The Muser

Physics & Physiology of Color

All the material located at this web page address is
© J. C. Adamson, and prior years,
unless otherwise noted.

Play in this sandbox

to experiment with color mixture
 


Result
Result

°

%

%

hexadecimal #

Thanks to John Dyer for JavaScript Color Picker
© 2007 John Dyer http://johndyer.name
Used by permission.
 

What it means:

Color has three dimensions. Saying a color is blue tells us almost nothing—we must specify two other characteristics. There are many ways to do this; the three most common are:

The numbers:

The strange characters at the bottom are a hexadecimal number, used in computer programs and in the HTML code for web pages. It's actually a more efficient way of writing the red-green-blue values. The first 2 columns of this number report the values for red. The middle 2 columns report the green, and the 2 columns on the right report the blue. In HTML, the # character is required.


© J.C. Adamson, unless otherwise noted.
 

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Additive Mixture
Subtractive Mixture
Complementary Colors
Primary Colors
Hue, Saturation, Value
Predicting Color Mixtures
Color Sandbox
Mind-Blower
Young's 3-color Theory
A 3-color System
Land's 2-color System
James Clerk Maxwell
Thomas Young
Hermann von Helmholtz
Edwin H. Land

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Sandbox Rules

You have four tools:

  1. click or drag in the big colored box
  2. drag the slider in the tall, skinny bar
  3. click the radio buttons
  4. type in any of the small boxes

And you have complete freedom—play, observe and learn.

What happens:

If you click a radio button, it does three things

examples:

  1. if you click the saturation radio button, the slider will control saturation, and the big box will control hue (on the horizontal axis) and value (on the vertical axis)
  2. if you click the blue radio button, the slider will control the blue content in the color and the box will control red and green

The solid-colored, rectangular box and the numbers report your results.

The color in the rectangle always agrees with all the numbers. The colors in the big box and the slider are approximations.