eTech & Art & More

A Survey of Color for Computer Graphics and an overview of the Technical Program

By Hal Newnan
12 August 2001

This course is part of the Technical Program, which includes Courses, Papers, Panels, and Sketches and Sketches and Applications. What the parts of the Technical Program have in common is that they gather top experts to inform us of the state of the art on the topics they cover – AND, they tend to be highly technical as they are displaying the greatest and/or latest content.

The presenters are presenting what they need to present, and those needing to take more time studying the material can purchase the related print and/or CD versions at ACM SIGGRAPH’s Store.
My background with color is as a student of traditional and computer graphic arts, and I find this whole discussion excellent. During this course Ms. Stone actually went in to some depth on many aspects of color use and matching. She also discoursed on how that relates to the various sorts of hardware used in the creation cycle from Image Capture to Model, to Render, to Image, to Image Reproduction, to View, and finally Design. Her schedule gives one half hour for each of four parts to the talk: Color Vision and Appearance, Color Reproduction and Management, Color in Rendered Graphics, and Color Selection and Design. Her paper for this course is available from ACM SIGGRAPH’s publishing office (refer to s2001 Course 4). The paper is well referenced and has good illustrations.
Among her book references are:

Bob Hunt, The Reproduction of Color
Understanding Digital Color by Phil Green

She covers everything you might expect to be covered including additive and subtractive models; also RGB, CMYK, and RYB color models; and also the perceptually uniform spaces: Munsell, Ostwald, Cielab and Cieluv.For more on this topic, also see:
Digital Color Management
By Giorgianni & Madden

The Color of Nature (An Exploratorium Book)
by Pat Murphy, Paul Doherty (Contributor), William Neill (Photographer)
(Thin films make interference patterns soap bubbles and butterfly wings. Scattered fine particles scatter particular wavelengths as with smoke, sky, and eyes (there are blue eyes’ protein particles and then the bigger particles of green eyes).

Illumination and Color in Computer Generated Objects By Roy Hall
Or, Andrew Glassner’s book.

Concerning Intensity Mapping, see Bartleson & Breneman and Tumblin & Rushmeier. Regarding Design & Selection she refers to a visual designer's view, which involves color harmony, palettes, and visual function of the color. But she points out that she is an engineer not a designer. As a designer you think about the impact the design or art will have on the viewer.

Chroma and Value. The Primaries for RGB have the complementaries Y P G. But for traditional art (Color wheel) RYB has Secondaries of Green, Purple, and Orange. Maureen’s discussion of this is almost outside the range of color in COMPUTER graphics, but this exemplifies the full coverage she has given to her topic.

She goes into the definition of a Complementary color, also split complements, as being the Color Opposite on the color wheel. Ask the question "Why isn’t more of our theory of color mixing based in the CMYK model?" Well, the RYB (traditional) paint mixtures came first. There is a huge body of work available relating to traditional uses of value and color that can readily be applied to computer graphic color spaces.

Regarding "Making color effective" she suggests:
Avoid clutter emphasize legibility.
Accommodate atypical color vision
Compensate for color-deficient devices (one of the most common is a red receptor isolated red light hanging in space) especially with Cross-media rendering.


Get Maureen's Course Paper! Visit her website Stone Soup

Principle of Color Design, and Wucius Wong’s books
Important aspects for designers to consider include: Hue, Color Wheel (Munsel),

Using Color Effectively, by Lindsay MacDonald CG&A July 1999 (in Computer Graphics)

About Color Namers, reference keywords "Perceptual" "linguistic" and Berlin & Kay, also Johan Lammens, SUNY 1994; and Color, Universal Language and Dictionary, Kenneth L. Kelly and Deanne B. Judd; Berk, Brownston & Kaufman.

As a full conference attendee, you get 3 books and 4 CD packages.


The printed proceedings is the most valuable. It costs $45 to buy new.

The two other books are 1) Conference Abstracts and Applications, and 2)
Electronic Art and Animation Catalog. The first covers eTech and the Sketches and Application sessions. The second covers the Art Gallery and the animations in the ET and Animation Theater.

Each of the three books above also comes on a CD. In addition, there is a double CD set of all of the course notes.

That's a lot of information! To buy it all would cost $470. That's close to the early bird members full conference price.



This page is maintained by YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh All photos you see in the 2001 reports are due to a generous loan of Cybershot digital cameras from SONY