Simultaeous Contrast

Simultaneous Contrast is the phenomenon that occurs when a color appears to change when seen against a different background. A set of principles was first laid out in the 19th century by Chevreul, a dye master for the Gobelin tapestry works, who became an important color theoretician. His principles state that changes in the hue, value, saturation (purity of hue), and area of a background color will alter the appearance of the selected color. The print shown here is made up of wavy bands of colors. Some of the bands extend from the center panel to intrude into areas of contrasting hue in the side panels. These extended bands are in fact the same hue and value throughout, but appear to change from left to right.

The definition above is from the Art, Design and Visual Thinking website which, among other things, explains the concepts of color, value and hue:

As they say, seeing is believing, so you might enjoy experiencing the phenomenon for yourself. There’s a multitude of books and websites on aspects of color. Here are just a few websites:

http://char.txa.cornell.edu/language/element/color/color.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/27066/theeye/nlsimcontrast.html

http://colorusage.arc.nasa.gov/Simult_and_succ_cont.php

http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/skaalid/theory/cgdt/color.htm

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