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eLightBulbs Blog > Things Look Better in the Right Light

Things Look Better in the Right Light

Posted by Blair Eisenbraun on Jun 17, 2010

Poor lighting and light bulbs with low CRI (color rendering index) can cause colors to appear differently than you'd expect.

Things Look Better in the Right Light

If it's important that colors appear as true as possible, you need to find light bulbs with the highest CRI possible.  As a point of reference, the sun has a CRI of 100, meaning we consider base true color to be available only in sunlight.  Compact fluorescent light bulbs can be made with CRIs above 80, not far removed from the sun.

Using high CRI light bulbs is very important in industries such as photography and filmmaking, along with others, but it's also nice to have such light in your home.  From paintings on a wall to the very paint on the wall, a high CRI light bulb makes everything look its best.  Color temperature fits in with high CRI bulbs; you can't get good color rendering from the yellow cast of untreated incandescent light bulbs.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs tackle two issues at once.  They can be created to simulate natural light with color temperatures around 5000K to 6500K.  Light from those color temperatures will be bright white, and when crafted with a high CRI in mind, they get the job done better than any incandescent.  The white light itself creates a neutral base from which a high CRI can illuminate items in true color.
One way to test the CRI of your bulbs is to first go outside on a cloudless, sunny day and bring some items of colors you want to test.  Notice the colors when illuminated by the sun, remember them.  Then you go inside and view the items under light where the sun has no reach.  Under standard incandescent light colors have a yellowish cast to them, unpleasant in my opinion.  You won't get true color representation out of standard incandescent light bulbs.  Compact fluorescent light bulbs with high CRI and the right color temperature (5000K and up) will show the color of your items almost the same as the sun shows.
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About the Author
Blair Eisenbraun
Blair is an incredibly versatile copywriter. He enjoys researching and mastering his subject matter and provides interesting and engaging commentary through his gift of writing. In his downtime, he is an avid gamer and enjoys finding the humor in life.
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