The NIR Community from ASD Inc., a Malvern Panalytical company

What Is Color?

January 10, 2017

Almost a year ago, this was a hot topic; can you recollect the controversy regarding the color of the dress in this image below? The original image is in the middle; some people will see the dress as blue with black lace or fringe, while others see the dress as white with gold lace fringe. What do you see?

ASD blog spectroradiometer blue dress

(The dress is actually blue!)

There is good science behind what you may perceive to see, which relates to the way the human eye and brain has evolved to see color in sunlight. Light enters the eye through the lens and thereby different wavelengths correspond to different colors. WIRED does a good job of addressing more of this dress controversy and the science behind it in their online article.

So, what is color? Color is a perceptual quality, and cannot be measured. When the measurement of color is discussed, what is really being referred to is the measurement of the variation in optical properties (intensity, reflectance, transmittance) over a spectral range; this kind of performed measurement at a fine wavelength resolution is called a spectrum (i.e. spectral reflectance, spectral radiance).

ASD’s spectroradiometers are used for “correct” color determination in addition to several other optics and photonics applications that involve the measurement of light energy spectra. Explore this application use even further!


Interested in learning about other applications using ASD spectrometers?  View our webinars on demand!

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