The six factors that affect how we see color

April 5, 2009

When evaluating the quality of color in a proof the best tool is our eyes. The human eye is able to sense wavelengths of light ranging from about 380 nm to about 780 nm, which means we have the ability to see millions of colors, well beyond the gamut of most devices. Six factors that may impede our ability: 1. Color blindness — People with color blindness can not discriminate between certain colors. 2. Aging — As we get older, a yellow filter forms on the eye affecting color perception. 3. Fatigue — Mental or physical fatigue reduce our ability to match color accurately. 4. Memory — We have poor color memory. The only way to be precise is to do a direct side-by-side comparison. color_interact2 5. Color of the light source — A color will look different when viewed under fluorescent lighting than it will when viewed under incandescent light or sunlight. 6. Surrounding color — A color’s appearance is influenced by the colors around it. Take a look at this example. See how the gray squares in the middle appear to be the same color? But look at the colors again when they are placed side by side at the bottom. Did your eyes deceive you?

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