Reading Response 2

'Subtleties of Color' by Robert Simmon is a very decent and interesting research and lecture on digital color and its application to Data Visualization. Interestingly, unlike the art and design lectures I took before,  'Subtleties of Color' is telling the story of using color from a data visualization scientist objective view.
What I find most intriguing is that he points out the weakness of the wide use digital color mode RGB system, which is not the way how human process color. Computer process color in RGB and the intensities are from 0-255, but human eyes see green as lighter than red and blue is the darkest.  “The range of colors perceived by humans is uneven.” (Equiluminant colors from the NASA Ames Color Tool) This creates the problem when we are trying to pick and use the color from the RGB index. It is hard to match a set of colors with the same lightness only by adjusting the RGB value. Then the author introduced the CIE color spaces, which is a series of color spaces that classify color in a much more human user-friendly way. This is a very new knowledge to me, which I have never thought about before. What I used to do is manually matching the different colors by myself and I didn't question about the tool. Then, I quickly checked the lab color mode in Photoshop, and it is surprising to see how color responds tools differently compare to RGB mode.
Another point that caught my attention is the section about the color blind problem. As a designer, it is significant to consider and take care our audience need. In order to convey our idea precisely through visualizing data or design, we should always concern that all the color languages we are using are passing to the audience correctly. Last but not least, those color tools introduced by the author are very handy. Those fragmentary color palette opens a new way of looking at digital color.

Random Notes:

Three Type of DV:

Sequential data | Divergent data | Qualitative data

Color has an objective reality, but the colors we see are tricks of the imagination, and there is no perfectly objective view of color  -James Gleick
attractive things work better. -Donald Norman

What we see is a constructed reality.

simultaneous contrast.

When hit 82 degrees Fahrenheit you can form sustained hurricanes.

Size of color set recommendation : 5-9 categories works. {7+/-2}

Computer colors are linear and symmetrical, human color perception is non-linear and uneven.

lightness is the strongest.

Useful Tools: ColorPicker | Colorbrewe | chroma.js | IWantHues

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