As you may know, we operate a color rendering service  Professional clients such as paint contractors, paint brands and designers send us pictures of buildings. We make the pictures interactive so that they can be colored. This helps our clients to sell their colors and designs to their customers. The photo below can be colored here.

From time to time we put our competitors', as well as our own color rendering service, to the test. Recently we submitted a real-life job, which was first submitted to us by one of our own clients, to some of our competitors. We think it's healthy to keep an eye on our own performance, in comparison to others. For your information, we share the results with you. The images below have been rendered with similar colors. But as you can see, not all colors are created equal. The full report can be downloaded here

Structural colors are on the rise. Structural coloration is the production of color by nano structured surfaces, rather than pigments. Peacock feathers and butterfly wings are examples of structural color.
Lately we've seen many research papers appearing on the subject. A recent one is here, by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Their work is a follow up on the work we reported on earlier here. After imitating Tarantula blue, they now discovered a way to make the color consistent when viewed from different angles. 

Structural colors aren't ready for prime-time yet. But that only seems a matter of time...

The last couple of years we've been bombarded with apps that claim to measure color. The procedure is simple: take a picture of a colored object and the app will tell you which paint color comes closest. However, these apps never deliver as promised. Most measurements are off, not even close. Your green could easily become blue, your brown becomes red. The reason is simple: colors in a photo are subject to lighting, which hugely affects the color of the surface. This is explained in the very first post on our weblog: 'What is Color?'
As a result, colors can only be measured reliably with an additional hardware measurement device that has its own standarized light source. There are some on the market which are small and can be coupled with your smartphone. Which is great, but still requires you to purchase and carry around an extra device. However, some German scientists may have come up with a solution, the HawkSpex app. Their app uses the smartphone screen as a light source.

By manipulating the light of the screen, they managed to turn a smartphone into a full-fledged spectrophotometer. Spectros are great. Not only do they allow you to measure colors reliably, they can also tell a lot about the chemical components of an object. The latter feature is used by the new app to test if food is safe to eat. But considering that the smartphone is turned into a spectro, it seems only a matter of time before someone comes up with an app to reliably match a surface to paint color.

It's interesting to note that many 'experts' on color fail to define what color really is. Could it be that they don't know? 

"Newton himself, who actually introduced the word “spectrum” into the English language to refer to the range of possible colors, eventually dismissed the idea that colors are literally contained in the light. “For the Rays, to speak properly, are not coloured. In them there is nothing else than a certain Power and Disposition to stir up a Sensation of this or that Colour.” Three hundred years on, what and where colors actually are remains a mystery."

If you're ready for some mind boggling ideas about color, here are more thoughts on the subject, by Riccardo Manzotti, philosopher, psychologist, and artificial intelligence scholar.

Research at Delft University in The Netherlands shows that background colors affect the attractiveness of vegetables.

Five different vegetables were presented on four different background colors. The researchers found that their attractiveness varied with the backgrounds. But there's no rule of thumb: quite different backgrounds proved optimal for the various vegetables. The outcomes suggest that it will be difficult to find a background color on which a large number of vegetables can be presented in the best possible way.