This week’s selection is “Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers” by Linda Holtzschue.
Color might seem to be a rather unusual topic for 3D printer operators, but hear me out. Color is vastly more important and useful than one might think.
In a 3D print world where almost every 3D printed part is mono-color — or “non color” where the color doesn’t matter, color is often not considered. But for any 3D printed object that is to be “seen”, color requires some attention.
But what is a “good” color? What colors are important? Which colors should be matched together?
These are sometimes baffling questions to engineers who are typically concerned with the mechanical design. That’s where this book comes in, as it provides a very comprehensive overview of the science of colors.
Color, as a medium, can be used to communicate concepts, raise or lower attention, and certainly convey feelings. When a designer understands this “language”, it is possible to design a color scheme to add value to any visual 3D printed design.
Those colors might be produced during the print if the 3D printer is capable of different colors, but more frequently will be applied after the fact through a paint step in post processing.
Holtzschue reviews all aspects of color, from understanding the human effects of color, to explaining the physics of light and how it manifests as the perception of color in our brains.
One particularly interesting section was the “Vocabulary of Color”, where the author spends 25 pages explaining the numerous words used to describe different types of colors and color scenarios. For example, how many readers know what a “tertiary” color is?
Of great importance are the concepts for color combinations, where Holtzschue explains the ideas of color matching, contrast, area, and even “afterimage” effects that occur when the viewer looks away.
There’s a short section on the history of color, which is actually an interesting subject: some believe ancient Greeks did not understand the color blue! A final section discusses the technical means to produce colors, but for 3D print purposes the major approach will be paint.
Have you considered the colors of your next 3D print project?
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