May 21, 2020
Lighter and/or darker - light intensity, lightness

(Chapter 5 from Interaction of Colors book)

This chapter emphasizes the difficulty that many, maybe most, people have with distinguishing between varying intensity of colors.

The difficulty is further compounded by nearby colors and individual preferences regarding color aesthetics.

Unlike other academic texts, the book does not provide a solution. The chapter raises awareness of the problem for the reader and described examples to illustrate the difficulties with color intensity. It is up to the artist to use this knowledge as they see fit when creating their artwork.

There is a linear gradient of black to white in image below. The gradient is covered with a window like effect in a neutral gray color. The bars of the window should be the same color everywhere. Yet, there is an optical illusion that the bars at the bottom are darker than the bars at the top of the image.

Albers chose shades of red and blue and asked students to select which shade was the most red or most blue. The answers and explanations confirmed the wide variety of personal preferences and the complications of attempting to distinguish color intensity.

I approximated his experiment by selecting 8 variations of a single red hue and blue hue. The variations are randomly displayed.

Which is the most red and most blue color from the color strips displayed below?

©2020 Chi Nguyen