Color Contrast

Also found in: Dictionary.

Color Contrast


(1) In colorimetry, color contrast is the characteristic difference between two chromaticities x, y and x + Δx, y + Δy. (Descriptions in this article conform to the xyz colorimetric system of the International Commission on Illumination (see, Figure 3]; a similar approach may be used for most trichromatic color measurement systems.) The difference between the two chromaticities can be specified by the shortest distance between the points of the given chromaticities on a two-dimensional color triangle: Color Contrast. The minimum chromaticity difference Δlmin that is perceptible to the human eye is called the threshold contrast. The chromaticity difference Δl, which is expressed in terms of the minimum number of threshold contrasts, is called the color contrast n between the chromaticities x, y and x + Δx, y + Δy. The proviso concerning minima is necessary because the number of threshold contrasts in the transition from one point to another on the chromaticity triangle depends on the path taken, so that .the line connecting the two chromaticity points usually does not correspond to the minimum number of threshold contrasts.

The attempt to construct a chromaticity triangle such that a straight line would correspond to the minimum number of threshold contrasts and equal linear segments would correspond to equal numbers of threshold contrasts has led to the plotting of “equal-contrast,” or uniform, chromaticity diagrams. However, only an approximate solution to this problem has as yet been found.


Meshkov, V. V. Osnovy svetotekhniki, part 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.


(2) In physiological optics and in theories of color vision, color contrast is the change in the perception of any color caused by the simultaneous or prior effect on the eye of radiation of a different color, called the inducing color (simultaneous or sequential color contrasts, respectively). Simultaneous color contrast occurs when the color-sensitive photoreceptors of the retina are affected by the background color or colors that are adjacent to and surround the color being studied. Sequential color contrast involves a short period of time between the effect on the photoreceptors of the inducing color and the color being tested. As the result of color contrast, the perception of color can change with respect to brightness, hue, and saturation. These changes always increase differences between colors. Thus, a gray field appears darker on a white background and lighter on a black background; a gray field on a red background acquires a greenish tinge, whereas on a yellow background it becomes bluish.

The phenomena of both types of color contrast are closely related to the photochemical changes in the relationships between the spectral sensitivity of selective light receptors of the retina and the interaction of stimuli in the visual centers of the brain.

References in periodicals archive ?
The "Color Contrast" couture collection also steered away from uniformity, making sure all tastes are satisfied, with Mahfouz taking the initiative to include contemporary designs, which came in the form of short dresses that comprised a considerable chunk of the collection.
Door handles and escape hatches inside MRAP vehicles are hard to see, especially in the dark, because there's little color contrast between the handles and surrounding area.
Moreover, researchers applied computer models that take into account environmental luminosity and bird sensitivity to study the color contrast between feathers as seen by a robin.
The C5 Predators now deliver greater light transmission, image resolution and color contrast than ever.
Both have Premium ED (Extra Low Dispersion) glass for optimum color contrast and sharpness.
A scaled and painted skin finish replicates live bait, and red 3-D eyes provide color contrast and give fish a target.
Crosstex introduces the Non-Latex Dental Dam, which has excellent tear resistance and comes in a lavender color contrast for better tooth visibility.
Separating color from color contrast, Journal of Vision, Vol.
After users initially configure their preferences for font, text size, color contrast, and letter spacing, LowBrowse uses those settings for every web page visited, and no further adjustments are needed.
Topics include an introduction to spatio-chromatic interactions, neural adjustments to chromatic blur, color contrast influences in perceiving shape, Fechner-Benham subjective colors and McCollough effects, cone contrast computations, surface interpolation, lightness and illumination in terms of gradients, a neural model of surface perception, and two contributions on the watercolor illusion.
Displayed in a horizontal format, the image spans a volume of 9 cm by 20 cm, but with increased resolution, color contrast, and greater color scheme variability.
The ultimate consequences of uncontrolled formation of gas pockets in the structural foam can be less effective density reduction, compromised mechanical properties, and surface defects such as non-uniform surface swirl, visible weld lines, and color contrast across weld lines.