Archive for the ‘Metamerism’ Category

What was I thinking?

What was I thinking?

Have you ever picked out an outfit in your closet light and then step outside to only find that your top doesn’t match your bottom and say “what was I thinking”. Surely you think you had pretty good color vision or at least good taste but then you think you are slipping or someone is playing a joke on you. All these things could be true but most likely you encountered a case of metamerism. That isn’t a rare disease that affected your vision during the night but a common situation of a difference in light sources.

Just as color is part of the visible spectrum so are light sources so two different light sources have two different wavelengths. If you select two colors and each of them was possibly made with a different set of colorants or dye formulas then it is possible that when viewed under different light sources they may or may not match. In the clothing industry the most common incidence of metamerism is found in black material. Fabric manufacturers often combine several colors to produce black and to most people all blacks are equal, but in fact they may be very dark blue or dark green, so when compared to each other, especially in different light sources they will appear poles apart.

With the current trend of replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs we are finding more people complaining that their furniture and walls are the not color they originally thought. They may find that their sofa no longer matches the carpet or the walls no longer match the drapes when in fact they did not change but the light source did. It is always best to coordinate or match a color in the light situation in which it will be placed.

Pat Verlodt