2015, tangible computing

In collaboration with
Justin Danemann

Tools used
Arduino, Processing, Ableton Live

Special thanks to Leonid Afremov for permission to use his painting "Misty Mood" in the project.

Today a lot of work that includes color is done on a computer. When we want a specific color exact, we don't have to worry about mixing the right color, we simply choose the one we want from a digital color palette. However, thus the color mixing process isn’t visible for us, it still happens in the computer. Understanding how the computer works with colors and creates visual experiences for us can be hard to grasp.

Colorwise is a physical game and exploration concept that aims to create a hands-on experience with digital color theory. More specifically, the RGB color system. Through a tangible interface of three cylinders, you mix different combinations of red, green, and blue. This is done with water which works as a metaphor for digital data. By rearranging the water, feedback of aesthetic visual and audio is experienced.

One way to use Colorwise is by exploring how RGB colors create and affects a digital image on a screen. The user can explore and manipulate the color space of the image by rearranging the amount of water in each cylinder. Playing around with the water reveals the RGB colors' relation to each other and how they work together to create an image.

Another way to use Colorwise is by testing your knowledge of RGB color theory in a color mixing challenge. You get dealt a random color on a screen, which you have to match within a time limit. You win when the right combination of red, green, and blue is arranged in the cylinder.

The color mixing challenge is made in two versions. One with a display included, and a full physical version.