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Chapeter 4. Color

Since humanity began, we have been using the intrinsic colors of objects in the natural world. The artists of Altamira and Lascaux used ochres, colored earths, to draw their magnificent animals some 20,000 years ago. A now-extinct shellfish provided the dye used for the purple stripe on a Roman senator's toga. The blue robes of Sandro Botticelli's gentle Madonnas are tinted with ground lapis lazuli, a blue stone.

In this chapter, we move from typography to color theory—color's characteristics and interactions. Ultimately, of course, color is all about light, and the way our eyes react to it. The human eye can distinguish upwards of ten million distinct colors—a huge problem space that any systems analyst will tell you must be structured and organized.

This is what color theory does. However, traditional color theory is based on the mixture of pigments, while the display of color on a computer monitor is a mixture of light, which, as we'll see, is slightly different in its details.

The first two sections of this chapter deal with traditional, pigment-based color theory without translation. In designing color for your user interfaces, it's traditional theory that must guide you. The next section looks at the differences between color models, including the ARGB model used on computers, and finally, the last section looks at the .NET Framework objects used to manipulate color.

Come on, admit it, it's a lot more fun than memory allocation models (or at least no more tedious).

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