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(Essay on Color, Para. 1)


1.1 Associated Emotions

Looking at usual grey-level images (fig. 1.1-a), you are going to receive quite a lot of information about structures, reflectivity distribution and illumination within the scene.

    fig.1.1-a: grey photographs (99 kByte)

But now add the color information (fig. 1.1-b), and things will change dramatically. The images take on an emotional quality which strikes our minds immediately like smell or taste does.

    fig.1.1-b: colorful photographs (61 kByte)

Surely it has been emotional fascination which led german poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to the investigation of colors. Most of all, he studied the direct effects of colors on his own mind. Though today he looks ridiculous in his disputes with his contemporary physicists, his color circle (fig. 1.1-c) is famous and ubiquitous till now. In this circle, closely related colors are neighbouring while complementary colors are opposed to each other. (For "complementary colors" see the end of para. 3.1.)

    fig.1.1-c: Goethe`s Color Circle (16 kByte)

The importance of this circle:
* Artists love this figure
* additive and subtractive color mixing (para. 3.1 and 3.2) both rely on triangles
  which I indicated as RGB and CMY in figure 1.1-c
* even several modern color measurement principles (para. 1.3) look like
  based on this circle.

Link List and Literature

Subject used in source
3 photographs fig. 1.1-a and -b Microsoft Win. XP example images
Goethe's color circle fig. 1.1-c (data from:)
Johannes Pawlik 1983:
"Goethe Farbenlehre",
4.Auflage, Tafel 6

  Continued: 1.2 Neurology     Contents of entire essay     Contents of entire web site

Last modified March 2nd, 2003; 23:14