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Area Dominates Edge in Pointillistic Colour

  • Koenderink, Jan; 74227;
  • van Doorn, Andrea;
  • Gegenfurtner, Karl;
Publication Date
Aug 14, 2018
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In Pointillism and Divisionism, artists moved from tonal to chromatic palettes, as Impressionism did before them, and relied on what is often called optical mixture instead of stirring paints together. The so-called optical mixture is actually not an optical mixture, but a mental blend, because the texture of the paint marks is used as a means to stress the picture plane. The touches are intended to remain separately visible. These techniques require novel methods of colour description that have to depart from standard colorimetric conventions. We investigate the distinctiveness of transitions between regions as defined through such artistic techniques. We find that the pointillist edges are not primarily defined by luminance contrast but are achieved in almost purely chromatic ways. A very simple rule suffices to predict transition distinctiveness for pairs of cardinal colours (yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta, and red); it is simply distance along the colour circle or in the RGB cube. Distinctiveness of partition depends mainly on the colours of the regions, not the sharpness of the transition. / status: published

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