The computer in the service of artists, engineers, and scientists is emerging as the

key visual communication tool for our information age. Titles listed under

Electronic Color bring together the art and science of color as they relate to

computer graphics and to graphic computing. Topics covered range from the physics

of light and color, application guidelines for effective use of color in computer

graphics, to options for converting the on-screen image to paper. The highly

recommended books are well illustrated, clearly written, and reasonably accessible

to the motivated reader.

409. ACM SIGGRAPH. 89 Course Notes: Introduction to Practical Issues in Color

Reproduction and Selection. Boston, 1989. 223 pp. B/W illus., color illus.

    This SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group for Graphics) tutorial text

compiles contributions from computer scientists Gary Meyer (chair) and William

Cowan; Maureen Stone, a staff researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center;

and Brian Wandell, a professor of psychology. The text covers color perception

and color measurement, additive and subtractive color reproduction techniques,

color television, color hardcopy, color synthesis, color selection, and ways of

generating color in computer graphics. In the color printing section, Stone explains

and illustrates the troublesome differences in the color gamuts of monitors and

printers, which cause color fidelity difficulties for graphic designers when a

monitor image is printed out as hard copy. The dedicated reader with knowledge of

this highly technical field will find the articles and the comprehensive lists of

references that appear throughout useful.

410. Cowan, William B., Colin Ware, et al. Color Perception Tutorial Notes:

SIGGRAPH ‚ ‘84. Ontario: University of Waterloo, Computer Graphics

Lab, 1984. 348 pp. Bibl., glossary, B/W illus.

    This collection of papers prepared for a 1984 SIGGRAPH (Special

Interest Group for Graphics) color workshop addresses a range of topics

including color vision, the CIE system, elementary color coding, color

circles, and problems of scene rendering in computer graphics. Perception

of form, color, and shape, and a glossary comprise two more chapters.

Other papers include “The Human Visual System” by Bernice Rogowitz of

the IBM Watson Research Center and John McCann’s “Calculating Color

Sensations.” Color in film issues are treated in “Introduction to TV, Film,

and Printing” by Eastman Kodak, and “Fundamentals of Color Film

Technology” by John Blunden. The printing section which describes

various color printers, is rounded off by Robert Kuslnew’s “Ink and Paper

and Their Relationships to Color Perception.” The importance of this work

is that it gathers writings by leading researchers in the industry into a single

reference for readers with some prior knowledge of computer science.

411. Durrett, H. John, ed. Color and the Computer. Boston: Academic, 1987.

299 pp. Bibl., B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-12-225210-1.

    Written by experts in the field, these essays focus on the coding of

text and images using color, rather than on the presentation of images in

color. The collection begins with fundamental information on the capabilities

and limitations of display systems and of the people who process and

respond to the information. Color science and perception are discussed as

they relate to color displays. A large portion of the book deals with color

applications in the military, medicine, cartography, business, and other

fields. A research methodology is provided and specific guidelines are based

on actual usage. A bibliography follows each essay. Readers will find it

useful to have some previous knowledge of color science and perception.

412. Greenberg, Donald, Aaron Marcus, Allan H. Schmidt, and Vernon Gorter. The

Computer Image: Applications of Computer Graphics. Reading, MA: Addison-

Wesley, 1982. 128 pp. Index, bibl., endnotes/footnotes, glossary, B/W illus.,

color illus. ISBN 0-201-06192-9.

    Four experts provide an overview of color in computer images and

graphics, and discuss Polaroid instant photography in the computer graphic camera

A third of the book consists of computer-generated images in art, animation,

landscapes, remote sensing, and astronomy. In his excellent chapter on color,

Aaron Marcus states that many people without color theory expertise are now using

color in their computer work. Arguing for informed use of color that aids

communication, he discusses basic color theory with an emphasis on the Munsell

color system, makes recommendations for hue, value, and chroma selection, and

discusses the creation of compositions through the use of contrast, harmony, and

rhythm. Although some of the information is likely to become dated quickly, the

excellent Marcus chapter presents enduring color principles.

413. Marcus, Aaron, ed. Color in Computer Graphics: Tutorial Notes

SIGGRAPH 1988. Berkeley: Aaron Marcus and Associates, 1988. 111

pp. Bibl., endnotes/footnotes, B/W illus.

    This publication compiles reference material for a SIGGRAPH

(Special Interest Group for Graphics) workshop taught by Aaron Marcus

and by Gerald Murch. The Notes cover physiology, perception, and

cognitive and communications issues in relation to graphic design and

computer graphics. Articles by Murch provide practical guidelines for

effective use of color in graphics based on color and perception principles

and recent experiments in the Tektronix laboratories. “Computer Color,

Psychophysics, Task Application and Aesthetics” by Wanda Smith of

Hewlett-Packard reports on psychophysical phenomena that affect human

responses to computer displays: spatial effects, depth effects, interference

effects, and color discrimination. The articles by leaders in the computer

industry will be most useful to the reader with a technical background.

Marcus’s emphasis on graphic design in both content and format may inspire

the design reader to peruse the material.

414. Norman, Richard B. Electronic Color: The Art of Color

Applied to Graphic Computing, 1990. New York: Van Nostrand

Reinhold. 186 pp. Index, bibl., B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-442-


    This comprehensive work by a leading architectural educator paves

the way for the electronic colorist who designs with color. Topics include

the language of color, and color contrasts and color dynamics based on

Itten’s seven contrasts and Albers’s color deceptions, including Albers’s

connection of afterimage and simultaneous contrast. The handsome

computer-generated illustrations prove the value of the computer for

generating alternative color ways, or placing a particular group of colors in

several environments. The informative discussions synthesize scattered

information on color triangles by Goethe and Maxwell and on Munsell, CIE,

and Gerritsen color models. Most important for electronic colorists to

understand color order in additive light mixtures are comparisons of

Tektronix RGB (red, green, blue light primaries), HLS (hue, lightness,

saturation) and HVC (hue, value, chroma) color spaces, the latter based on

the ideas of Gerald Murch. A discussion of color psychology and meaning

of color includes Goethe’s color logic which inspired a color system devised

for architectural use by Koos. Final chapters address color in the design

process and representation of form. Exercises for students and references

conclude each chapter. The graphic computing was done on a VAX cluster

of Digital mainframe computers using Tektronix terminals.

415. Rogondino, Michael and Pat Rogondino. Computer Color: 10,000 Computer-

Generated Process Colors. San Francisco: Chronicle. 1990. 108 pp. Color Illus.

ISBN 0-87701-739-5.

    Problems of color fidelity when reproducing the appearance of additive

color on the computer screen as subtractive color output on paper continue to

plague graphic designers. The authors claim that the computer- generated samples

in their book will allow users of Aldus Freehand, Aldus Pagemaker, Quark XPress,

Ventura, and Illustrator 88 to see how colors on the computer screen will look

when printed out on a postscript raster image processor. One hundred plates of

color samples, with screen percentages clearly marked and aligned, are arranged so

that values progress toward the back of the book. Instructions for choosing colors

are given.

416, Rowell, Ian. Picture Perfect: Color Output in Computer Graphics.

Beaverton, Oregon: Tektronix, 1988. 64 pp. index, color illus. (070-6559-00

Tektronix part number.)

    This concise and well-written book explains basic color theory with specific

reference to color design on the computer, describes the process and options for

converting the on-screen image to paper, and incorporates many handsome

computer-generated visuals. Because the text is brief, those with a minimal

background in color theory may want to supplement with additional reading.

However, as an overview of both theory and application, this is an excellent

resource. A catalog of Tektronix products for computer color output can be found

at the end of the book. It should be noted that the firm’s commercial ties to the field

in no way detract from the general usefulness of this book.

417. Thorell, Lisa G. and Wanda J. Smith. Using Computer Color

Effectively: An Illustrated Reference. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:

Prentice Hall, 1990. 258 pp. Index, B/W illus., color illus. ISBN 0-13-

93 9878-3.

    One might expect this to be another book on graphic computing

technology, especially because the authors worked in close association with

Hewlett-Packard which provided most of the color images. However this

comprehensive work addresses issues that are foundational to

understanding all computer color imaging - whether PC or Macintosh - such

as color vision fundamentals, color visual comfort, and emotional responses

to color. Systematic interpretation and application of research findings from

diverse sources is the special theme. For example, in the first section the

authors distill five main findings from 42 human factors engineering studies

on color coding and search tasks. They also discuss the benefits of

computer color, color physics, and factors that influence responses to color.

The second part presents “Technical Aspects of Vision and Computer

Color” while the last part concludes with a wonderfully concise “Color

Application Guidelines” chapter. The complete list of references for each

chapter provides an excellent bibliography, and a full glossary rounds out the

book. The uneven quality of the color reproduction of the illustrations that

appear on most pages is testimony to the problems of transferring computer

color to hard copy. However, the clearly written text makes this an excellent

reference for general readers as well as for the technically minded.

Designers will find the “Color Image Quality” chapter on color contrasts,

image quality, and legibility and the highly practical final chapter of special


418. White, Jan V. Color for the Electronic Age. New York: Watson-

Guptil, 1990. 208 pp. Index, bibl., glossary, appendix, B/W illus., color

illus. ISBN 0-8230-0732-4.

    The author’s themes are “color as value-added” and color as a

“dialect of functional communication” in this practical publication aimed at

the desktop publisher. Chapters are keyed to function and practical

application of color in publication design, with specific guidelines for

effective use of color in charts, graphs, typography, pictures and

photographs. The color theory chapter centers on how color is used and

how people see it. Other chapters cover the use of color to create continuity

and identity; how color in charts may be used to explain and persuade; how

color in typography can highlight meaning; how to add color to black-and-

white pictures to enhance meaning or dramatic effect; and how to use color

photographs to expose hidden values. A strength of the book is the method

of illustrating a recommended principle or strategy with many variants of the

same image, which makes for highly convincing visual evidence. In an

appendix on specifying color that briefly explains the CIE, Munsell,

Pantone®, and the Natural Color System, the author incorrectly states that

Munsell colors can be purchased in art stores as Color-Aid papers. The

Xerox Corporation supported the production of this easy-to-understand

guide on color in publication design.