ColorMix.gif (1372 bytes) Color
A. General Color Information  B.  Color Science/Theory  C.  Color and Computers

Appearance R.W.G. Hunt, "The Specification of Colour Appearance:  I.  Concepts and Terms,"
Color Research and Application, Vol 2, No 2, Summer 1977, pp. 55-68

R.W.G. Hunt, "The Specification of Colour Appearance:  II.  Effects of Changes in Viewing Conditions,"
Color Research and Application, Vol 2, No 3, Fall 1977, pp. 109-120

Artists and Pigments Dated history of artists and pigments, dated color theories, techniques of the past, past color theories. 

Color Wheels 

Real Color Wheel 

Astronomy Color In Astronomical Photos:  A Semi-Philosophical Discussion 

What Color are the Stars?  (some pixel RGB values) 

[Byrne97A] Alex Byrne and David R. Hilbert (editors), Readings on Color:   The Philosophy of Color (volume 1), MIT Press, 1997.
[Kaiser96] Peter K. Kaiser and Robert M. Boynton, Human Color Vision, Optical Society of America, 1996.
[Nassau98] Kurt Nassau (editor), Color for Science, Art and Technology, North-Holland, 1998.

Color Matters Bibliography

See bibliography section on Color Science page or Color and Computers page

Causes Causes of Color

Causes of Color in Minerals 

Causes of Color in Minerals and Gemstones 

Kurt Nassau, The Physics and Chemistry of Color:  The Fifteen Causes of Color, John Wiley, 1983.

Chroma Keying

Blue Screens (Chroma Blue):

The Blue Screen Page 

Color Blindness

How to make figures and presentations that are friendly to color blind people 

The Color Vision Store

Color Blindness:  More Prevalent Among Males 

Color Deficient Vision 

[Fortner97, pp. 57-60, pp. 111-112 "lines of confusion"]

Color Defects and Genetics, [Byrne97B, Section V]
Color Blindness, [Byrne97B, Chapter 8]

Are you color blind?  (six Ishihara test diagrams)
colorblind3.jpg (9683 bytes)

A trichromat is a person with normal vision with three normal color receptors.  Color-blind individuals may be classified as dichromats, monochromats or anomalous trichromats.  Protanopia (red blindness, L cones are absent), deuteranopia (green blindness, M cones are absent), tritanopia (yellow-blue blindness).   "Color Blindness," Chapter 8, [Byrne97B] or Section 8.6 "Visual chromatic defects" in [Malacara2002].

Relative abundance of visual chromatic defects from [Malacara2002, Table 8.3, p. 139]

Type of 
visual defect
Visual defect Percentage of 
men affected
Percentage of 
woman affected
Trichromats None    
Protanomalous2 1.08% 0.03%
Deuteranomalous2 4.63% 0.36%
Tritanomalous3 0.0% 0.00%
Dichromats Protanopes2 1.01% 0.02%
Deuteranopes2 1.27% 0.01%
Tritanopes3 0.005% 0.005%
Monochromats1   0.003% 0.002%

1 The incidence of monochromats is the lowest of all chromatic defects.

2 Percentages from Sharpe et al., "Opsin Genes, Cone Photopigments, Color Vision, and Color Blindness," in Color Vision:  From Genes to Perception, Cambridge University Press, 1999.

3 Incidence of tritan defects has not been clearly determined.

What Color -- An Assistant to Color Blinds

Color Vision -- Color Deficiency 

Vischeck can show you what your image looks like to people who are color blind, people with glaucoma or macular degeneration, elders and children.

Ishihara Test for Color Blindness

Eric Rudd's UseNet Post about simulating color blindness

Françoise Viénot, et al, "Digital Video Colourmaps for Checking the Legibility of Displays by Dichromats,"
Color Research and Application, Vol 24, No 4, August 1999, pp. 243-252

Color Names

Color Chart
Color Chart, efg's Research Notes. PDF of Chart of R Colors

Unconstrained Color Naming Experiment  by Nathan Moroney at HP

Danny Rich's UseNet Post about the links here.

Comments about the above page in UseNet post (29 Nov 1999) by Mathew Brennesholtz (Philips):
This web site has the same basic information as Special Pub 440.   The site does not have some of the peripherial information.  For example, it does define "Blackboottopping" as "Black" in the NBS centroid color naming system, but does not tell you that this color was defined by the Panama Canal Commission.

Color: Universal Language and Dictionary of Names by Kenneth L. Kelly and Deanne B. Judd. National Bureau of Standards, Spec. Publ. 440, Dec. 1976, 189 pages.

The NBS/ISCC Color System -- The 267 Color Centroids
(includes Munsell and RGB values along with color swatch for each color centroid)

Standard Colors

Color names and hex (or decimal) values:

Draas' Rainbow Color Chart 

UNIX X11 rgb.txt file with RGB values and color names often found in directory /usr/X11R6/lib/X11 

  Real Color Wheel (for artists). 

 Color Name Samples 

Color Concepts and Names, [Byrne97B, Section II]

Crayola Crayons Color Names

Crayola® Crayon Chronology 

The 216-Color Webmaster's Palette (interactive javascript)

blue Why is the sky blue?

  Why is the sky blue?

brown Brown can only be produced by a yellow color surrounded by brighter areas.  We perceive something as brown instead of yellow when we think its reflectivity is very low.   In a sense brown is a physiological color. [Fortner97, p. 75]

C. James Bartleson, "Brown," Color Research and Application, Vol 1, No 4, Winter 1976, pp. 181-191

pink Desaturated color.
purple Not a spectral color.  The straight line connecting blue and red on a chromaticity chart is known as the "Line of Purples."

Where's Purple? 

sky-blue-pink "Sky-Blue-Pink" by R.W.G. Hunt
Color Research and Application, Vol 1, No 1, Spring 1976, pp. 11-16


Find a PANTONE color

Solux:  supplier of specialized daylight sources wherever color is an issue and natural lighting is required

X-rite's Ask a Color Expert


Simultaneous Contrast 

Dyes Database of manufacturers producing Acid, Basic, Direct, Disperse, Mordant, Reactive, Vat Dyes and Pigments for application to Textiles, Leather, Plastics, Paper, and more

Colorants:  Dyes, [Nassau98, Chapter 11]

Education Color Education Page
Fall Colors
Fall Color Pictures

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Charles Poynton's Gamma FAQ and Color FAQ,

Food Color

Luis Almela and Jose A. Fernández-López, "Measuring the Color of Table Grapes,"
Color Research and Application, Vol 21, No 1, Feb 1996, pp. 50-54

Four-Color Theorem Graph theory problem.  See Mathematics page.
Gloss Edul N. Dalal and Kristen M. Natale, "The Effect of Gloss on Color,"
Color Research and Application, Vol 24, No 5, Oct 1999, pp. 369-376
Harmony Color Harmonies 

Color Harmony 

Color Wheel Pro™ is a unique software tool that allows you to create harmonious color schemes and preview them on real-world examples: 

History   History of Colored Ores 

Dated history of artists and pigments, dated color theories, techniques of the past, past color theories 

Information Envisioning Information
Chapter 5, Color and Information, pp. 81-95

Why Should Engineers and Scientists Be Worried About Color? discusses problems with "rainbow" colormap; nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio data; hue is not a good dimension for encoding magnitude information; luminance and saturation colormaps are better for representing continuous variations in data magnitude.


Reproducing Color Images Using Custom Inks

John Wiley's Color research and application reports on the science, technology, and application of color in business, art, design, education, and industry.

Online ISSN: 1520-6378      Print ISSN: 0361-2317 
Leaf Color See Fall Colors above
Minerals Spectroscopy of Rocks and Minerals, and Principles of Spectroscopy 

Color in Minerals

Mineral Properties

Includes lists of minerals by color:  black, blue, brown, colorless, gray, green, orange, pink, red, white, yellow: 


Miscellaneous Color in Plants, Animals and Man, [Nassau98, Chapter 8]

The optics of feather color
Biophotonics International, March/April 1999, pp. 38-39

Color Preservation, [Nassau98, Chapter 12]

Newsgroup sci.engr.color

Story and charter of sci.engr.color newsgroup 

Philosophy [Byrne97A]

A Bibliography of Color and Philosophy 

Paul Skokowski's color philosophy page

Pigments Colorants:  Organic and Inorganic pigments, [Nassau98, Chapter 10]

Pigments through the Ages:  Pigments in Paintings 

Psychology, Physiology, Perception

Why Should Engineers and Scientists Be Worried About Color?
discusses how standard uses of color can distort the meaning of the underlying data

Daylight: Is it in the eye of the beholder?

Physiology and Psychophysics, [Byrne97B, Section III]

Rainbows See Color Science page
Research Groups, Organizations, Societies mcsl_logo_small.gif (1676 bytes)   RIT Munsell Color Science Laboratory

Inter-Society Color Council

Centre français de la Couleur (CFC) 

Department of Colour Chemistry, University of Leeds

Colour Design Research Center

International Color Consortium,

Optical Society of America,

Colour and Imaging Technology, Institut für Technische Elektronik (German)

Skin Color What Controls Variation in Human Skin Color?  Vol 1, No. 1, PLoS Biology

In the well-known book "Color Science," by Gunter Wyszecki and W.S. Stiles (2nd ed, Wiley, 1982) there are some spectral reflectance curves of human skin for a number of races.

"Skin Deep", Scientific American, October 2002, pp. 74-81.

Gretag-Macbeth Color Checker spectral reflectance data  (DarkSkin, LightSkin, other colors)

Automatic Quantitative Analysis of Healing Skin Wounds using Colour Digital Image Processing

A Colour Histogram Clustering Technique for Tissue Analysis of Healing Skin Wounds,
Proc. 5th International Conference on Image Processing and its Applications, 1997, pp. 693-697.

Finding Naked People

Naked People Skin Filter

Sun Color

What color is the Sun? 

All visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device,
Astronomy Picture of the Day, 15 Aug 2000. 

What color is the Sun? - chromaticity above the atmosphere 

ASTM E 891 - Direct Solar Spectral Irradiance at Air Mass 2.0
ASTM E 892 - Solar Spectral Irradiance at Mass 2.0, 37deg Angle

See Color Temperature on Color Science page

Terminology R.W.G. Hunt, "Colour Terminology," Color Research and Application, Vol 3, No 2, Summer 1978, pp. 79-87.  Discusses set of psychometric terms and formulae, and their relationships to psychophysical and perceptual terms.

Peter K. Kaiser and Robert M. Boynton, Human Color Vision, Optical Society of America, 1996.

How Do We See Colors? 

Red, Green, and Blue Cones 

Molecular Biology of Human Vision Research by Jeremy Nathans 

The Human Eye

Processes in Biological Vision

Also see Computer Vision on efg's Image Processing Reference Library page

Five Dimensions of Vision Resolution
[Fortner97, p.43]

Dimension Discrimination
Between Locations
# of Simultaneous
Distinct Locations
X (spatial) ~1 arcminute ~millions
Y (spatial) ~1 arcminute ~millions
Z (spatial) ~feet ~100
C (color) ~50 nm
(Red, Green, Blue "cones")
t (time) ~1/10 second N/A

The Joy of Visual Perception -- Web Book 

Color Vision, [Nassau98, Chapter 3]

Vision Science Tutorials, FAQs, and Other Resources

Vision Science Bibliographies & Databases

Vision Science Demonstrations

Dictionary for the Study of Vision

Section 2.1, Elements of Visual Perception
Digital Image Processing
, 2nd edition

Useful Numbers in Vision Science

Optical Illusions:  Human Vision Versus Machine Vision

MIT Professor Adelson's Illusions and Demos page

Updated 5 Nov 2011
Since 1 Nov 1998