Color Spaces

Complimentary Color Spaces are basically different methods used to describe the individual components that make up what the eye perceives as color. None of them are right or wrong. They are individual and each one has its purpose. The selection of one over the other is primarily a matter of choice. Traditionally, consoles only allow you to work in the color space native to the light you are controlling. That is, if you have Red, Green and Blue LED lights, you would be working in the additive RGB space. If you have RGBW lights, you'd need to work with four colors. Working with five or even more sources can get out of hand quickly when we're all used to a tristimulus world.  White-sourced lights mix colors with Cyan, Magenta and Yellow dichroics and work in the subtractive CMY space.  Some solid state lights actually expect attribute data in Hue, Saturation and Luminance and this can be problematic when you want to fade from a hue of 5% to a hue of 80% as this will show you most of the rainbow; not very subtle! Even though some consoles have color-pickers that allow you to quickly grab any colors, at the end of the day, they generally fading from one triplet of CMY (or RGB or HSL etc.) to another when they run cues.


Natural Langue Control allows you to choose and fade in different color spaces: RGB, CMY, HSV (Subtle) and HSV (Rainbow). Having the ability to choose ANY light and work in these spaces is a real benefit because in the old days of DMX512 controllers, you would have to first pick the RGB lights and set them with your wheels, then pick the CMY lights and set them. If you mixed the two types of color systems, they 'fought' each other and doing that can quickly destroy the art on stage. Choosing a color is one thing, but fading from one scene to another in different color spaces can unify a diverse lighting rig with better synchronicity than ever before.


This is how a fade looks in the RGB space fading from purple to green. Mid way between Cue 1 and Cue 2, all of the RGB LEDs come on brighter than when producing a saturated color and the fixture 'bloom' towards white (less saturation).


When you start with white light and introduce CMY flags, midway between Cue 1 and Cue 2, most of the dichroic glass is in the lens tube sucking most of the color (and intensity) out of the light and you 'dip' toward mud.


Regardless of what color system your fixtures use, if you fade in the HSV color space from, say, purple to green where the saturation is pretty much unchanged, the only attribute that moves is Hue.


This sort of fade avoids white and mud and looks more natural on stage. Note that the Natural Language Control decides to fade clockwise around this color space. That is because going through blue seems natural when going from purple to green. We call this a Subtle fade. If we went from pink to amber, it would fade through red. It always takes the shortest path between color or the path that produces the fewest color changes.


If you want a more dynamic effect when switching colors, you might choose the HSV (Rainbow) color space. You still define Hue in degrees (for example, cyan is 180°) but when it fades it takes the 'long way' around.



Next: Conclusion