Category Archive 'Colors'
25 Mar 2017
A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin has developed a pair of glasses that allows the wearer to have tetrachromatic vision….
Humans have three types of cone cells in the back of the eye to differentiate color. Some react to blue, some to green and some to red. The cones do their work by responding to the difference in wavelength of the incoming light. Such vision is known as trichromatic. In this new effort, the researchers have found a way of fooling the brain into seeing as if there were a fourth type of cone, by wearing glasses with two types of filters. The result is tetrachromatic vision. …
The filters remove some parts of the blue light spectrum. But the filters each remove a different part. When the filters are fitted into a frame and worn like regular glasses, the wearer is able to see colors that are normally hidden—metamers. In a sense, it is rather the opposite of what occurs with people who are color blind. They might see blue and red as the same, even though there is more light information there. Adding spectrum identification to color blind eyes allows for seeing more of what is already there. With the new combined filter system, a person is able to look at what appears to be an object that is all the same color, such as purple, and see more colors in it—those normally hidden metamers.
Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.
17 Feb 2017
Dyers at work. Bartholomeus Anglicus and Jean Corbechon, Le Livres des Propriétés des Choses, Manuscript, Brussels, 1482.
Arts and Letters Daily excerpts a bit from Michel Pastoureau’s Red: The History of a Color.
The late Middle Ages and the modern period have left us works by great painters that are particularly remarkable for their range of reds. Let us mention Van Eyck, Uccello, Carpaccio, Raphael, and later, Rubens and Georges de La Tour. But all artists seemed to love this color and tried to draw various tonalities from it. Accordingly they chose their pigments, taking into account not only their physicochemical properties, their ability to cover or make opaque, their resistance to light, and how easily they could be worked or combined with other pigments but also their price, availability, and—what is most disconcerting to us—the name they went by. Indeed we can observe in the laboratory that in panel paintings from the late Middle Ages, symbolically “negative” reds—those coloring the fires of hell, the face of the Devil, the coat or feathers of infernal creatures, and all impure blood of one kind or another—were often painted with the same pigment: sandarac, a resin lacquer more commonly called “cinnabar of the Indies” or “dragon’s blood.” Various legends circulated in workshops regarding this pigment, a relatively expensive one because it had to be imported from far away. It was believed to come not from a plant resin but from the blood of a dragon, gored by its mortal enemy, the elephant. According to medieval bestiaries, which followed Pliny and the ancient authors here, the inside of the dragon’s body was filled with blood and fire; after a fierce struggle, when the elephant had punctured the dragon’s belly with its tusks, out flowed a thick, foul, red liquid, from which was made a pigment used to paint all the shades of red considered evil. Legend won out over knowledge in this case, and painters’ choices gave priority to the symbolism of the name over the chemical properties of the pigment.
Unlike the dyers, the painters of the modern period hardly profited at all from the discovery of the New World or the settling of Europeans in the Americas. No truly new colorants resulted from these events. But Mexican cochineal, transformed into lacquer, allowed them to perfect a subtle, delicate pigment in the range of reds, superior to earlier lacquers from brazilwood or kermes for fixing a glaze over vermilion. Beginning in the sixteenth century, vermilion experienced a steady rise in popularity and its production became something of an industry, first in Venice, the European capital of color, and then in the Netherlands and Germany. It was sold in apothecaries, hardware shops, and paint stores, and even though it was more expensive and less stable than minium, it eventually contributed to that pigment’s decline.
04 Jun 2013
Hat tip to Sarah Jenislawski.
24 Jun 2012
The Crayolification of the World, Part 1:
Different cultures and different languages recognize colors differently. In Japan, the traffic light we describe as green is referred to as blue.
Over time, new names have been invented for particular portions of the color continuum and, voilà, a new color was created.
Brent Berlin and Paul Kay began studying how 98 different languages name colors in the late 1960s.
Curiously, the differentiation of colors seems to proceed in stages, with various languages stopping at varying points in the same process of differentiation.
Of course, how we differentiate colors is, in the end, based on our physiological capabilities. Some other species with different eyes could differentiate fewer colors; some others far more.
We then come to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which holds that language determines how people conceptualize the world.
Koreans are familiar with the colors yeondu and chorok, both light green, but yeondu is a more yellowish light green. Looking at color charts, Koreans are found to differentiate yeondu from chorok quicker than Westerners who don’t speak Korean leading cognitive psychology types to infer that what must be happening is that the language-oriented portion of brain must be joining in to assist the visual perception of the Koreans.
This matches the results of experiments showing slight differences is the speed of color identification acuity between our right and left sides.
And apparently once children learn the names of colors, the advantage in speed changes from one side to the other.
And here’s a game which tests how good you are at matching colors.