Humans, apes and many monkeys, ground squirrels, and many species of fish, birds, and insects have well-developed color vision. However, 7 or 8 percent of human males are completely lacking in the ability to recognize color.
Animals with poor color vision are unable to distinguished between shades of reds and greens. Their world consist of blends of blues, yellows, and grays. These animals with limited color vision or none at all include rabbits, cats, dogs, mice and rats. Nocturnal animals like the owls, foxes, skunks, and raccoons, who have vision which is developed for seeing in dim light, rarely have good color vision. By comparison, the human eye does not distinguish color well in dim light.To the normal human eyes, they perceive a wide range of color, from the a bright yellow of a daisy to the soft blue of a stately patterns of the blue jays feathers. Most people can reproduce any color by mixing pigments (paints or dyes). These are reproduced by different intensities of wavelengths of light.
Human vision is called trichromacy because the retina is composed of layers of nerve cells which captures the light waves and transmits descriptions to the brain uses only three types of light-absorbing pigments for color vision. One theory is that the eye can mix red, blue and yellow dots as with computer and television monitors to project the perception of full spectrum color.
Many other primates have trichromacy vision. Nonprimate mammals usually have dichromat vision, which is color vision with the ability to see two kinds of visual pigments. Some nocturnal mammals have only one pigment. Many birds, fish and reptiles have the ability to see four visual pigments. These animals can detect ultraviolet light which is invisible to our eyes.
When I was a young child my dad would take me to the local hardware store with him. While he was looking at tools, I would gather a set of paper laminate samples. I would play with them for days and compose color combinations. I did not know what I was doing, but I did enjoy seeing the results of the change of adjacent colors. You can do this with laminate or paint samples.
When you have some quiet time try these exercises.
1. Select a color. Look around for that color where you are sitting. You will become sensitive to that color for now.
2. Select a second color. Abandon color number one, focusing on color number two. you will start to notice many places where color number two is.
3. Continue with other primary or secondary colors.
You will be amazed at your improved color sensitivity.
Next time we will begin working on dissecting colors. That will help with color identification and with the selection of complimentary colors.
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