Xerox Scientists Create Computer Language to Describe Color
Document management and technology giant
Xerox Corporation announced a computer language that allows translates detailed
human descriptions of color - such as "brilliant yellow" - into
mathematical algorithms that tell a computer how to edit that specific hue. To
develop the Natural Language Color technology, Xerox color scientists used
special measurement instruments called colorimeters to associate numbers with
specific attributes of light or dark, color name and vividness.
Xerox said unlike current color printers and
applications that use wheel or slide color editors offering limited changes to
brightness or contrast across the entire image, Xerox's technology can alter
the color in specific areas of the image without affecting the rest of the
document. The proper instructions are sent to the printer and the resulting
image is printed. The company also announced plans to expand Natural Language
Color technology to more printers, multifunction systems, and other Xerox
workflows in the future.
"You shouldn't have to be a color scientist to get the
right color where you want it," said Karen Braun, herself a color
scientist at the Xerox Research Center Webster in New York. "We created a
tool that is as natural and as easy to use as simply describing what you want
to change. The tool allows customers to meet ever-tighter deadlines by bringing
color printing tasks in-house, right to the desktop."
Braun's team of color scientists, engineers,
and work-practice specialists studied focus groups to learn how people describe
and distinguish between different colors as well as different shades. The team
found people were surprisingly consistent with each other in their use of color
language. "Xerox performed thousands of experimental observations to ensure
that the phrasing accurately adjusts the colors," she said. "With
more than 65 words in its vocabulary, the software can create over 50,000
possible color variations of the user's picture."
Xerox has provided a video of Braun demonstrating how to change colors in an image using Natural Language Color, as well as an online demo the technology translates detailed human descriptions of color into the mathematical algorithms that computers and printers understand. Some phrases include simple commands such as "Make the blues a lot more vibrant" or "Make the skin-tone colors slightly more warm," to adjust color in specific areas of an image. In the demo, users can change color in specific areas of a photograph without needing to use editing software. While the company notes scientists at Xerox are still researching the software, a version of the technology now is available as the Color By Words feature of the recently announced Xerox Phaser 7500 color printer.