Purple – Part Two

As said before, this is a bunch of BS, please ignore me and move on.

Please Note: I am purposely making generalizations in my statements. I am aware of lasers, actual color output from monitors, and other things, but these inaccuracies do not invalidate my overall message. I assume you are adult enough to understand that absolutes don’t exist, absolutely, and that their existence does not invalidate my point. Understanding those details is left as an exercise for the reader.

Where do things stop being purple? Well, when does red stop being red? If we look back at the spectrum, orange is about 635nm, so everything with a bigger wavelength will be an orangy-red till it becomes a redy-orange. Does purple stop at that? Halfway to that? Right where it becomes more orangy than redy? Would you ever say that is a really orangy-purple? Or an orangy-blue? What about a yellowy-purple? What would that be? Is it always just brown?

I present to you here my brand new True Color Spectrum. (Figure 1) shows my True Color Spectrum, also known as The Purple Spectrum. This image contains two rainbows laid opposite superimposed over each other both with 50% opacity (that’s like “see throughy-ness”.) The top one is on a white background, the bottom on a black. As you can see it is ALL purple, except maybe kinda there near green…Just like I said last time. This is what we really see…sort of.

As you may remember from yer schoolins, your eyes have in them two sets or receptors, rods and cones. Rods are basically black and white, they show you how “bright” something is [lies!], while cones pick up colors. Though our cones let us see the full spectrum of colors, our perception of them is not linear; That is to say you see some colors better than others. Figure 2 shows the “color peaks” most people have, the colors they see the “best.”

As you can see from the graph humans generally have “color peaks” for blue, green, and red. Specifically, the three types have peak wavelengths near 564–580 nm, 534–545 nm, and 420–440 nm. So we actually see Those colors BETTER than other colors.

Figure 3 contains what I am calling the “Normalized Spectrum.” Unfortunately I never learned how to do computer grafix stuff, so it’s shitty, feel free to do a better job and send me it as I would love to see it. The top two bars are the two rainbows overlaid with black/white gradients with peaks around where our eyes do. The middle two are the same but a single rainbow. And the bottom image is just a normal rainbow at full color for comparison. I also left some of the background visible so you could see the gradients on it.

Colors are amazing. When we limit ourselves to seeing a forest as “green” or the sky as “blue” we are overlooking some of the amazing nuances there are to be enjoyed. Being in Asheville has allowed me to experience the seasons evolving the colors in my life in a deeper way. Seeing trees change from brown, to light green to dark to yellow, orange, red, and back to brown, and SO VERY MANY many in between, is magical. I hope you enjoy the colors you experience!

Part 1: http://www.mattevanoff.com/2024/06/purple-part-one/

Part 3: http://www.mattevanoff.com/2024/06/purple-part-three/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *