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W


e see the world as colorful; in nature and through man-made technologies. But how do we convert the yellow-green of a cactus plant into a product we can use to decorate a room or


view through the 4-color visual effect of printing inks on paper. We do it with pigments, powdered colors either extracted through the worldwide search of natural ingredients like rocks, flowers, and earths or synthesized pigments.


There are two kinds of color pigments: The kind of organic color pigments we see in Nature, and the kind of synthetic color pigments created by man-made technologies.


Pigments are formed by a group of compounds that are intensely colored and are used to colorize


other materials such as printing inks, paints and plastics. Pigments generally are insoluble and are applied not as solutions but as finely ground solid particles mixed with a liquid.


Organic pigments are made from natural sources and have been used for centuries to color-ize a wide range of surfaces. However, most pigments today are synthetic.


Inorganic pigments include white opaque pigments, which are used to provide


opacity and


to lighten other colors. White extender pigments are often added to paints to lower their cost or improve their properties.


Carbon black, for example, is used to give black color to printing inks. Iron-oxide earth pigments


Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia Vol. 3 Issue 6 | 19


Pigment products are added to printing ink which in turn service the commercial sheet-fed, digital and package printing markets.


yield ochre’s (yellow-browns), sienna’s (orange- browns), and umbers (browns).


Certain compounds of chromium are used to create chrome yellows, oranges, and greens, while various compounds of cadmium yield bril- liant yellows, oranges, and reds.


Iron, or “Prussian Blue” and “Ultramarine Blue” are the most widely used blue pigments and are both man-made and inorganic in origin.


Thanks to the latest technology, it is now pos- sible to simulate pigments/colors on your computer screen with relative accuracy using a computer display system called “chromatic adaptation.” This system is able to emulate the correlated “color temperature” of most illumina- tion sources to approximate the “true” color.


However, in many cases the perceived color of a pigment falls outside of the gamut of computer displays, in which case a method called “gamut mapping”, can be employed.


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