Pinkest pink can’t be interpreted by a screen

This is a photograph of Stuart Stemple's the pinkest pink.
Image credit: Stuart Stemple
Date:21 July 2017 Author: Nikky Knijf Tags:, ,

Many believe technology brings the world to our fingertips. But have you considered that there are colours that technology can’t even interpret? The pinkest pink is definitely one of those colours.

Following the creation of the blackest material known to man, Vantablack, artist Stuart Stemple created a pink like no other. The aptly named pinkest pink, is said to be so vivid a screen can’t adequately represent its true colour.

Why can’t we see the pinkest pink?

This has to do with pixel brightness. “There are all sorts of complicated and clever ways that computers can store colour, but by the time this video reaches your screen it’s basically just a series of numbers that say how bright to make each of the red, green and blue pixels, the tiny lights that make up your screen,” explains YouTuber Tom Scott.

“…unless you’ve got a really fancy, expensive screen, those numbers run from 0 to 255, which is eight ones in binary. Zero means turn the pixel off, 255 means as bright as it can go.” This means that your screen can display about 16 million colours.

But 16 million is some ways off from all the colours in the world. The Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology says that there are almost an infinite number of colours. This means that your screen will only ever display a limited amount of the world’s colours.

(Note: We’re not elaborating on the fact that colour is a human construct with finite interpretation. That’s too philosophical for now.)

All about colour

In this video Tom Scott explains how the pinkest pink colour – and actually many other colours – are unlikely to be accurately interpreted by a screen. Check it out:


Video credit: Tom Scott

Image credit: Stuart Stemple

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