So many thoughts. So little time.

Tag Archives: color science

The Color Rhyme

With Lewis Carroll being in my mind, as well as Dr. Seuss, several years ago in 2003, I wrote my little “Color Rhyme” below hoping to assist my students. I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to share it! (This is the latest version.)

The Color Rhyme
(Starring Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, Green and Blue!)

By Terry Leigh Britton
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Fundamentals of Light, and the Photoshop L*a*b Color Space

Way back in 2005, rutt posted the best summation of how colors work as light I’ve ever seen, at DigitalGrin.com.

Rather than force you over there to read that post, I am replicating it right here, as it required a few edits for clarity.

“In order to understand the relationship of LAB, RGB, and CMYK, we have to understand that the colors are actually defined in terms of one another.

  1. Red is a primary in light.
  2. Cyan is the pigment opponent of red. It is defined as the pigment that reflects green and blue perfectly but no red at all. So in light, cyan is composed of equal parts green and blue, but no red.
  3. Green is a primary in light.
  4. Magenta is the pigment opponent of green. It is defined as the pigment that reflects red and blue equally, but no green at all. So in light, magenta is composed of equal parts red and blue, but no green at all.
  5. Blue is a primary in light.
  6. Yellow is the pigment opponent of blue. It is defined as the pigment that reflects red and green equally, but no blue at all. So in light, yellow is composed of equal parts red and green, but no blue at all.

Given these definitions, we can see why the pairs green, magenta and blue, yellow are called opponents. There can be no green at all where there is magenta, by definition. Shine a green light on a magenta surface and you see black; nothing is reflected. Magenta is defined in terms of what it doesn’t have, namely green. Continue Reading

Some Color Theory and Photoshop LAB mode – Warm-up for Full Article

This is an open-letter to a co-worker that I thought might make a nice warm-up to the full-blown Color Science and Photoshop LAB Mode article that is upcoming. Enjoy and watch for the article!

(Join the newsletter to be notified when I release those big things – this Color Theory one as well as an Actions tutorial video series and a full-on L*a*b series of videos are forthcoming!)

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Dear Libby,

The other day I mentioned colors used in the
L*a*b color mode and which were opposites.

Naturally, being an ART student, you countered me (a former graphic arts college
professor, yet!) in my definition of what opposite colors were. Well, you were right…
historically speaking at least. I didn’t have time to go into it then,
recognizing it as a near universal problem when addressing color science to
those trained in the traditional ways that Art schools portray the issue.

Check this article at Wikipedia to understand what I’m referring to! Continue Reading