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A Short History Of The Camera - The Annals Of The Rgb Color Codes
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A Short History Of the Camera  -  The Annals Of the Rgb Color Codes

What is the RGB color code? The familiar three-color scheme, red, green and blue, that we have seen in references color television and digital electronics video is, by no means a newer invention, coming with the television, etc. In actuality, the history of the camera resides inside the history of the RGB color code. This article is about the discoverer and the early development of this code.

James Clerk Maxwell Cracks the RGB Color Code When Considering the Human Eye

In 1855, when others were seeking out chemicals that, when laid against an object would morph to the color of the object like a chameleon when put amidst , James Maxwell was looking to the human eye for answers to the problem.

Humans see color because the inner surface of the eyes are covered with network of cone cells of three types. Each type is responsible for about one-third the total range of human sight. Those would be the sectors of visible light containing red, green and blue, with the pureness of these the focal point of each.

The Replicable Visual Reality

In his studies, Maxwell found that full color could be visually replicated on the principles of the human eye. He set out on the adventure by photographing a subject three times, each with a specific color filter on the lens.

Using pure red, green and blue, he now had three black and white prints with varying shades in the objects in the photographs. Maxwell successfully projected the three images through the filters appropriated for each, onto a screen and faithfully reproduced the subject in full color.

He further found that adjusting the intensity of the three filters with just the light passing through them, that he could produce any color of the rainbow he fancied.

RGB Comes to Photography

There were a number of problems with Maxwell’s model and, probably mostly due to misunderstanding and skepticism, the work done on the model had been discounted by the scientific community. About 50 years later, it would take up abode once again, this time having been reconsidered and readily adapted to photographic processes that had since developed.

The earliest color plates were very poor quality and extremely imperfect.

Nearing the end of the 19th century, a number of people rediscovered the phenomenon on their own, others convening upon the early work of Maxwell. The exact same principles used by Maxwell have not only been used throughout the entire film age and all video electronics, but continues today in digital technology as well. In the range of human experience, the three color code manifests itself, even in the most modern cameras today. There is no other substitute.

To Recap the Above:

  • Whilst everybody else was out looking for chameleon-like chemicals to replicate the visual world, James Clerk Maxwell discovers solution when studying the anatomy of the human eye.
  • Maxwell discovers that this replication could be accomplished with the right color filtering and camera positioning.
  • Maxwell also discovers that any hue could be attained by simply adjusting the brightness and intensities of the three filtered light sources.
  • A faulty exhibition on the subject in 1861 would put a temporary damper on further development.
  • Near the end of the 19th century, a number of people would rediscover these color principles and apply them to photography, thus the dawn of color photography.

As of today, there is no other color scheme in existence, at least that is known. However everything invented, having to do with visual production, from the earliest camera obscura to the most advanced high performance digital cameras available today could not exist without Maxwell’s three color code.

Street Talk

Your a hell of a writer my friend. Also your picture looks like one of the Pink Floyd album covers ;)

  about 8 years ago

Thanks. When I first heard that album in the mid 1970s, On the Run was so psychedelic. There was one time when I had every album (up to A Momentary Lapse of Reasoning when I stopped collecting) from Pink Floyd. Yea, that image looks even trippier than the actual album. I've had a lot of fun with this campaign (history of the camera) and I do have a few more articles that belongs to it and are not yet done. I will be moving on to the JetPack report on keywords in my existing pages and posts and creating articles from those. After this I need to move on to another campaign for a while, letting this one marinate for a bit.

  about 8 years ago
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