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Real World Color Management, Second Edition by Fred Bunting, Chris Murphy, Bruce Fraser

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2. Computers and Color: Color by the Numbers

Computers know nothing about color except what we humans tell them. They’re just glorified adding machines that juggle ones and zeros to order. One of the many ways we use numbers on the computer is to represent color. To do that, we need some kind of mathematical model of color. Applying mathematical models to reality is always tricky, but it’s particularly so when dealing with something as slippery and subjective as color. The great mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton, made many important discoveries about color, but as far as we know he never tried to model it mathematically. Instead he went onto simpler subjects like inventing calculus and discovering the mechanical laws of the universe.

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