Pete's color rabbit hole

This page is the index to my ongoing exploration of color spaces and color theory.


My path down this particular rabbit hole began as I was documenting the color scheme of this website. In particular, two things motivated this quest:

  • Wanting to understand tints/tones/shades better and relatedly wanting to understand the HSV color space better.
  • Wanting to understand mapping a wavelength of natural light to the RGB color space.

An additional motivating factor was wanting to create web tools to help explore things as I go. In 2011ish I had a lot of fun creating colorama, a somewhat naive tool for exploring operations on colors in the RGB space. I'd like to create some more sophisticated tools this time around. Read my notes as I progress down this path.

Human Color Perception

Color is how our eyes interpret visible light. Our brains make a lot of it up. Visible light is electromagnetic energy with a wavelength of 380ish nm to 740ish nm. Our eyes have four types of receptors. Rods, S-Cones, M-Cones, and L-Cones. Rods have little to do with color, so I won't really discuss them any further. The three different types of cones are sensitive to different wavelengths of light. Our eyes and brains interpret how much the different cones are being activated and interpret that data as color.

Follow the human color perception rabbit hole.

Making Colors

Color Spaces


Further Reading

I have put together a page of references I found useful.