Color Vision and Color Spaces

Mohana Kuppuswamy Parthasarathy and Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan

A look at the links between human color perception and the physical color models and systems used to create optical devices.

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Manipulating color, under various color systems or “color spaces,” is almost a second-nature skill for optical designers, programmers and other creative professionals. Digital photographers and imaging engineers routinely refer to RGB colors; printers are preoccupied with the CMYK palette; computer graphics developers use the HSV or HSL system. But what do these color systems really mean—and where do they come from?

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