Help me find an article about how the brain perceives color.
May 20, 2011 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Help me find this fascinating article/web page about how our brain perceives color.

A year or so ago, I read a fascinating page somewhere on the internet about how we perceive color. It touched on why the visible color spectrum is a linear frequency range but it can also be considered a "wheel." It talked about when RGB, RYB, and CMYK were the "primary colors."

Sounds like lots of articles on the subject, right? What made this one stand out to me, though, was its straightforward, conversational tone and excellent illustrations. And—if I remember correctly—the big "conclusion" at the end was that we actually have four "primary" colors - red, blue, green, and yellow.

I've just about worn out my Google-fu on this one, though. Can anyone help me find this page?
posted by cebailey to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This one shows the 4 primaries and has a wheel. This one seems close too. Is it either of those?
posted by iconomy at 10:26 AM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, we don't really have four primary colors. Red Green and Blue light make up all the colors we can see, and yellow can be created out of red and green. The reason color seems like a 'circle' with red and blue connected is because the red receptors in our eyes can still pick up deep blue light better then the blue receptors, so very high frequency light triggers both the red and blue cones, creating what looks like a mix of red and blue.

Cyan Magenta and Yellow are the primary subtractive colors, you can create any color by subtracting those colors from white (black ink is used as well since inks aren't perfect).

I guess Yellow doesn't look like a mix of green and red the same way way magenta and cyan look like a mix of their colors, though. Hmm.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2011

I don't know exactly what article you are talking about but here is a link to trichromatic color and opponent process, in case you find it interesting or it triggers something.
posted by Silvertree at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2011

Response by poster: iconomy nailed it. The first link was exactly the one I remember.

Man, I love ask MetaFilter. I knew it would be within the first few answers!

posted by cebailey at 1:25 PM on May 20, 2011

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