The Munsell color system is a color system that specifies colors according to three color dimensions, hue, value, and chroma (difference from gray with a given hue and lightness).
Professor Albert H. Munsell, an artist, wanted to produce a “rational method to describe color” in accordance with the principle of “perceived equidistance”, which would use decimal notation as opposed to color names (that he felt were “foolish” and “misleading”). He first started work on the machine in 1898 and published it 100 % form in Color Notation in 1905. The munsell color chart remains used today.
Munsell constructed his system around a circle with ten segments, arranging its colors at equal distances and selecting them in a way that opposing pairs would bring about an achromatic mixture.
The system consists of an irregular cylinder using the value axis (light/dark) running up and down through it, as does the axis of the earth.
Dark colors are towards the bottom from the tree and light-weight on the top, measured from 1 (dark) to 10 (light).
Each horizontal “slice” in the cylinder across the axis is actually a hue circle, which he divided into five principal hues: red, yellow, green, blue, and purple, five intermediates, yellow-red, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue, and red-purple.
Munsell hue is specified by selecting one of these simple ten hues, then discussing the angle inside them from 1 to 10.
“Chroma” was measured right out of the center of the wheel, with lower chroma being less saturated (washed out, like pastels). Be aware that there is not any intrinsic upper limit to chroma. Different areas of the hue space have different maximal chroma coordinates. As an example light yellow colors have significantly more potential chroma than light purples, due to the nature of the eye as well as the physics of color stimuli. This generated an array of possible chroma levels, along with a chroma of 10 may or may not be maximal based on the hue and value.
One is fully specified by 85dexupky the three numbers. As an illustration a fairly saturated blue of medium lightness would be 5B 5/10 with 5B meaning the hue in the midst of the blue hue band, 5/ meaning medium lightness, along with a chroma of 10.
The initial embodiment of the system (the 1905 Atlas) had some deficiencies being a physical representation from the theoretical system. They were improved significantly in the 1929 Munsell Book of Color and thru a substantial number of experiments completed by the Optical Society of America inside the 1940’s causing the notations (sample definitions) for the modern Munsell Book of Color. The device remains commonly used in a number of applications and represents among the finest available data sets on the perceptual scaling of lightness, chroma and hue.
Advantages: A fairly simple system for comparing colors of objects by assigning them some numbers based on standard samples. Widely used in practical applications such as painting and textiles.
Disadvantages: Complementary colors usually are not on opposite sides, to ensure one cannot predict the outcomes of color mixing perfectly.