How the Eye Sees Color

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Color originates in light. Sunlight, as we perceive it, is colorless. In reality, a rainbow is testimony to the fact that all the colors of the spectrum are present in white light. As illustrated in the diagram below, light goes from the source (the sun) to the object (the apple), and finally to the detector (the eye and brain).

 

Diagram of how the eye sees color

1. All the "invisible" colors of sunlight shine on the apple.

2. The surface of a red apple absorbs all the colored light rays, except for those corresponding to red, and reflects this color to the human eye.

3. The eye receives the reflected red light and sends a message to the brain.
 

The most technically accurate definition of color is:
"Color is the visual effect that is caused by the spectral composition of the light emitted, transmitted, or reflected by objects."

Reprinted with permission from Color Logic
© Copyright 2004, all rights reserved

 

Legal permission was granted for this page to be  translated into Russion to spread the good news about color around the globe. See How the Eye Sees Color in Russian.