Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

RE: [Icehouse] Xeno color mapping for Homeworlds

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateWed, 06 Jun 2007 10:38:17 -0700
> From: "Christopher Hickman" <tophu@xxxxxxx>
> David Artman wrote:
> >By the way, for what it's worth, it always irked me that green was put
> >into Rainbow, making it "the lone secondary" of the set; I'd have put
> >in clear and left all the secondaries to be in Xeno along with the
> >"lone freak" cyan, which isn't even a tertiary color. Doing so would
> >have also added some minor educational value, as the sets could be
> >called "Primary" and "Secondary (plus the Freak)".
> Ah, but it is. Red, green, and blue are additive primary colors. 
> Yellow is the one that's out of place.  If you want subtractive
> primaries, you'd need cyan, magenta (which doesn't exist in pyramids
> yet), and your maligned yellow.  So now adding the white to the
> additive primaries and black to the subtractive primaries, where
> do you make room for the other colors? We've assumed a new magenta
> color and we've left out orange and purple from existing colors.
> I'd say we can assume clear doesn't exist in this exercise. ;)

Leave it to a mac.com address to get this reply....

I'm still stuck in the 18th century, along with Hasbro, Crayola, and the
majority of toy and game manufacturers who have yet to embrace the truth
of properly saturated color mixing (additive or subtractive). As such,
I'm fairly heavily ingrained to use the "paint primaries" when thinking
of color groupings in a loose sense (like in the context of a toy or

Rest assured that a decade of web and print publishing has thoroughly
exposed me to RGB, CMYK, HSV, and a variety of spot color numbering
schemes. But from my past experience with young children, I find the
subtleties of such distinctions to be hard to explain without
demonstrations that are not easily reproduced in a black and white

Of course, Treehouse sets divided as Red, Green, Blue, Clear, and White
VS. Cyan, Magenta (or, say, Purple), Yellow, Orange and Black would be
more accurate for purposes of being educational... but we'd have an
even greater nightmare correlating them, for the purposes of this
discussion. Further, "Additive Treehouse" and "Subtractive Treehouse"
doesn't have the same ring to it, to my ears, as "Primary" and

*tongue out of cheek*
If anyone's confused by any of the above, this is an nice summary site:

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
If a rainbow is VIBGYOR, then it makes some sense to correlated them
with "left-right" pairings:
Violet (purple) and Indigo (blue)
Blue (cyan) and Green
Orange and Red
Yellow and... well, the one that's left

(I, too, think of Clear as "Infrared" or "Ultraviolet": if Clear is a
color, I can't see it.)

Hmmm... and that "Lefterly" and "Righterly" way of thinking leads us to
the SAME color groupings that Additive and Subtractive sorting would
get us (mostly, if one squints and accepts Purple as Magenta).

As long as we're wrapping this fun thread up, Andy, could you please
tell us how you originally decided to divide the colors for the two
Treehouse sets? Were you thinking "paint primaries" or "toy colors" VS.
"the rest"; or was there some history behind it (Zendo box set or
comparison of stock levels); or what?

Thanks, all! :)