Principles for the Effective Use of Color
Excellent color theory site for artists that
uses correct color theory and
Optics for kids (Education web site
of the Optical Society of America)
for additive (emission) and subtractive (absorption) colors
Industry Glossary of Terms
Color Gamut and Gamut
Munsell Color Science Laboratory
Comprehensive site aimed
at artists, including information on color perception, color theory, color
value, and mixing your own paint wheels.
of color, color vision, color models, color perception.
Color mixing guide - one
of the few artist-related sites to use the correct color wheel.
The Color Cube
Project LITE: Light Inquiry Through
Experiments - An undergraduate educational materials development project at
BU supported by NSF
The Joy of Visual Perception: A Web Book
Make a Splash
The Physics of Coloured Fireworks
Poynton's Color links
Charles A. Poynton
Pantone Home Page
Through the 6x6x6 Color
Cube: An Interactive Voyage
Web Color Charts plus Links
CVRL Color & Vision database
Color and Light: Java Tutorials
Information about the eye
Parts of the Eye Lesson Plan
Parts of the Eye
Vision and Art: the Biology of Seeing by Margaret Livingstone,
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 2002. (A wonderful, colorful,
understandable book about the human visual system and its relationship
to art with many excellent illustrative diagrams, photographs,
Color Analyzers (Grades 5-9), one
of the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) units,
available from the Lawrence Hall of Science, (510)-642-7771.
Colour: Art and Science, edited by
Trevor Lamb and Janine Bourriau, Cambridge University Press,
Color Theory and Its Application in Art
and Design, G. A. Agoston, Springer Verlag, 1987.
Human Color Vision, 2nd Edition,P.
K. Kaiser and R. M. Boynton, Optical Society of America, 1996.)
(An in-depth text on human color vision)
Evolution in Color, Frans Gerritsen,
Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1988. (SUPERB! Discusses the history
of color wheels and presents the arguments regarding the inconsistency
of the traditional color wheel and the rationale for using
the new color wheel.)
Handbook of Optics: Volume 1, Chapter
26: Colorimetry, ed by Michael Bass, McGraw-Hill, New
York, 1995. (Excellent and concise description of color models
Clouds in a Glass of Beer: Simple Experiments
in Atmospheric Physics,C. F. Bohren, John Wiley and Sons,
1987.) (A great book by a great scientist. Read this if you
want to see scientific thinking in action.)
What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?:
More Experiments in Atmospheric Physics,C. F. Bohren,
John Wiley and Sons, 1991) (Another great book by a great
scientist. Read this if you want to see more scientific thinking
Light and Color in Nature and Art,S.
J. Williamson and H. Z. Cummins, John Wiley and Sons, 1983.)
(An excellent conceptual discussion of a wide range of topics.)
Principles of Color Technology, Roy
S. Berns, John Wiley and Sons, 2000.) (Well written, complete,
up-to-date, extensive use of graphics makes it relatively easy
to understand. The book to get if you want to learn about color
at a more in-depth level or if you want a good reference.)
The Physics and Chemistry of Color: The
Fifteen Causes of Color,Kurt Nassau, John Wiley and Sons,
1983.) (An in-depth discussion of color - for a shorter version,
see Nassau's Scientific American article referenced below.)
Color Atlas: A Practical Guide for Color
Mixing, Harald Kueppers, Barron's Educational Series,
Color: Essence and Logic, Rolf G.
Kuehni, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 1983.
Colorimetry, Chapter 26 in Handbook of
Optics, Volume 1 , McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York, 1995.
The Colour Science of Dyes and Pigments, K.
McLaren, Adam Hilger Ltd., Bristol, England, 1986. See especially
pages 64-75, which provide a clear history of the development
of both color science and color misconceptions.
Digital Color Haftoning, Henry R.
Kang, IEEE Press, Piscataway, NJ, 1999. See especially pages
13 and 24.
Classical Electrodynamics, second edition, John
David Jackson, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY . See especially
pages 290 and 291. On page 290 is a plot of the absorption
coefficient of water as a function of frequency. As Jackson
states, "Then the absorption coefficient falls precipitously
over 7.5 decades to a value of alpha<3e-3 in a narrow frequency
range between 4e14 Hz and 8e14 Hz. It then rises again by more
than 8 decades by 2e15 Hz. This is a dramatic absorption window
in what we call the visible region. The extreme transparency
of water here has its origins in the basic energy level structure
of atoms and molecules. The reader may meditate on the fundamental
question of biological evolution on this water-soaked planet,
of why animal eyes see the spectrum from red to violet and
of why the grass is green. Mother nature has certainly exploited
Sources of Color Science, edited
by David L. MacAdam, the MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1970. Pages
95-100 are particularly informative as to the confusion that
existed regarding the primary colors as well as additive and
subtractive colors at the time of Helmholtz - 1866.
Color: a guide to basic facts and concepts,
R. W. Burnham, R. M. Hanes, and C. J. Bartleson, John Wiley
and Sons, New York, 1963. An excellent publication of the Inter-Society
Note this excerpt from section 188.8.131.52 "a)
When color samples are arranged in a circle according to the
hue responses that they elicit, complementary samples may be
placed opposite each other on the circle, so that a line drawn
diametrically between them will pass through the center, which
represents the neutral achieved by mixing the two stimuli responsible
for complementary colors.
b) In general, yellow hues are complementary
to blue hues, blue-green (cyan) hues are complementary to reds,
and bluish reds (magentas) are complementary to greens."
Color, Ruth Heller, Putnam and Grosset, New York 1995. (This book almost
gets things right. It correctly states that the primary hues used by printers
are yellow, magenta, and cyan, but then errs by claiming that mixtures of these
primaries make orange, purple, and green. The book has cyan, magenta, yellow,
and black transparencies that nicely overlay to produce a colored flower.)
"Basics of Display Color Specification," Peter
A. Keller, Information Display, January 1966, pp. 18-22.
"Confusing Color Concepts Clarified," L.
D. Woolf, The Physics Teacher, Volume 37, April 1999, pp. 204-206.
"The Causes of Color," K. Nassau,
Scientific American, Volume 243, Number 4, October1980, pp.
"Quest for Color," Cary Wolinsky,
National Geographic, Volume 196, Number 1, July1999, pp. 72-93.
"Who Invented the Color Wheel," C.
Parkhurst and R. L. Feller, Color Research and Applications,
Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 1982, pp. 217-230.
"Colors of the sky," C. F. Bohren
and A. B. Fraser, The Physics Teacher, May 1985, pp. 267-272.
This is a fantastic article by two of the best science writers
Life and Times of Roy G. Biv," C. F. Bohren, Optics
and Photonics News, August 1993, pp. 50-51. Here is a quote
from this article: "Newton, like all geniuses, is quoted
(inaccurately) vastly more often than read. It seems that
Roy G. Biv was born illegitimately on the pages on Newton's
Optiks (1704), where in Prop. II Theor. II we find that 'Rays
... appear tinged with this Series of Colors, violet, indigo,
blue, green, yellow, orange, and red, *together with all
their immediate Degrees of a continual Succession perpetually
varying. So that there appeared as many Degrees of Colours,
as there were Rays differing in Refrangibility*'[emphasis
added]. Failure to read or heed the emphasized words has
led to the notion that Newton believed the number of colors
to be seven. But what he really did was to rattle off a string
of color names and stopped at seven."
"Givers and Takers of Light," C.
F. Bohren, The World and I, August 1991, pp. 348-353.
"Multiple rainbows from single drops
of water and other liquids," Jearl D. Walker, American
Journal of Physics, Volume 44, No. 5, May 1976, pp. 421-433.
"What are "all the colors of the rainbow"?," Raymond
L. Lee Jr., Applied Optics, Volume 30, Number 24 . 20 August
1991, pp. 3401-3407.
"Why is Water Blue?," C. L. Braun
and S. N. Smirnov, Journal of Chemical Education, Volume 70,
Number 8. August 1993, pp. 612-614.
"Color Vision - Almost Reason Enough
for Having Eyes," J. Neitz, J. Carroll, and M. Neitz,
Optics and Photonics News, January 2001, pp. 26-33.
"Spectral Properties of Plants," D.
M. Gates et al., Applied Optics, Volume 4, Number 1. January
1965, pp. 11-20
"Some paradoxes, errors, and resolutions
concerning the spectral optimization of human vision," B.
H. Soffer andD. K. Lynch, American Journal of Physics, Volume
67, Number 11. November 1999, pp. 946-953.
"The peak brightness of the solar spectrum is in the green
plotted in wavelength units. It peaks in the near-infrared (880nm)
plotted in frequency units. Therefore the oft-quoted notion that
led to an optimized eye whose sensitivity peaks where there is
available sunlight is misleading and erroneous" "
... We have shown that, contrary to the belief expressed by many
the eye is only weakly optimized to take full advantage of the
solar spectrum. The erroneous belief often arises from blind
faith in the
power of evolution to optimize absolutely, coupled with a misunderstanding
of the nature of density distribution functions. That misunderstanding
appears in a diverse range of scientific literature. Other constraints
the eyes' evolutionary optimization besides the Sun's radiance
important, such as the historically significant influence of
transmission of water, the susceptibility of potentially available
biological materials such as photopigments to UV damage, and
of possible infrared sensitive photopigments."
"Evolution of the Color Diagram," F.
Gerritsen, Color Research and Applications, Volume 4, Number
1, Spring 1979, pp. 33-38.
"Colour Teaching - A New Color Circle" by
F. Gerritsen, pp. 494-498 in Colour 73, Survey Lectures
and Abstracts of the Papers Presented at the Second Congress
of the International Colour Association, John Wiley and
"Working Knowledge: Instant Film," Stephen
R. Herchen, Scientific American, January 2000, p 108.