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IND301

COLOR THEORY
Final Report (4311 words)
Maaz Amin 109004

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CONTENTS
Science behind colours ......................................................................................................... 3
References ................................................................................................................................. 5
Bibliography .................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.

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SCIENCE BEHIND COLOURS

Introduction
Scientifically, color is a theoretical thing, not a practical thing.
Practically/Realistically these are the light waves of different wavelengths
that the human eye can distinguish (Stone, 2006). Color is a visual sensation
depending on three related: light, an object, and an observer (Verity, 1980).
Color cant be touched, tasted, smelled or heard. The various rays that can be
distinguished by our eyes are altogether called as visible spectrum. This
comprises of ROYGBIV i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
There are light waves or colors that some animals and insects can sense but
the humans cannot, these colors are ultraviolet and infrared that lie beyond
the range of visible spectrum. Infrared is present beside red and ultraviolet is
present beside violet. The visible spectrum along with infrared and ultraviolet
waves is known as white light. White light actually separates into an
uninterrupted gradation of colors. Wrapping these colors around a circle
creates a hue circle or color wheel. There is no clear separation between the
colors in the continuous spectrum created by a prism. Sir Isaac Newton
wrapped the spectrum around a circle by joining two ends of the visible
spectrum, red and violet. He saw the hues smoothly grading into each other
but in his diagram he identified only the seven colors known as ROYGBIV
Artists traditionally concentrate on six basic colors and drop indigo.

Human Perception of Colours


So in addition to the visible spectrum, human eye also detects white
(which includes all the colors of the spectrum) and black. Black
represents the absence of color i.e. no visible light reaches the eye. On
the other hand, if there is presence of white light but an object appears
black, this means that the surface of the object is absorbing almost all
the light and reflecting so little that the eye perceives it as black (Stone,
2006). The absorption or bouncing of light by a surface or object
depends upon its molecular structure or atomic bonding. For example,
graphite is black whereas diamond is clear/transparent even though
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both are made from carbon. This is because of the difference of


molecular structure. Different structures absorb light differently.
Diamond like glass allows light to travel through it (Cat, 2009). Red
green and blue are considered as primary colors because all other
colors are generated from a mixture of these colors. The human eye
also has three types of color receptor cells or cones that are red, green
and blue. All of the incoming light is converted to these three colors
and then mixed back. From the spectrum of white light, the
combination of red, blue and green creates a great amount of colors
but humans can only distinguish among approximately 10 million
colors, this visible spectrum is called as human color space (Stone,
2006).

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REFERENCES

Stone, T. (2006). Color Design Workbook: A Real World Guide to Using Color
in Graphic Design. USA: Rockport Publishers, Inc.
Verity, E. (1980). Color observed. USA: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Cat, C. (2009). Why Diamonds are white and Graphite is black but both are
Carbon. Retrieved from http://commercecat.hubpages.com/hub/WhyDiamonds-are-white-and-Graphite-is-black

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