The CIE System

  • Stephen Westland
Reference work entry


Colorimetry is a branch of color science concerned with numerically specifying the color of physically defined stimuli such that two stimuli that look the same (under certain criteria) have identical specifications. The Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage (CIE) developed a system for the specification of color stimuli that was recommended for widespread use in 1931 and that has formed the basis of colorimetry for the last 80 years. This chapter briefly describes the development of the CIE system and explains key principles (such as additive color mixing and Grassman’s laws) upon which the system is based. Specification of color by tristimulus values is described and the importance of chromaticity diagrams is discussed.


Color Space Color Stimulus Color Primary Additive Color Additive Primary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Further Reading

  1. ASTM E308-01 (2001) Standard practice for computing the colors of objects by using the CIE system. ASTM International, West Conshohocken. doi:10.1520/E0308-01Google Scholar
  2. Fairchild MD (2005) Color appearance models. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Fairman HS, Brill MH, Hemmendinger H (1997) How the CIE 1931 color-matching functions were derived from Wright-Guild data. Color Res Appl 22(1):11–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hunt RWG (1998) Measuring colour, 3rd edn. Fountain Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Kuehni RG (2003) Color space and its divisions. Wiley, HobokenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ohta N, Robertson AR (2005) Colorimetry fundamentals and applications. Wiley, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Publication CIE No. 15.2 (1986) Colorimetry, 2nd edn. Bureau of the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  8. Publication CIE No. S2 (1986) Standard colorimetric observers. Bureau of the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  9. Westland S, Ripamonti C (2004) Computational colour science using MATLAB. Wiley, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Wyszecki G, Stiles WS (1982) Color science – concepts and methods, quantitative data and formulae, 2nd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of DesignUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

Personalised recommendations