Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not really feeling like posting anything about my Young Adults group today. We are transitioning to a new unit and mostly just talked about what was coming up but nothing really blog worthy. This means I can show off my geek with some random fun facts. I love that widget at the bottom of my blog.

I think the one I've been thinking about the most lately is the way our eyes work. We have cone and rod receptors in our eye. Basically the cones pickup three colors (red, green and blue) and the brain combines them into all the colors we can see. The rods are much more sensitive to light but are pretty much grey scale. The center of your eye is almost entirely cones so we can focus and see the best detail in what we are looking at. The periphery of the eye has more rods because it is important to see motion but not so much detail in what is going on around you. Imagine being out hunting. You want to have detail and depth perception to pick out the animal you are trying to kill but you want to see things coming at you like a bear but the motion is much more important that the detail otherwise the brain gets information overload. For those ADD people out there imagine if everything in your field of vision was in sharp detail. You would never get anything done.

Now this is why I've been thinking about this. It turns out that since the rods are much better at low light work and movement you shouldn't try and look directly at things in the dark. You should try to look above, below, or beside what you are trying to see when the light is low. I take my dog potty in the woods at night. He is large and black so he tends to disappear into the shadows. If I try and look at him I will lose him every time, but if I look a couple feet above him I can track him quite well without my flashlight.

Try it out. Seriously you can see all kinds of movement in the dark so long as you aren't actually looking right at it. The hard part is training yourself to look at things differently than you do all day long.

I'm betting there is a sermon illustration in that.

This has been a random fun fact by Nick the Geek


katdish said...

I have a beef with your theory. What about yellow? Red, blue and yellow are the basis of all colors. When used in combinations, they form every other color. Black and white are also in the mix, but they are not colors persea. How does green get in over yellow? It hardly seems fair.

Nick the Geek said...

You are right about pigment mixing, which is subtractive mixing, but you are wrong about light mixing, which is additive mixing.

Pigments, like paint and such, start with Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow (Red Blue and Yellow are close enough for children) and then those blend into every color in the rainbow and then some. You get shades by mixing in black (actually not true black but close enough). This is called CMYK (k is black) color in graphic design and it is what printers use.

By mixing red and blue you get purple. This is because the pigment absorbs the other wavelengths and what gets reflected back is purple.

Now light mixing is based on red, blue, and green. Those are the primary colors of light. If you've ever seen an old projection TV you will remember the three lights are red, blue, and green. If you still have an old CRT you can put a drop of water on the screen and see the separate lights that mix to form the colors on the screen.

With this the total wavelength is added to to get the additional colors.

To help illustrate the difference if you take pigments and combine them you will get a darker color, but when working with light combining the colors will give you a lighter color. You can take 3 spot lights and put red, blue, and yellow gels on them. Then overlap them so that the center is white and the other colors blend into magenta, cyan, and yellow.

Hope that makes sense. I had to explain this to my college physics teacher because he kept confusing the two categories.

katdish said...

Okay. I'm an artist, not a physicist. My understanding of color is, as you say, childlike. For instance, I know that if I paint a red ball and want to add depth and dimension, I need to add green with red to create a color for shading. Why do I need to do that, Nick?

P.S. - Come claim your prize over at smartypants.

Nick the Geek said...

Not childlike. Your understanding of color is probably better than mine within the realm of pigments. I have to use a color wheel when I play with colors. I'm very technical in my mixing and coordinating. Just the way I work.

As for adding green to red for your shading color that is the old color wheel at work. A standard color wheel lays the colors out based on how they mix. Red is opposite green because blue and yellow make green. Mixing the two create a not black color that is perfect for dark shading on red or green objects because that is how it works in reality. This generally holds true for any color on the color wheel. By adding amounts of the opposite color you create darker shading with greater depth than just black would create.

BTW, as an artist that works with pigment you don't really need to know much about light mixing. I deal with both from printing (pigment) and light in both stage lighting and on screen graphics.

katdish said...

Thanks for the color wheel explanation. (That was actually a rhetorical question, btw.)

But your explanation is way more impressive than mine.

Ryan B said...

Nick, you are ridiculously smart. Thanks for the fun fact. I'll try it out later. Does SYP have the special ability to see in the dark without looking a few feet above an object or is he only human in that aspect?

Nick the Geek said...

Ryan B,
Yes that was the first super power given to SYP. It was suggested by Steph at the Red Clay Diaries. It is so he can see the couples making purple in the dark. This Saturday he will be using this in his attempts to fight the love crazed zombie teens.

Post a Comment