Encyclopedia of Color Science and Technology

Living Edition
| Editors: Renzo Shamey

Color Spreading, Neon Color Spreading, and Watercolor Illusion

  • Baingio PinnaEmail author
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27851-8_267-2



The color spreading is a long-range assimilative spread of color emanating from a thin-colored contour running in the same direction/continuation or being contiguous/adjacent to a darker chromatic contour and imparting a figure-ground effect across a large area. The two main examples of color spreading are the well-known neon color spreading and the watercolor illusion.

Neon Color Spreading

In 1971, Varin [ 1] studied a novel “chromatic spreading” phenomenon induced when four sets of concentric black circumferences, arranged in a cross-like shape, are partially composed of blue arcs, thus producing a virtual large central blue circle (Fig. 1a). The virtual circle appears as a ghostly transparent circular veil of chromatic translucent diffusion of bluish tint spreading among the boundaries of the blue arcs and filling in the entire illusory circle, induced by the terminations of the black arcs (Fig. 1).
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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of SassariSassariItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rolf Kuehni
    • 1
  1. 1.Color research & applicationPennsvilleUSA