Category Archives: Color Research

The Gift of Color Vision

There is a rare condition that’s not fatal, but many artists would kill to have it. It is called tetrachomacy. Its main symptom is near-superhuman vision.

Impressionist painter Concetta Antico has tetrachomacy. When she examines a leaf, she sees a “mosaic of color,” not just shades of green.

“Around the edge I’ll see orange or red or purple in the shadow; you might see dark green but I’ll see violet, turquoise, blue,” she says. In her line of work, this ‘disorder’ is a rare gift that produces extraordinary works of art.

Tetrachromats have more receptors in their eyes to absorb color, letting them see hues that are invisible to everyone else. The average person has three cones, or photoreceptor cells in the retina that control color vision and allow people to see up to a million colors. Tetrachromats have four cones, so they can detect nuances and dimensions of color that others can’t.

Researchers believe that one percent of the world population is tetrachromatic. According to Kimberly Jameson, a cognitive scientist at the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at the University of California in Irvine, the differences between the color range perceived by a tetrachromat and someone with normal vision is not as drastic as the difference between someone who is colorblind and someone who is not.

After studying Concetta Antico’s genes, Jameson determined that her fourth cone absorbs color wavelengths that are “reddish-orangey-yellow.” As a cognitive scientist, Jameson is fascinated with how people like tetrachromats can form and communicate concepts, especially since their visual perception of the world is so different.

Research suggests that tetrachromacy may be more widespread than assumed: those who have it don’t always notice because they haven’t trained their brains to pay attention. Antico admits that she was more color-aware than most children; at age seven she was painting and thoroughly fascinated with color. Because of the extensive exposure at an early age, her brain wired itself to notice and take advantage of her tetrachromacy.

She actively supports continued research into mutations that affect color perception. Her reasons are personal: five years ago, her seven-year old daughter was diagnosed as colorblind. Antico believes that the more she helps science professionals understand tetrachromacy, the better they will be able to help her daughter one day.

Kimberly Jameson agrees. “If we understand genetic potential for tetrachromacy and how their perception differs,” she says, “we can understand quite a lot about visual processing of color that we currently don’t understand.”

Antico may actually be helping colorblind individuals via her art. She has been teaching painting for over 20 years, and many of her students have been color-deficient. Jameson has looked at their artwork and found it to be surprisingly color-aware. She believes that Antico’s sensitivity to color differences at a very early age may have given her the understanding and articulation to help these students. It’s a hypothesis that still needs to be proved empirically, but raises the possibility that people’s perception of color can be improved by retraining their brains.

Antico has her own art gallery in San Diego and hopes to one day open an art school for the colorblind, to help them improve their color-awareness.

“What if we tetrachromats can show the way to color for people who are less fortunate than us?” she says. “I want everyone to realize how beautiful the world is.”

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

EnChroma Introduces Colorblind People to Color

The Importance of Color Vision and Art

Blind Artist’s Vision is Clearer than that of Sighted Individuals

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Crisp Imagery through Color Enhancing Technology

3a Crisp Imagery through Color Enhancing TechnologyWhen you look at an image, it is safe to assume that you are seeing it through three color sensors: green, blue, and red. Can you imagine seeing an image through 12 times the amount of sensors?

The University of Granada in Spain and Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, recently unveiled design plans for a “multispectral imaging system capable of obtaining information from a total of 36 colour channels.”

The Polytechnic University of Milan is responsible for creating the sensors, known as Transverse Field Detectors (TFD). These sensors “…are capable of extracting the full colour information from each pixel in the image without the need for a layer of colour filter on them.” The Color Imaging Lab at the University of Granada has created a system that enhances these sensors and puts all 36 color channels to good use.

While this technology will be available to medical and government industries at first, there is a good chance it will someday transform the images we see on our mobile devices and personal computers.

The digital devices we use every day currently have color image sensors limited to the basic three color channels. As you can imagine, this impacts how we perceive color and lessens the quality of the images we see. If our handheld devices and personal computers offer 36 color channels someday, the colors we see onscreen will appear true to life.

Before this technology makes it into our homes it will be used for important activities that depend on poignant but stubborn details, like medical imaging and detecting counterfeit currency.

3b Crisp Imagery through Color Enhancing TechnologyFor now the technology is making it easy to facilitate the “capture of multispectral images in real time.” According to Wikipedia, “A multispectral image is one that captures image data at specific frequencies across the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelengths may be separated by filters or by the use of instruments that are sensitive to particular wavelengths, including light from frequencies beyond the visible light range, such as infrared.”

The Principal Investigator on this project is thrilled about the potential TFD technology has to “…turn the light they receive into electric signals.” He believes that this technology will aid and advance a variety of industries and research fields.

Even though the technology is young, trials of the Transverse Field Detectors are taking place in locations like the USA.

Learn more about the research that is leading the way to crisper imagery through color enhancing technology:

Imaging Resource

University of Granada

Read more Segmation blog posts about art and color:

Hues, Tints, Tones and Shades – What’s the Difference?

Basic Color Theory – Color Matters

Pantone’s World of Color

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Vehicle Safety and Car Color

Vehicle Safety and Car ColorDid you know Volvo was the first car to incorporate seat belts? Advanced safety features come standard in many cars now. Some are even required by law. One way to make a car safer is to choose its exterior color wisely.

When looking to purchase a new vehicle, do you ask how safe its color is? This seems like a far out question but, as of late, studies are circulating about what happens when vehicle safety and car color collide. From a scientific standpoint, there is not enough research to back up these studies yet. Regardless, all research points to silver as the safest car color.

Car Color Safety Studies

  • Daimer Benz found that lighter car colors are more conspicuous than darker shades. This has to do with the way light colors draw attention from other drivers when on the road.
  • The University of California claims color influences how well individuals can judge distance between vehicles. Bright cars seem closer while dark colors appear further away. Light car colors are most accurate.
  • The University of Auckland in New Zealand made a connection between how the color of cars correlate with “rates of injury causing accidents.”

Silver is the Safest Car Color

Silver cars rank highest on the list of safe car colors, but light color cars are safer than darker vehicles. Lighter colors reflect more light than darker colors do. This means white and silver cars are easier to see from farther distances. They are more visible on the road.

The Role of Color Psychology

Did you know other vehicle colors on the road may impact how you react while driving?

Because colors can encourage a wide range of emotions and spur on energies that range between aggressive or calm, it makes sense that colors of surrounding cars may enhance our moods to some degree.

While no one is certain if car color is the newest safety feature, studies show darker color cars are involved in more accidents that lighter color cars. From this research, we can draw the conclusion that it is easier to notice light cars than darker ones.

How important is vehicle safety to you? Would you choose to drive a white or silver car based on this information?  What is your favorite car color and why?

Read more Segmation blog posts about Car Colors:

Car colors: An Artistic Expression?

The Color Popularity Contest: Cars, Weddings, Sports Teams, and Much More

The Benefits of Making Art Outside

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The World’s Favorite Color

The World’s Favorite Color 1People love to travel both near and far. They enjoy taking in new scenes, exploring diverse cultures, eating eccentric food, and more. Visiting different places throughout the world adds richness to life and makes one fact clear: it is impossible to escape color.  Then again, who would want to?

Every country has unique colors that travelers seek and citizens delight in. Plush green hills line Germany. Vibrant reds decorate China. Blue waters surround Greece. White sands dust the United States.

With an endless array of varying shades, it is hard to list the world’s color preferences. Still, every person has an answer to the question, “What is your favorite color.” Therefore, is it too much to ask, “What is the world’s favorite color?”

The Question

Three global marketing firms didn’t think so. Once posed with this question, they set out to find an answer. Cheskin, MSI-ITM, and CMCD/Visual Symbols Library conducted a survey that determined BLUE is the world’s favorite color.

The Answer

In the global study, 17 different countries were polled. Roughly 40 percent of the survey participants listed blue as their favorite color. Perhaps this has to do with the impact blue has on emotions; blues are often associated with tranquility. Varying shades of the color cause people to feel at peace. Blue is also the color most often associated with nature (blue sky, blue water). Could this be a factor why people everywhere share the same favorite color?

Other Findings

  • Purple came in a distant second as the world’s favorite color with only 14 percent popularity.
  • The world’s least favorite color is white.
  • Other non-related studies show people are more productive when they are surrounded by blue.

Is your favorite color blue? Why? If not, what is your favorite color?

Why do you think blue is favored among the rest of the colors throughout the world and in many cultures?

Also, Segmation is interested to know, what is the most colorful destination you’ve experienced? Share your story by leaving us a comment below or sign onto the Segmation facebook page to upload a picture.

Isn’t it a joy to live in this colorful world?

Read more Segmation blog posts about Favorite Colors Around the World:

The Most Colorful Cities In The World

The Stories Behind Holiday Colors

Blue Trees in Seattle

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