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Chapter 1 – Introduction to Color Study


  1. What is the difference between direct light and reflected light? Give examples of each.


  1. Describe the cause of color, the means used to generate it, and the effect.


  1. What are some reasons why colors can be unstable?


  1. What is color temperature?


  1. How does the PANTONE color system work?


  1. What are the three attributes that every color possesses?


The Nature of Light


  1. What is light? Sketch a light wave and label the wavelength.


  1. How are electromagnetic waves and sound waves different? Discuss what causes the wave oscillations, the wave speeds, the medium required (if any), the range of frequencies, and whether the waves are transverse or longitudinal.


  1. What are the different types of EM waves found in the electromagnetic spectrum?


  1. What is the range of wavelengths of visible light?


  1. For the following EM waves, either their wavelength or frequency is specified. You are to first calculate the missing quantity (frequency or wavelength) using the equation c = fλ, where the speed of light c = 3*108 m/s.  Then look up the wave in the EM spectrum table and state which type of wave it is (radio, infrared, microwave, visible light, ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma ray).  If the wave is visible light, state what color it is.  Note that 1 nm = 10-9 m, 1 mm = 10-3 m, and 1 μm = 10-6 m.
  2. a) 450 nm f = 6.67*1014 Hz  visible (blue/indigo)
  3. b) 0*1014 Hz λ = 6.00*10-7 m = 600 nm (yellow/orange)
  4. c) 7 m f = 6.38*107 Hz (radio)
  5. d) 3*1019 Hz λ = 9.09*10-12 m (gamma rays)
  6. e) 2 mm f = 1.5*1011 Hz (microwaves)
  7. f) 5 μm f = 1.2*1014 (infrared)
  8. g) 1*1015 Hz λ = 4.91*10-8 m (ultraviolet)


  1. What is a photon?


  1. What is the law of reflection?


  1. What is refraction?


  1. What is dispersion?


  1. What causes the rainbow?


Chapter 2 – A Little Light on the Subject


  1. What are common sources of light?


  1. What are the pure hues of light?


  1. Does additive color apply to direct or reflected light? What about subtractive color?


  1. What factors influence color in the illuminant mode (direct light) of vision?


  1. What factors influence color in the object mode (reflected light) of vision?


  1. How does mixing colored light differ from mixing colored paints?


  1. What are the primary additive colors? The primary subtractive colors?


  1. The surface of the sun is 5800 K.
  2. a) Use Wien’s Displacement Law to calculate the peak wavelength emitted.

Use λmax = (2.899*10-3 mK)/T.   Answer:  499.6 nm

  1. b) What color is this? (Look up the wavelength on a spectrum.) light blue


  1. Average human body temperature is 98.6 °F.

Use TK = (5/9)(TF – 32) + 273

  1. a) Convert this to degrees Kelvin. 310 K
  2. b) Calculate the peak wavelength emitted by a human. Use Wien’s Displacement Law.  9348 nm
  3. c) In what portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is this wavelength? Would you be able to see this with your eyes?  If not, how could you detect this radiation? infrared


  1. How does an incandescent lamp work?


  1. How does a fluorescent lamp work?


  1. How does an LED lamp work?


  1. What is metamerism? What could cause it?


  1. White light passes through a red filter. What color is seen?  Why?


  1. Green light passes through a red filter. What color is seen?  Why?


  1. Green light passes through a cyan filter. What color is seen?  Why?


Chapter 3 – The Human Element


  1. Identify the following parts of the eye. Explain the function of each.


  1. What is a visual threshold?


  1. 3. What is an interval?


Chapter 4 – The Vocabulary of Color

  1. What is hue?
  2. How is hue expressed in different color models: RGB (red/green/blue), CMYK (cyan/magenta/yellow/black), Hue/Saturation/Value (HSV)?
  3. What are primary, secondary, and intermediate colors? Give examples in the RGB and CMYK systems.
  4. What are complementary colors? Give examples.
  5. What are black, white, and gray? How are these produced in RGB, CMYK, and HSV?
  6. What is value?
  7. How can different values be produced?
  8. What is saturation?
  9. Explain how additive color mixing works in the RGB model with direct light.
  10. Explain how subtractive mixing works in the CMYK model for print with reflected light.
  11. Describe how computer monitors produce color. (Hint:  additive mixing.)
  12. Describe how a video projector produces color. (Hint:  additive mixing, reflection off a white screen.)
  13. Describe how print inks produce color. (Hint:  subtractive mixing.)


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