A Guide to Color and Color Technology

The world is a colorful place, with every single thing in the world having one or more identifiable colors. Color can be aesthetically pleasing, and it can also influence our emotions, making us feel a sense of urgency or calm. Marketing campaigns take advantage of this, as do interior designers aiming to create just the right look and feel for a space. With effective use of color, you can influence the effect of your work, whether it’s an advertisement or a work of art, on the viewer.

What Is Color?

In scientific terms, color is a characteristic of an object based on the amount of light of different wavelengths that is reflected or absorbed by it. A color can be described as having a certain hue, saturation, and brightness.

What Are Primary Colors?

Primary colors serve as the backbone of the color wheel. They are the three colors that cannot be made from other colors: In art, these are magenta (or red), cyan (or blue), and yellow. These primary colors can be combined to form other colors, such as purple, green, and orange, which are called secondary colors. It’s interesting to note that the primary colors of light are different: These are red, green, and blue. The primary colors of light are useful when working with light sources such as TV or computer screens, but for physical media like paintings or print advertising, the primary pigment colors of magenta, cyan, and yellow are used.

What Is Brightness?

Brightness is the property of appearing to reflect or emit more or less light. A color can be described in part by referring to its brightness, or how light or dark the color is, ranging from a hue that’s closer to black to one that’s closer to white. In art or graphic design, brightness can be used to make objects stand out or blend in with their surroundings; brighter objects will naturally draw the eye, but making all of the objects in a work similar in brightness can put the focus on other aspects, such as the color of one object.

What Is Contrast?

Simply put, contrast is the quality of being different from something else; in graphic design or art, visual contrast is created using differences in brightness and/or color. Skillful use of contrast can emphasize certain elements of the work, either in a subtle or eye-catching way. Contrasting colors can also help the brain to differentiate between parts of an image more easily.

What Is Color Technology?

Color technology can refer to many things, from the software that graphic designers and photographers can use to create and manipulate images to the science behind the creation of paints we use on our walls or even color-changing fabrics that could reduce the need to buy new clothing. Technology also blends with the use of color in the development of processes such as flexographic printing and color-matching for restoration projects.

What Is Gamma Correction?

Gamma correction is one of the most important tools for editing pictures and manipulating colors that will be viewed on a TV or computer screen. Understanding gamma correction begins with understanding that a computer monitor or TV screen will often display pixels differently than how they were inputted, rendering them as too bright or too dim compared to the source image. The details of the process of gamma correction are highly technical, based on mathematical equations and curves, but the important thing to know is that gamma correction alters the display of an image on a screen so that colors are accurately rendered. When colors are accurately and consistently displayed, it’s easier to work with them to consistently produce the desired results.