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Characteristics Of Color

There are three main characteristics for understanding variations in color. These are hue, saturation, and intensity or brightness. Hue represents the observable visual difference between two wavelengths of color. Saturation refers to the richness or strength of color. When a beam of red light is projected from the spectrum onto a white screen, the color is seen as saturated. All of the light that comes to the eye from the screen is capable of exciting the sensation of red. If a beam of white light is then projected onto the same spot as the red, the red looks diluted. By varying the intensities of the white and red beams, one can achieve any degree of saturation. In handling pigments, adding white or gray to a hue is equivalent to adding white light. The result is a decrease in saturation.

A brightly colored object is one that reflects or transmits a large portion of the light falling on it, so that it appears brilliant or luminous. The brightness of the resulting color will vary according to the reflecting quality of the object. The greatest amount of light is reflected on a white screen, while a black screen would not reflect any light.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cluster compound to ConcupiscenceColor - Light And Color, Rainbows, Refraction: The Bending Of Light, Diffraction And Interference, Transparent, Translucent, And Opaque