbed by the filters, or color layers.

    Sandy




     
  16. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    Bear in mind these are all colour "theories" - they are just that theories about how colour works. They change with fad and fashion. Politics, psychology and history have as much impact as art or science on them (why did Newton pick 7 colours in the spectrum and try rather oddly to squeeze indigo and violet in after blue at the end of the spectrum? - Because he believed it should mirror the scales in music

    "The light is put in the underpainting. The color is is just something on top of it. The psychology comes from the underpainting."

    What a wonderful example of the old biases against colour - that extend from Aristotles "colour is merely cosmetic" right through to the teacher telling you in kindergarten to "make sure you colour inside the lines.

    Anyone who is really interested in colour should read David Batchelor's "Chromophobia" - it's a great read and will send you of looking at other work on colour in all sorts of directions.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tim;

    It is not color theory by any means.

    It is lots of math, physics and chemistry.

    Try the following references:

    Principles of Color Technology by Billmeyer and Saltzman.

    Principles of Color Photography by Evans, Hanson and Brewer.

    An Introduction to Color by Evans.

    Of course there are fads and fashions in art applications, but in this context, color is anything but theory.

    PE
     
  18. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    even the math and science is often influenced by such things (the Newton point is just one such example - in a way we still have those two colours as an "official" part of the spectrum).

    Colour often doesn't even transfer from one culture to another. What someone in Japan calls green you might call yellow. Some languages lack words for colours you or I "see" - others have words for for colours you or I don't quite perceive.

    Evans and Evans, Hanson and Brewer are both very good examples of this. Plenty of math and scence with what you might call a nice mix of psychology and culturally relative conditioning

    The math and science is only one part of it. How we actually perceive and understand colour is another. For example, the whole colour wheel/complimentary colours idea is similarly very much a social construct.
     
  19. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    Some other good reads in this area apart from Chromophobia are

    Gage - Colo r and Culture (and also his Color and Meaning)

    Eco - How Culture Conditions the Colours We See - in On Signs

    Berlin & Kay - Basic Color Terms


    ...."is that a yellow volkswagen? Or is it yellow that happens to be a volkswagen?"....
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Tim;

    I think that you have to add that in the Japanese language you can conjugate adjectives as if they were verbs and so you can have the past tense of a color which leads to an interesting mental block in the western mind.

    In fact, direct translation is rather impossible with this type of use of an adjective.

    PE
     
  21. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2006
  22. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Perceptual shifts may also be medical, as in synaesthesia.

    NLP practitioners have shown that they can pretty easily induce synaesthetic color experiences in most anyone, indicating that the experience is not actually rare at all -- only the recognition of it is.

    As mentioned in this Science News article, researchers have found that color expectations can have direct effect on readability of (Chinese) text -- seeing the word "red" written in blue takes longer for the brain to process and understand.

    "The psychology comes from the underpainting" is one of the strangest lines I've read in weeks.