Color is one of the most fascinating areas to study. Color forms an integral part
of nature, and we humans are exposed to it every day. We all have an intuitive
understanding of what color is, but by studying the underlying physics, chemistry,
optics, and human visual perception, the true beauty and complexity of color can
be appreciated—at least to some extent. Such understanding is not just important
in these areas of research, but also for fields such as color reproduction, vision
science, atmospheric modeling, image archiving, art, photography, and the like.
Many of these application areas are served very well by several specifically
targeted books. These books do an excellent job of explaining in detail some aspect
of color that happens to be most important for the target audience. This is
understandable as our knowledge of color spans many disciplines and can therefore
be difficult to fathom.
It is our opinion that in application areas of computer science and computer
engineering, including such exciting fields as computer graphics, computer vision,
high dynamic range imaging, image processing and game development, the
role of color is not yet fully appreciated. We have come across several applications
as well as research papers where color is added as an afterthought, and frequently
wrongly too. The dreaded RGB color space, which is really a collection of loosely
similar color spaces, is one of the culprits.
With this book, we hope to give a deep understanding of what color is, and
where color comes from. We also aim to show how color can be used correctly
in many different applications. Where appropriate, we include at the end of each
chapter sections on applications that exploit the material covered. While the book
is primarily aimed at computer-science and computer-engineering related areas,
as mentioned above, it is suitable for any technically minded reader with an interest
in color. In addition, the book can also be used as a text book serving a
graduate-level course on color theory. In any case, we believe that to be useful in
any engineering-related discipline, the theories should be presented in an intuitive
manner, while also presenting all of the mathematics in a form that allows both a
deeper understanding, as well as its implementation.