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Thread: Color Theory

  1. #11
    rbarker's Avatar
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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.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague
    Here is an interesting website to learn about color theory, and how the colors work together. Interesting.

    http://poynterextra.org/cp/colorproject/color.html
    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

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
    all analog color photographic products today are subtractive.

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

    Don Bryant

  4. #14
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donbga
    Ah, not exactly. Perhaps factory made products are subtractive but tri-color gum is additive.

    Don Bryant

    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

  5. #15

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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




    Quote Originally Posted by donbga
    Ah, not exactly. Perhaps factory made products are subtractive but tri-color gum is additive.

    Don Bryant

  6. #16

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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.

  7. #17
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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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

  8. #18

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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.

  9. #19

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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?"....

  10. #20
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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

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