Inspired by her passions for art theory and computer science, Sarah Brown, a senior Texas A&M visualization student from Ft. Worth, created a computer program for building new, exciting color palettes with harmonious hues. Her work was featured in the Fall 2017 issue of “Explorations,” the Texas A&M undergraduate research journal highlighting the semester’s best student work.
Brown’s essay, “Spiraling through Color,” details how the program generates 3-D color spirals, or palettes, visualizing new color harmonies ordered by hue, saturation and value.
Color theorist and scholar Albert Munsell, who manually created spiraling color models, provided in inspiration for Brown’s application, which can generate thousands of 3-D palettes.
“A bridge is required between the way a computer interprets color and the way Munsell did,” Brown wrote.
She uses algorithms to generate the spiral paths that determine color values. The resulting color spirals in 2-D, 3-D and even conical shapes link swatches of complimentary and harmonious colors.
“Whether or not a particular combination of colors is visually appealing is subjective, but this computer program offers a new perspective on how value and chroma can tie a palette together,” Brown wrote. “That is harmonizing on new dimensions of color.”
Her approach could be used in data visualization or graphic design, where visually balancing colors precisely is paramount. Brown plans to create a website where people could create their own spiral palettes.
Another senior visualization student, Carolina Pereira, from Sao Joe dos Campos, Brazil, also contributed to the Fall editon of “Explorations,” providing cover art for the publication. Her intricate pencil drawing of sea animals and plants floating out of a beaker was created for “Replicating the Origin of Life in a Lab,” another article in the magazine.