Light-color, Chromatic Lights, Transparent and Opaque Surface Colors

In cases of white or similar-to-white light we are speaking of light-color, in other words white light, with a different spectral composition.

On the other hand, chromatic lights are lights which include color stimuli producing chromatic color sensations. The fiery red setting sun or the glow of a fire are examples of chromatic lights as well as the greenish light emitted by glow-worms. The red, green, and blue types of phosphorus contained in screen plates of color monitors are likewise chromatic lights.

Transparent surface colors are see-through layers of ink which absorb a part of the light striking the surface and transmit the remaining light, the residual light. Such transparent ink layers are also called chromatic filters. Chromatic photography (color photography) operates with this type of chromatic filtering layers the same way as traditional three-color and four-color printing does. Aquarelles are also translucent color materials. The color of translucent ink layers can only be recognized in front of white light or on a white background as the ink layer itself has no reflective properties and for that reason the color of the background or the transmission light would come into play.

On the contrary, opaque surface colors are color materials which automatically, that is directly, reflect the not absorbed light rays. One cannot see though them. For that reason the color of the background they are applied to is irrelevant, it could be any. Lacquer paints, e.g. for cars, which are applied to gray sheet metal are such opaque color materials, as much as the oil-paints and gouaches used by artists for their paintings

Naturally, there exist all types of intermediate stages between translucent and opaque colors, more precisely, colors which are partially translucent and partially opaque. In the Theory of Color we study only the extremes in order to explain the underlying governing laws and make them understood.

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