Human beings are extremely flawed when it comes to colour. We see such a tiny fraction of the entire colour spectrum, and because of this we miss out on a lot of what there is to see. But what we do see is sometimes beautiful beyond words.
With more and more people taking an interest in photography, more people are editing images. A large percentage of those who are editing images are mostly adjusting colour and tone, but one key thought is often missed out when using editing programs. Your brain views colours differently in different environments. It’s easy to forget that our brain takes shortcuts, and tries to perceive things how it believes they should be perceived. The human eye adapts what it sees all the time, and when a certain colour is next to a different colour, the brain adjust how it views the original colour. An example of this as an animation is below, taken direct from the following wonderfully insightful website – http://colorisrelative.com. I definitely recommend having a quick look at the website, as it allows for a better visual understanding. To use the website, just move your cursor over the coloured blocks.
So what does this mean. For anyone who might be concerned about colour in their photography, then realising that surrounding colour will effect your image will be a simple step in the right direction. So how do people combat this? There are a number of ways that can help.
1) As mentioned above, control the lighting in your room. Don’t have the lights off, as that can hurt your eyes and makes editing for long periods of time more difficult. But also don’t have them too bright either. You can help control the light is with a monitor hood, as shown below.
2) Having a neutral grey desktop background helps if you have Photoshop set to a standard screen. This does make your desktop look incredibly boring though. Neutral (50%) grey is best, as it doesn’t affect your judgement over how a colour looks. This incidentally is why most editing programs have the tabs / buttons in grey.
3) I have my setup in Photoshop the following way. Whenever I work, I have my screen set to the maximised mode. To do this, just hit the “f” key, and it will cycle between Standard, Maximised, and a plain black presentation background. If you right click on the background of the maximised screen, you can change the colour it is set to. Most decent editing programs will offer this option, you may have to google what it is for whatever program you are using.
As I use the maximised mode, I can have whatever desktop background I want as it won’t affect the colours. The following is what I use for my screen at work. Click on the image if you want the full resolution version to download yourself.
Which apparently makes an awesome jumper.