Rainbow Guide to Light and Color

Do you have a favorite color? Most people do, however for many people, it changes from time to time. Look around you. What colors do you see? What makes it possible for our eyes to see light and enjoy different colors? It's a sure thing that color adds beauty to anything it touches in our world. Scientists have done studies that show certain colors will stimulate the brain in different ways. It's funny to think that different colors are calming while others are energizing. Color and light are necessary elements in our world and make huge visual differences in our lives.

When trying to understand light and color, we must first understand that light travels in the form of a wave. These waves consist of both high and low points. The amount of distance between these points is called a wavelength. Short wave lengths will have a high amount of energy. Long wave lengths will have a low amount of energy. A good example of colorful wavelengths is the rainbow. The sun gives off its radiation which our eyes construe as the colors we see. There are seven colors in the rainbow and include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. This is known as the visible spectrum.

Particles of energy called photons move as waves. Natural or white light from the sun, is established of colors. These colors are various kinds of light which are acknowledged by their personal wavelengths. Both above and below the visible spectrum, waves exist. These waves are known as microwave, infrared and radio. They are below the red end of the spectrum. Above the violet end of the spectrum, are ultraviolet, gamma and x-rays. The waves that exist above and below the spectrum cannot be seen with the naked eye so they are known as the invisible spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum is made up of both the visible and invisible spectrums.

It is possible for three things to happen to a light wave. This wave can be reflected, transmitted or absorbed depending on the object that the wave length hits. Black objects absorb the light, solid objects reflect the light and transparent objects transmit the light through them. An objects color is dependent on the kind of light that is sent to our eyes. In a totally dark room, we are unable to detect any color at all. Human eyes are only able to react to certain wavelengths and certain colors. Not everyone sees colors or shades of colors the same. In fact, no two people identify colors exactly the same. The human eye contains both light and color sensitive receptors.

It is interesting to learn that some people are color blind. This means that they have difficulty perceiving color. This mal-function is directly related to the X chromosome which is only found in men. Artists and home decorators are two types of professionals that use color in their jobs. They have found that one of their best tools to use is the color wheel.

Perhaps you don't even know what a color wheel is. It's fairly easy to understand. The color wheel is shaped in a circular pattern and shows how colors are related to one another. In order to understand how to use the color wheel, you must first recognize some important terms pertaining to color.

Five Color Terms Defined

a. Hue sounds important but its actually just another word for color.

b. Tint describes a color to which the color white has been added.

c. Tone is a color to which the color grey (white and black combined) is added.

d. Shade describes a color to which the color black has been added.

e. Value describes the lightness or darkness of any color.

How The Color Wheel Works

On the color wheel, there are three primary colors. These colors would include red, blue and yellow. Next, there are three secondary colors. They are purple, orange and green. We get the secondary colors by mixing the primary colors such as red and blue to create purple. Yellow and red to create orange. And blue and yellow to create green. There is a step further on the color wheel when a primary color is mixed with a secondary color to create a tertiary color. Here we would come up with colors such as red-orange, yellow-green and blue-purple or violet. When these colors are mixed with pure white or pure black, we end up with numerous tints and shades of the various colors. Sounds a lot like a rainbow, don't you agree? The color wheel is an important aid in understanding color. Welcome to the world of color and light and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you!

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