Spectrophotometers are a commonly used tool and valuable technology for color measurement. Companies that purchase color measurement equipment should consider using their solution to understand the tristimulus values of their sample on the CIE color model.

Understanding tristimulus values and the different geometric degrees and angles can be overwhelming, making instrument selection challenging. Finding the support you need to use your color measurement tools correctly and efficiently will ensure that you are getting the best value for your investment.

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What Are Tristimulus Values?

Tristimulus values measure the light intensity of the primary color values in a sample. The name is derived from the three (tri) primary color values (stimuli) measured. Tristimulus values express the color and visually perceived reflectance. They are essential for color language because these measurements communicate precise color values without human objectivity.

These results are obtained from a tristimulus system. This system visually matches colors against red, green, and blue under standardized conditions to mimic how the human eye sees. The three results are expressed as X, Y, and Z coordinates on a graph. The Y value represents the sample's luminance, and the X and Y values together represent the sample's chromaticity.

What Is the CIE Color Model?

The Commission Internationale de l'éclairage (CIE) color model is a color space model that accurately represents every color perceivable to the human eye. The CIE color model plots tristimulus values on a 3D space, which create a unique color when combined.

With the CIE color model, colors can be accurately expressed, communicated, and reproduced. Though this model takes the chromatic response of the eye into account, this model is not intended to describe color with qualities such as saturation or hue.

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Why Understanding Tristimulus Values and the CIE Color Model Is Important for Color Measurement

Tristimulus values and the CIE color model are valuable for color measurements because they:

  • Quantify color: Tristimulus values from a spectrophotometer give colors a quantifiable measurement value.
  • Objectify color: Tristimulus values are an objective — and reliable — measurement because the spectrophotometer cannot be influenced. The human eye is not the best method for color measurements because it can be easily influenced and is not objective.
  • Communicate color: Tristimulus values allow a color to be communicated through values so it can be recreated.

The CIE model has many practical applications due to its usefulness. In product development facilities, spectrophotometers can obtain tristimulus values to ensure color quality and consistency across products for color matching and product compatibility. Since tristimulus values are a reliable system, the results can be trusted as accurate.

The International Organization of Standardization uses tristimulus values and the CIE color model. These methods ensure compatibility between and regulate standards across industries.

Color Measurement Solutions From HunterLab

HunterLab is a leader in spectrophotometric technology and has over 60 years of experience working with various industry leaders to develop the most efficient and reliable instrumentation available. HunterLab is a trusted name in color measurement, and we pride ourselves in customer support and relationships. We are here to help you understand your color measurement needs and how to utilize your instrumentation to get the most out of your investment.

Contact HunterLab today to learn why more companies trust us to handle all their color measurement needs.