“Interactive Color: A Guide for Color in Computer Graphics” by Horton

  • ©Holliday R. Horton


Entry Number: 14


    Interactive Color: A Guide for Color in Computer Graphics

Program Title:

    Demonstrations and Displays



Project Affiliation:

    San Diego Supercomputer Center


    This ten-chapter hypermedia stack is an instructional program designed to teach the principles of digital color. It was created for the 3,000 scientific investigators who use the Advanced Scientific Visualization Laboratory (ASL) at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC).

    Most SDSC graphics workstations have programs that offer a choice of over 16 million colors. Some of these systems allow the user to edit and manipulate color visually, while others define color in numerical values. Scientists are often intimidated and baffled by this vast array of color possibilities.Many of them admit that they have no understanding of color and find it extremely difficult to choose even as few as two compatible colors. Generally, they select the more accessible, highly saturated computer primary and secondary colors, which often cause visual fatigue and optical illusions. The incompatibility of different color systems causes unintended color effects when these fully saturated colors are transferred to film, video, or other media. Scientists need to understand the different properties of computer color, video color, and pigmentary color to successfully create high-quality visualizations. 

    Interactive Color addresses and illustrates these and other issues, and offers suggestions and helpful hints to avoid unwanted color effects. It reinforces an intuitive and concrete understanding of color by leading the user through an engaging and revealing exploratory experience. An important feature of the document is that it presents digital color in context. Example illustrations are presented in an interactive form, a technique that is not possible in traditional books or videotape programs. Instantaneous color interactions and ephemeral color illusions are observed as they appear. The program is designed to be viewed in a non sequential fashion, allowing the user to maneuver freely between pages and chapters. Filled with interactive illustrations, text, and optical illusions of color effects that are similar to color games or puzzles, it invites the user to change the color illustrations with color palettes. Rather than viewing one static illustration of a color effect, the user views the effect with a dozen colors or more. 

    Interactive Color was created with SuperCard on an Apple Macintosh IIci. The three-dimensional computer-generated color illustrations were created with Alias Research Inc software on a Silicon Graphics IRIS 4D/210 VGX workstation. The scientific imagery was created with various software and hardware at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.

Other Information:

    Hardware: Macintosh IIci, 4D/210 VGX workstation

    Software: SuperCard

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E-Tech Type: