Talk:Color wheel

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Studying the added section[edit]

It is talking almost exclusively about the RYB color wheel. Any improvements to make?? 20:09, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)


I've restored this article from a redirect to Color theory, since this is a topic that definitely deserves its own article. Perhaps in 2004, when the article was cleared and redirected, it wouldn't have been important enough for an article, but the color wheel is a very important topic in the study of art, and simply redirecting to Color theory (where the color wheel is not at all discussed in depth) doesn't help anyone. It was probably never created again because it was a redirect and just passed over. -- BlastOButter42 See Hear Speak 22:19, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

merge from color circle[edit]

“Color circle” and “color wheel” describe the same thing, as far as I can tell, and should therefore be merged. Maybe in the process this article can be improved, its inaccuracies can be removed, and some sources can be found. --jacobolus (t) 01:56, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Nevermind, I retract my suggestion. --jacobolus (t) 01:58, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Seems like it might have been a good idea. What changed your mind? Dicklyon 04:59, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Well the color circle article says that it's a different concept, used in psychology. But it doesn't really give a great explanation of exactly what it's used for (some examples). Both articles definitely need improvement, but I won't second-guess the color circle article and claim the concepts are the same. --19:26, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
My quick look for refs that would distinguish them led me to believe they are the same, and that the distinction on the color circle page is unverifiable. Dicklyon 20:56, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Well would you advocate merging them then, and maybe putting a section on this article about "use in psychology" or similar? --jacobolus (t) 18:38, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes to the merge. Yes to the section if the sources support that. Dicklyon 18:43, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I put the merge template back. When the merge happens, I expect it will result in a "use in psychology" section, though it would be nice to have some of the authors of the color circle article chime in about that. --jacobolus (t) 19:02, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

A merger has been suggested before and defeated, due to the fact that the two concepts are entirely different. A colour wheel is entirely an artistic concept, a colour circle is entirely a psychological one. As I pointed out last time this came up,that would make a merger analogous to merging the articles on music and acoustics. As can be seen from looking at the diagrams on the two pages, the concepts are far from identical, and a quick glance at the text indicates that they also have completely different functions and purposes. I strongly oppose any proposal to merge the two pages, as I did last time. Grutness...wha? 23:38, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
Grutness, what's your source? When I google on color-circle and psychology, I get a lot fewer hits than color-wheel and psychology. Is there some definitive or reliable definition or source that you're basing your assertion on? Dicklyon 23:47, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
I have plenty of sources, from textbooks used during my time as a PhD student in psychology - the Krech et al and Schiffrin sources at the bottom of the color wheel article are two to start with - and also references used in my current occupation as a professional artist. ISTR that at least one of these sources (possibly Gregory's Eye and brain) compares and contrasts the two, spelling out the differences between a colour wheel and a colour circle. Give me a few days, and I'll easily be able to extend the article at color wheel. I'd do it today, but I have an exhibition opening in a couple of days time, so time is pretty tight at the moment. Grutness...wha? 00:16, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Most online mentions of "color circle" seem to be about "newton's color circle" or similar. Maybe it'd be best to move the article to, e.g. "color circle (psychology)"? I'll be glad to see your comparison of the two though, before judging. --jacobolus (t) 00:28, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
So maybe the distinction is primarily Gregory's distinction? I've never encountered it, and can't find much evidence in book search. See for example this book, or this one, or here, or one more, or even the World Book, or one final one, where the terms seem to be used interchangebly. If there's an important distinction to made, we certain need to provide a clear reference to who makes the distinction. Maybe Gregory is the right source for that. On the other hand, if the difference is not commonly recognized, that could best be done in a section of a merged article. Dicklyon 02:44, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I've now provided a number of different references, and expanded the colour circle article to the point where it should hopefully be quite obvious what the differences are. The terms are most certainly not used interchangeably (in fact, there is a tool used in psychophysics called the colour wheel, which is different again - a spinning disc which is used to simulate the mixing of different colours) - it's possibly for this reason that "colour circle" -"colour wheel" won't be a reliable guide of differences or similarities between the two. It's also why the term "colour wheel" is never used for this portrayal of spectral sensitivity in psychology (by way of comparison, the term colour circle is rare in art - a google search of "colour wheel" + art returns 30 times as many hits as "colour circle" + art). Believe me, anyone who has done considerable amounts of work in both art and visual psychophysics would be horrified at the suggestion that the two are the same. As I said, it's like saying music and acoustics are the same thing. If I get the time in the next few days, I'll try expanding the colour wheel article in the same way that I have the other article. Grutness...wha? 07:01, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Looking at 'Color Theory' would probably help the discussion here. Color theory is mainly an art design field with aspects brought in from perception and psychology as well. So color wheel and color circle might fall into the same discussion of color theory but niether of them falls 'under' the other. A specific test would be to look at the 'color circle' and see if green is directly opposite from red - this is the complementary color relationship. If the opposition is not shown in the diagram, then that diagram is not a 'color wheel' In looking at the 'color circle' image the relationships are not those of a 'color wheel' - need sources for this? - look at basic art design theory and color theory PunctumD 03:19, 25 September 2007 (UTC)PunctumD

I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. The issue here is whether a "color circle" is any different from just a regular additive mixing "color wheel", or is just the same thing, but describing the use in psychology. If it's just a different use for essentially the same thing, then it might be prudent to merge them into one article. If it's something more distinct than that, then leaving it in a separate article might be more useful. The "color circle" certainly has (additive, as in colored lights) complementary color relationships shown: that's one of its main purposes for existing. If these complements are different from those on a regular "artistic" color wheel, that is because the 19th century color wheel had things quite wrong. For real visual-perceptual complements, take a look at the hues across from each-other in the Munsell color system (hues stacked on top of each-other in this diagram), on which most modern models are based to one degree or another. --jacobolus (t) 06:42, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
I still don't get it either. If there's a clear difference, one would think it would be possible to find something online describing that difference. I pointed out several books where the terms are used interchangeably, it appears to me. Can nobody point out sources for the distinction, other than in dusty refs that I can't easily get at. I know, I should have Gregory's book, and I will order one. Dicklyon 07:25, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
I pointed out a number books where the two are clearly mentioned as different concepts. I certainly don't know why you keep referring to gregory's book as if it's the bible on the subject - most of the information mentioned and referenced in the article is from the several other books I listed - Gregory's book is a fairly simplistic overview; more detailed explanations are given in a couple of the other texts. Given that the two terms are used consistently by a number of writers on the subject as different concepts, and with consistent definitions of the difference between them, and given that those differences are now listed at colour wheel, I don't see the problem. Jacobolus, to answer your points, the colour circle might be described as one specific variety of colour wheel, used for different purposes, with different design, and with different historical antecedents. It is also considerably different in its hue relationships to the munsell colour wheel. The use, application, history, and specifications of the two are different enough that mixing them into one article is not a reasonable, practical, or sensible option. As I said, once the workload due to my current exhibition has decreased, I am planning to expand both articles. Once that is done it should be very clear that merging them would be not only ridiculous, but the mere suggestion of merging them would also be ridiculous. Please give me some time to do so. Grutness...wha? 11:22, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't mean to suggest they are the same. I was just trying to explain to PunctumD what this discussion has been about. --jacobolus (t) 11:46, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
I was referring to Gregory because you said "at least one of these sources (possibly Gregory's Eye and brain) compares and contrasts the two, spelling out the differences between a colour wheel and a colour circle," and because you haven't specifically pointed out others that do so; the refs don't make it clear. I still haven't seen anything I can read on this, so I was going to try to get a copy of that one; please recommend others, too, so I can see where you're coming from. Nothing that I've been able to find so far makes the distinctions that are so key to your position this. Dicklyon 15:06, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Of the ones I've listed so far, the Schiffman would probably be the best place to start. Grutness...wha? 23:34, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
OK, I got the Schiffman book. It does use color circle in the sense that you describe, but it does not contrast that with color wheel (except that it shows a spinning wheel that it calls a color wheel). It doesn't make a case for the term color circle being distinct from color wheel for that concept, so it doesn't counter the multiple sources I cited above that use the terms interchangeably. Plus, Schiffman goes into a lot of detail that shows how it can be used like a chromaticity diagram to find the hue and saturation of mixtures of different colors of light. If I'm not mistaken, colorimetry shows that that interpretion can not work with a circle; you need to use the actual shape of a projection of tri-stimulus parameters into a plane for that description to work; so he discredits himself by the false details. I checked another section on a topic that I'm expert on, and found it similarly flawed and misleading (pitch). So, while I don't mind using this book as a reference, it should not be given a lot of weight, and should be balanced with a more mainstream point of view. Dicklyon 06:23, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
The color glossary also distinguishes color wheel from color circle, incorporating descriptions from two different sources; on the color circle description, it describes it about as Schiffman does, but has a note in a box indicating that it's not precise, and that for more precie calculation of additive color mixing one needs to use CIE 1931 colorimetry; that supports my interpretation of where Schiffman came up short by suggesting that it works as he described, instead of saying it's just a conceptual approximation. Anyway, the description of the "standard" additive color wheel there says it has no information about saturation, so they reduce it to a hue circle. That glossary also uses the terms as if interchangable: "Hue determines the position on the color wheel or color circle." They never really contrast the concepts; they appear to be minor variants of the same idea, which could best be treated in the same article. Dicklyon 14:33, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Based on these sources, it seems clear that the difference between color wheel and color circle, written up by Grutness and citing Schiffman in this diff, is flawed; it is not explicitly supported by Schiffman, so is essentially original research. Dicklyon 14:39, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
It has been a few weeks since Grutness's big show finished up. Maybe he's no longer interested in discussing this? Should we just go ahead and do the merge? Dicklyon 06:26, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Ambiguity between this and color wheel technology[edit]

I noticed that this article is referenced from the article on DLP because the article is titled "Color Wheel". However, the color wheel that the DLP article is referring to is an actual physical wheel that spins to allow a device to reproduce each of the different color values with only a single light source. There should probably be another article that describes this device, with this article pointing out the distinction. 05:28, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable. I've never heard of this device… --jacobolus (t) 00:16, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
The device is also known as a filter wheel, or color filter wheel. See some here and here. We should do an article on it. Dicklyon 00:24, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
And there's another color wheel device that spins to mix the reflected light and make mixed colors from colored sectors on the wheel, for demonstration and experimental purposes. There's one shown in the Schiffman book. Dicklyon 06:16, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
That sounds rather like the "Maxwell disk" that has been used to explore color mixing since the mid 19th century. --jacobolus (t) 07:23, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's what it is; aka a "color top" according to the color glossary. It appears that only Schiffman calls it a color wheel. Dicklyon 14:25, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
here's US patent 717596 from 1903 by Albert Munsell for a “spinning-top” for such a use. --jacobolus (t) 10:24, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

merge tertiary color into this article[edit]

Tertiary color doesn't make sense, except with reference to a "color wheel" or similar model, so all relevant explanation would really need to be explained in both places. Also, an article on "tertiary colors" isn't going to add any information that wouldn't be appropriate at a "color wheel" article. So it should be merged into a section of this article. --jacobolus (t) 18:37, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree; there's not much to merge, since that's unsourced, but this is a better place for the concept. Dicklyon 18:38, 19 September 2007 (UTC)
It has been several months since this supposed "merge", but none of the information available on the old tertiary color is available here. Seeing as no one seems to want to actually incorporate the information (including me), I'm going to restore the old article. I searched for 'tertiary color' because I wanted to learn what the names of the tertiary colors were. I shouldn't have to sift through the history pages to find out. --Cryptic C62 · Talk 02:52, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I merged one small concept from there, but not the ugly tables and color names, none of which was sourced or otherwise useful, as far as I can tell. I think we should put that article out of its misery again, but I'll wait and see if you can convert it to something sourced first. Dicklyon (talk) 03:53, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Merging color circle[edit]

I've started to merge color circle, after obtaining another one of the references that Grutness cites to try to show that color wheel and color circle are distinctly different concepts. Like the Schiffman book, the Krech et al. book does not make a distinction between these concepts, but does use the term "color wheel" for the "color top", a spinning device with colored sectors. None of his sources provide anything to contradict the many sources that say that color wheel and color circle are alternative names for the same concept.

But the merge is not so easy. I do want to maintain some of what he says about psychologists preferring the term color circle and using it for additive colors, and artists preferring color wheel and subtractive or paint-mixing color models. That seems to be true, but may be WP:OR; at least it's hard to find a source that lays it out. And the details that Grutness reports about what Schiffman says about additive mixing color determination via straight lines inside the circle are just false, even if "verifiable" in that source. I'd rather report what's true, which is that for that to work, you need a chromaticity space with a horseshoe-shaped spectral local and a straight purple line, not a circle.

So I could use some help trying to merge the good parts of that article here (or there). And getting rid of the color schemes stuff, moving it to that other article. Or just some suggestions and/or encouragement (or not) about doing this merge. Dicklyon 04:13, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Most of that color circle article, like the history and the comparison to color wheel was written in one big diff by Grutness, mostly unsourced. So maybe it's OK to just ignore it. I'd like to say something about Young, Helmholtz, etc., but I don't think what it says about them, and Newton, is right. Dicklyon 04:57, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

OK, merged color circle and tertiary color here. Improvements are welcome. Dicklyon (talk) 08:44, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Confusing section[edit]

"The arrangement of colors around the color circle is often considered to be in correspondence with the wavelengths of light, as opposed to hues, in accord with the original color circle of Isaac Newton. Modern color circles include the purples, however, between red and violet."

By whom and how are they corresponded with wavelengths? What does this mean? How is it "in accord with" Isaac Newton? Which part isn't in accord with him?

Also, how are modern circles different than Newton's? Newton's hue circle also includes the non-spectral colors for the purposes of demonstrating color mixing. SharkD (talk) 19:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Newton's color circle shows violet adjacent to red. It's not clear to me whether he recognized purples or non-spectral colors in between. Dicklyon (talk) 19:30, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I was going by the image in this article, where the author superimposes the real spectrum upon Newton's chart. I didn't think to look closer at the text labels (or thought they matched up when I first looked at it). SharkD (talk) 20:42, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, according to these sources, the story is more complex than that. I suggest you work on it. Dicklyon (talk) 19:33, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I thought I came across a passage in a previous search of Opticks that referred to certain hues that could only be created by mixing and not by refraction, but I was unable to find it again. I might have been mistaken. SharkD (talk) 20:40, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
In this source, the author acknowledges something to the effect. Quote: "...although in the text Newton does refer to such purple mixtures as lying near the line OD..." Not sure whether the author agrees that these colors are present in the chart as well. SharkD (talk) 20:48, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Lots of images[edit]

I think that most of the images in the article could be moved to the gallery, as they're very similar and are mainly decorative when compared to the text they appear next to. SharkD (talk) 20:51, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

One main reason to include images on pages is to add variety to the layout, and be “decorative.” I don’t really see any reason that this article would be improved by moving all the images to a gallery at the bottom. —jacobolus (t) 05:14, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Same here; decorative is good. Dicklyon (talk) 06:57, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm interested from a design viewpoint, but I've never studied optics or colo(u)r theory for either art or science. My feeling as a layman is that the images are fine where they are, but the commentary needs a little fleshing out. It looks as if the basic science has been reduced to a coherent whole, but now it needs a little adumbration or (opposite metaphor) elucidation for those of us who don't aren't already familiar with the science. Once the text is filled out, it should match the images a little more comfortably and the problem should diminish. Pushing all the images down to a gallery instead of better explaining each one is the opposite of the approach I'd favo(u)r. —— Shakescene (talk) 10:07, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, right now it's just a vertical gallery. One that's just spread out across the article. SharkD (talk) 00:09, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Removed non-informative history section[edit]

I have removed the following as it was purely a reference note and added nothing to the explanation of the subject:

An in-depth history of the color circles, wheels, spirals, triangles, charts, and other order systems has been published, as a chapter of an e-book, by Sarah Lowe hard, focusing on the eighteenth century.[1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ogre lawless (talkcontribs) 20:57, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

"The Color Wheel" hatnote[edit]

Since "color wheel" and "the color wheel" are easily interchanged, and if you're lazy, entering the first into the search box brings you here, there should be a hatnote to the second, which you may be wanting, since it is almost the same title, just missing the definite article, which is something that is dropped by many people in other cases of "the". -- (talk) 23:51, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

I turned this into a DAB page, since there are three ambiguous terms. --KarlB (talk) 00:12, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Good move. Thanks. Dicklyon (talk) 00:28, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Confusing text on "The color circle and color vision" segment.[edit]

  • The contrasting color of certain color, located opposite of that certain color, on color wheel.


  • Arranging spectral colors in a circle to predict admixture of light stems from work by Sir Isaac Newton.

SergioPFloyd (talk) 22:34, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

Adding a "Use American English" template?[edit]

Any objections to adding a "Use American English" template to this page? The page has used the American spelling of "color" since its creation in 2004. Occasionally edits have been made using the British spelling, but subsequently these edits always get changed to the American spelling. Yesterday an editor, Clawraich (Dalek), made the following change to the first line: A colo(u)r wheel or colo(u)r circle is an abstract illustrative organization ... adding the "(u)"s.

I reverted the edit, but today the editor reverted mine back to his/her version - with the comment to "Consider Commonwealth Spelling" - logic not applied to any other English Wikipedia articles. As it stands now, the sentence looks very odd, but I have no wish to get into an edit war. Would appreciate some input on this. And again, I think it would be good to add the "Use American English" template. Thanks! - Xenxax (talk) 17:07, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

I've no objection as the article was originally written in en-US. I would however suggest, just like with similar articles, that we add a note of (colour wheel in Commonwealth English) in the first line, and then use en-US throughout the rest of the article. Using colo(u)r is just clunky and prone to misinterpretation (and not the way we do it on Wikipedia.) Canterbury Tail talk 16:01, 25 June 2016 (UTC)