Color science for beginners

I’m a color and imaging scientist who does photography, but sometimes I’m a photographer who does color and imaging research. Depending of the moment and the project one or the other will be predominant.

The practise of photography is always interesting to remind how the light is captured, how images are made. Know the acquisition process in details - light condition, lens used, subject or content - will always help when it is time to work on the images - be it for displaying the resulting images or for extracting automatically information from them.

These few lines are only a glimpse of what color science is. In my many attempts to explain what a color scientist does I came up with this little definition: a color scientist deals with light, its acquisition, preservation and reproduction, of course he also works with images. The term “color” refer to the visible spectrum - a color scientist is a multispectral imaging scientist with limited spectral boundaries - and by adding the word “visible” - visible to the human eye of course - we just extended the range of possible activities such as studying how a human eye does function, how do we perceive light signals, read images. From physics we come to philosophy.

Engineering projects which involve to work with images are often straightforward: you have an image, you need to detect some information, you use a define metric and it is done - almost of course. A color imaging project which involves art, artists and their work is different. Artists and scientists do not speak the same language, they may use the same tools but with different guidelines for sure... But that’s where the fun comes in.

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