More about black & white

Some explanations from other color pros

black and white

You don't 'see' the paint color...not really. You see the color that is being reflected from the paint.

 Example: Red paint. White light applied to the red paint, some of the light bounces off the "red" paint. The "red" is what is reflected into your eye onto your retina. The other portion of the white light was absorbed by the so-called "red" paint. Care to guess what colors the red Paint absorbed? (from color pro Mac)
 



There is no color 'out there.'

Color is merely certain nanometers of electromagnetic energy that (lucky us) our eyes can register as color. Most electromagnetic energy cannot be processed by our eyes, for example, radio waves, or radiation. Thus what we see is only because of our eyes.

No color exists as color.

Thus if we see red, it's because our cones sensitive to the wavelength around 700-760 nm's send information that we translate into red. Thus if we see red there, then our cones are responding to reflected nm's. Now, my guess is you are betting that something red is absorbing everything but the wavelengths we perceive as red, and you will be right here. A red paper absorbs all other wavelengths and reflects the "red" ones (If I may condense that rather than to say "reflects the wavelengths in the nm range that our retinal cones respond to." See if you can rephrase the question in those terms before trying to win the money!
 



About black:
The most easily made mistake is to relate the concept of dark being the absence of light. This is correct, yet understand that in complete dark (the absence of light) our eyes could not perceive white or black simply because no light is present to be reflected off a "white" or "black" object and be received by our eyes.

In respect to this it would be possible to create 100% black only with a surface containing all colors; this being the only way to prevent any color from being reflected back to the beholder.
 



About white:
For the eye to perceive an object as white, the object must reflect all colors (or close to). A surface capable of reflecting all colors must be void in color itself, any color would hinder all color light to be reflected and thus would not create white perceived by our eyes.
 


Scientist  John Stapleton explains more about black and white:

 White is a rich color if you "unweave the rainbow."

 So is black in terms of blackbody radiation that becomes red c. 1000K and white c. 3000K-6000K etc..

White that has a flat power spectral density over the entire visible spectrum produces 200 lumens per watt

Whereas green 555nm yields 683 lumens per watt and max sensitivity to luminance, not chrominance.

Take it away from white and you see nonspectral magenta and peak in chrominance rather than luminance as in green.

New fallen snow is quite white at about 90lumens per watt and 10,000 footcandles or 10k lumens/sq ft is correlated with 121 milliwatts per sq cm of solor energy. After Katrina we must go back to the drawing board and use color science to HARVEST HURRICANE ENERGY.


A web resource for more information:  Color and Human Vision

 

Color Logic for Design