Albert Henry Munsell (6 January 1858 – 28 June 1918)
American painter, art teacher and inventor of the Munsell Color System.
Munsell approached colour differently from our other Colour Management Heroes, his interest was in the human perception of colour relationships and differences. He wanted to create a colour model that could be used to describe and communicate colours and their relationships.
The Munsell Color System is still in use today and of interest to those of us involved in colour reproduction because:
1. The model separates lightness from the hue and saturation -- just like the tristimulus models that are used in retouching, LCH, HSB and LAB.
2. The model is easy to use because it is based on human colour perception – in other words, perceptually uniform.
The model works by imagining the spectrum as the perimeter of a circle and dividing it into ten hues. At the centre of the circle is a vertical axis of brightness. Chroma values indicate the distance from the neutral centre axis.
Munsell noted that human perception of chroma varies from colour to colour, so a solid view of the Munsell Color System is not symetrical: