LCD Color Perception

Color circles or color wheels are always hard to decypher because to many colors look similar to me. That’s why I came up with the idea of painting my own color circle on the computer.

It already took me quite some time while trying to accomplish this task. And only recently I found out about the different color perceptions when looking at my LCD from different angles. A horizontal angle shift doesn’t have any visible impact. But changing the vertical viewing angle changed the color perception completely.

Color Perception - Red
Color Perception – Red

When you look at the three color squares (the shown numbers are the corresponding RGB values) they might look similar or different to you depending on your color vision abilities. To my eyes they look all the same when I look at them from a 90° angle. But when I change the viewing angle to about 70° the color perception changes a lot: Now they look all different to me.

It is well known that LCD’s have a narrow viewing angle but I couldn’t find any explanation on the internet to this phenomenon of a relation between color perception and viewing angle.

When changing your viewing angle there is a shift in the brightness. It looks like that this shift makes colors to appear different to my colorblind eyes. While some brightness differences seem to disappear a lot more color differences seem to appear. I never experienced this shift in color perception before while viewing images on a computer screen.

This discovery made me think if it is always like that. There are different tests for color blindness. Do they appear different when looking at the images from a different angle and do I maybe get some better test results?

I tried again the Ishihara colorblind test and also had a look at the color blindness testing poster. But there wasn’t any difference observable. I still could not see most of the signs and numbers :-(

Is it just this special arrangement where the distinct colors are shown separately and in distinct boxes? I don’t know yet. Maybe we will find out more about it in the future but for the moment I am puzzled and it will take me some more time to finish my color(-blind) circle.

Update: Looking at this article with its colored boxed at the office with another LCD the differences are more visible to my eyes. The color perception therefore depends strongly on the monitor yuou use. It can change very much when you alter your display or its settings.

Related articles:
A Colorblind Decides on Colors
Walk – Don’t Walk

2 responses on “LCD Color Perception

  1. Helena

    This is amazing! I knew about color differences with TFT screens, but I had never guessed they would be so large. When I tilted my notebook screen towards me the colors completely changed from bright red to orange, light pink and dark pink.

  2. Daniel Fluck Post author

    Fascinating. I didn’t know either that a display and the viewing angle can have such a big influence in color perception.

    If I have some time I’ll try to find out more about it, why it is like this and what the differences of different display types are.