Xerox scientists are developing a new technology to make adjusting colors in a document as easy as simply describing the color. Users can type make the sky a deeper blue or give a voice command make the background carnation pink and the software does the work. The invention, still in the research stage, creates color language by translating human descriptions of color into the precise numerical codes that machines use to print color documents.
"Today, especially in the office environment, there are many non-experts who know how they would like color to appear but have no idea how to manipulate the color to get what they want," said Geoffrey Woolfe, principal scientist in the Xerox Innovation Group.
Woolfe's discovery means that color adjustments could be made on devices like color office printers and commercial presses without having to deal with the mathematics. For instance, cardinal red on a printer or monitor is really expressed by a set of mathematical coordinates that identify a specific region in a three-dimensional space, which is the gamut of all the colors that the device can display or print. To make that color less orange, the color expert morphs that region to a new region in the gamut.
The ability to use common words to adjust color would have far-reaching implications for non-experts as well as graphic artists, printers, photographers, and other creative professionals.
Woolfe focused his research on common human descriptions of color. He found common words used to distinguish different shades and colors could be mapped to the technical language of color created by engineers and used in office printers and commercial presses.
Woolfe's invention could be applied in many different ways. Add voice commands to the technology, and one could literally tell a computer to punch up the purple in a bouquet of flowers. Or office printers could be commanded to print colors a certain way, for instance: when printing green, make it more of a teal green. It also would have many uses in digital printing – making it easier for print providers to communicate with their customers.