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    Luminous 14:
    Discussing with light


    Getting the color right


    Four-channel luminaires not only offer augmented color mixing possibilities, but also enhance the freedom of the lighting designer.


    Example of spectrum for each of the three kind of fixtures.


    Philips Lighting has set up an application study to explore the possibilities offered by four-channel LED fixtures when used on different materials. The aim is to make it easier to predict the interactions between materials and color mixing, so saving designers time.

    The work is based on RGBA mixing (red, green, blue and amber light) and RGBW mixing (red, green, blue and white light). It used basic color combinations, mixing 0%, 50% and 100% of each channel. These color mixes were applied to six samples representing generic outdoor materials: concrete, white stone, red brick, metallic cladding, wood and green vegetation.


    The addition of neutral white LEDs results in a more continuous spectrum in which red, green and blue peaks can be managed to find a precise tint. Adding amber to the color mix creates a fourth peak in the spectrum, enabling a large range of warm white tints.

    An obvious benefit of RGBW and RGBA fixtures is the possibility that they can change instantaneously from white light to any dynamic color, therefore increasing the number of potential scenarios in a lighting design.

    In addition to the millions of saturated colors achievable with standard RGB lighting fixtures, RGBW fixtures provide an extended range of subtle pastel colors. While a single pastel color was a specific combination of red, green and blue channels in RGB, it can now be made by using the white channel at close to its maximum. It means that the flexibility to play with the three other channels is kept, allowing greater accuracy in creating a specific shade.

    The channel of amber LEDs blends with the channels of red, green, and blue LEDs to produce a significantly expanded color palette thanks to a bigger range of colors. As a result, RGBA fixtures make it possible to create intense yellows and oranges.

    Influence of each colour channel on white stone. RGBA makes it possible to play with deep yellows and oranges. It reinforces the golden tints of the warm stone. RGBW enables one to desaturate the saturated colours created with an RGB luminaire. On the stones, it gives a clear pastel tint to the material.