Books Added: Color 3


Having picked up color again, there are three books I want to add to the bibliography.

The authors are Kessler, Malacara, and Glassner.

One of them is a book I have mentioned in this post. “Color Harmony In Your Paintings” by Margaret Kessler. This, like Wilcox and like Quiller, is another book for artists about choosing and mixing pigments, and about choosing appropriate colors when painting. I like what she has to say about such choices, I like her paintings, and I especially like the fact that she mixes other colors from a palette of only 15. She also discusses the Munsell color wheel.

The second book is a thin one which I had forgotten I bought, and didn’t see when I was picking things off the shelf. “Color Vision and Colorimetry, Theory and Applications” by Daniel Malacara. It is a monograph (i.e. it has no exercises), with more detail than Fortner & Meyer, but still an introductory book. I won’t forget this book again.

I have discovered that the reference Wyszecki & Stiles‘ “Color Science” is overwhelming in its detail; Malacara is a good place to look first, and then confirm in Wyszecki & Stiles. (I must confess that I am bothered by some of the mathematics in both of these books, but I was glad to see that Malacara was consistent with the reference even though I think both are misguided.)

Having done more work – in particular, having gotten tables of color matching functions – I am forced to say that there are two tables in Malacara which can be checked easily, and both are wrong. Admittedly, one has only a single typo, but the other has a section where negative signs are missng from some values. Nevertheless, I used Malacara to check the graphs I got of the data in Wyszecki & Stiles; and for the derivation of the XYZ coordinate system from RGB tri-stimulus values.

He’s still a very good read, but don’t buy Malacara for his tables. Get them from Wyszecki & Stiles.

The third book is actually a two-volume set: “Principles of Digital Image Sysnthesis” by Andrew S. Glassner. These two volumes are an overview of a whole lot of material, ranging from the structure of the human eye to an introduction to Fourier analysis. For more info, go to his website .

I have to say, however, that I found one mistake in one of the sections I read carefully, namely “wavelet transforms”. OK, so he was wide-ranging and didn’t get all the details right. For all I know, this could be the only mistake in the book.

I suppose I can’t leave you in the dark. He says that the hat functions and two others generate “the Schauder basis”. No: a Schauder basis; they’re not unique. Every basis whose existence is asserted in our multi-resolution analysis theorem is actually a Schauder basis. I’m also not sure that he needs the other two functions — but he could: the hat functions do not satisfy the hypotheses of our theorem.

Although I expect to read more in this set, what I’m using it for now for is appendix G at the end of the second volume. The beginning says, “You may also repost or redistribute the information in this appendix freely.” Much of the information in Appendix G is contained in Wysecki & Stiles — but G.5 has spectra and (x,y) coordinates for the Macbeth color checker… G.6 has spectra for real objects such as flowers, blue jeans, and even pancakes. (Someone clearly went wild with a piece of equipment.)

Unfortunately, that data is no longer available at the listed website. Similar data, especially for Munsell color chips, is available here .

the books added

Glassner, Andrew S.;Principles of Digital Image Synthesis. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1995 (two volumes).
ISBN 1 55860 276 3.
[color theory, computer graphics; 18 Nov 2009]
“My purpose here is to discuss the underlying principles – the ideas that have slowly emerged as the core of our discipline. There are three such basic fields: human vision, signal processing, and physics.”

Kessler, Margaret; Color harmony in Your Paintings. North Light Books, 2004.
ISBN 1 58180 401 6.
[art, color combinations; 18 Nov 2009]
Choosing a palette, mixing other colors, and selecting color combinations for art.

Malacara, Daniel;Color Vision and Colorimetry, Theory and applications. SPIE Press, 2002.
ISBN 0 8194 4228 3.
[color theory; 18 Nov 2009]
This is a marvelous introduction to the rather overwhelming Wyszecki & Stiles.


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