How Our Eyes See Color

Our world is filled with an abundance of beautiful and enchanting colors. There are endless variations of colors and combinations that our brain can enjoy. Color is the product of varying wavelengths of light. We as humans can only see a small range of these lightwaves, known as visable light, yet the slightest differences in wavelengths are responsible for all the colors we see everyday. Physically speaking, our eyes can only see three different colors. Inside our eyes, we have light receptors called cones. Cones are responsible for converting light waves into electic impulses that are interpreted by the brain. Humans only have three types of cones, one dedicated to red, one dedicated to green and the last dedicated to blue. Common colors like orange, yellow and purple don't have dedicated cones in our eyes, so how do we see them?

When, for example, yellow light enters our eyes, it activates both the red and the green cones, sending both signals to the brain which interprets it as yellow. Digital displays utilize this behavior by mixing varying intensities of red, green and blue which our brains can interpret to be any color. This revolutionary principal of color is the primary mechanic behind rgb. But why then are we taught as children to mix the colors red, blue and yellow?

Additive Vs. Subtractive Color Systems

The additive primary colors, also known as the primary colors of light, are red, green and blue. However, the additive color system is only used by objects that emit light, and obviously the majority of objects we see reflect light, not emit it. These common objects rely on the subtractive color system.

The primary source of light in nature is the sun. The sun sends white light to the earth, which can be broken up into all wavelengths of visible light and contains every color we can see. Objects then reflect some of the light that hits it, absorbing the rest. The wavelength that it reflects is the color we see, and all other wavelengths are subtracted when they are absorbed, hence the name subtractive color system.

The subtractive color system is what's taught in school because it relates more to physical art mediums. The primary colors of this system, also known as the primary colors of pigment, are red, blue and yellow. Mixing these colors in the form of paint, or any other source of pigment, causes different colors to be absorbed and reflected, which causes a variation in the color we see. Until the recent invention of synthetic sources of light, this was the only way to mix colors, which is why it's the most common method used. So why is rgb important?

Why rgb Matters

In today's world, we consume the majority of our visual media on digital displays which can take the form of smart phones, tablets, computers, etc. In turn, the creation of media is shifting from physical artforms to digital ones. People living and growing up in a modern world need to understand how these devices, which are often at our finger tips, create their rich and beautiful colors. This fundamental understanding can then enable them to take full control of the digital art medium and contribute to an ever changing world.

The game rgb is a large step towards adapting our brains to this new yet vital color system. The fun and intuitive gameplay makes learning how to mix colors in the additive color system easier than ever. Playing the game will kickstart your amazing and entertaining Journey into the World of Color.