Thursday, August 20, 2015


This post can be a boring or even irrelevant post for most people. As our craft room in the house is again under construction due to discovered rotten wooden frames, I decided to talk about something else. Today I am talking about colorblindness and how it corresponds to me and my situation.

I am red/green colorblind. I have known for sure since I tried to apply as a Nuclear Engineer for the US Navy. I failed their colorblind test during the initial physicals. Unable to see the numbers within the circles was a bit frustrating. I had no idea what these other kids were seeing.  The testers notified me of the deficiency just as I was about to take the first entrance math test. I guess being able to differentiate colored buttons on a panel would be rather important in a nuclear crisis. Having failed that, I went from a potential high paying job to Data Processor, who were a dime a dozen. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. Afterwards, my mother had me checked by an eye doctor to verify the findings.

I was given a test of about 30 colored pieces ranging from blue to purple with the first blue and the last purple not movable. There were other pieces, red, oranges, greens, and yellows in spaces between, and I had to fill them in. I lined them all up perfectly, except that the yellows at the end didn't really match up with the purple at the end. Basically, I placed a blue piece then a purple which then flowed into reds/greens, and then oranges/yellows, as opposed to blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds to purples. I guess that explains why the Los Angeles Lakers weren't dressed in Blue and Gold.

For the most part I can tell colors apart. It's not all black and white. I can see reds. I can see blues. But I may not see a difference with a shade of blue and purple, or a shade of green and brown or even yellow. Worst of all are pastels, with the greens, yellows, and some browns almost being indistinguishable. Or the blues, purples, pinks, and grey giving me the the same problem. Learning my shortcoming, I would just avoid those circumstances where possible and carry on.

I haven't really struggled with being colorblind. There are few situations that pop up where it really matters. Although, during paint ball there was the time the enemies's orange flag was sitting among the green leafed bushes that I was unable to make out. Resulting in me getting shot with victory within arm's reach. Everybody else was confused on why did I not just grab the flag sitting right in front of me? I couldn't see it, and the judge wasn't going to tell me where it was... Me being the last member on my side, we lost.

Further down the road of life, other things began to become more noticeable.  Getting dressed can be embarrassing at times when I mix my browns and greens thinking they matched, or my blues and purples, or various other combinations. Multicolored ties definitely didn't fit in too well with my wardrobe! I slowly tended to favors black or white shirts a lot, very difficult to mess those up.

Traffic lights for me are in order from top to bottom Red, Yellow, and White, not Green! That's fine. As I know the order and what to look for, but what if that light at night was sitting amongst a set of street lights? I would be hard pressed to pick out the 'green' traffic light amongst the other lights as they all appear white to me. Usually, I would never notice the traffic light at all in those cases. This could lead to a sudden stopping or running of a light since I was unable to judge the timing of a suddenly appearing traffic light. This is also compounded by the fact that at night, the red and yellow lights are practically the same for me. So, do I stop at this flashing light, or do I go through it? Not knowing if it is red or yellow. That can be problematic.

Which leads me into painting miniatures. Being unable to match a painted model or picture for it's colors, I have to rely on known formats.
Ultramarines are blue,
Blood Angels are Red,
All Chaos is evil, 
And Dark Angels (in green) shoot them dead!

I have to use color charts. The one Games Workshop came out with several years ago I still use. They also have an even older one, but I didn't scan that one. Besides, most, if not all, of these colors are no longer available. Although, I never realized that Snakebite Leather was an orange. At least, whenever I use it my wife asks, 'why did you paint it orange?' For me the Blood Red is a true red. It's a strong color, very vibrant. Yet a friend of mine says it's too red, the Mechrite Red is a truer red. That just never made sense to me. Back me up on that if you can.

As I slowly understand the limits of what I can see and do, I began to expand and experiment with my painting. My wonderful wife is always there to help me pull out and match up families of colors. She is quick to point out if a green is too blue or has too much yellow to go with the the other green I picked out. She was the one to notice the 'pink' tone on my dozer blade. Me, not knowing any better used Rose Madder as a dirty brown color for my oil filters, not realizing it was a red! I have never heard of Rose Madder outside of a Steven King story! Thinking the blade was coming out quite nice, I never knew there was pink all over it. I still don't see it! This led to a repaint and a very frustrated painter for a couple of days, having to try and fix or cover up other spots of 'pink'.

Just now, am I using a wet palette. Since I can control the colors that are being used, I have confidence I can't mess it up too much! I just limit myself to 'avoid those circumstances where possible and carry on'. I am adapting.

And this carries into correcting the colorblindness problem. Enchroma is a site that is trying to find the limits of human color vision and correct colorblind deficiencies. Enchroma has a test you can take to get an idea of what level of colorblindness you have. Taking it several times, I usually come out with a Strong Protan, which in their description, sounds like it's the last step before full black/white vision. The link has a nice explanation of what I see in relation to other people. It even mentions the traffic light dilemma. Although, you cannot convince me that peanut butter is NOT green! You may also notice I didn't say 'normal' people a couple of sentences ago. I, may actually be right. Just because I am a minority, doesn't mean I am wrong!

Friends have sent me links about finally being able to see color. Or videos where people put the Enchroma glasses on, and voila! everything becomes the way it is for 'other' people.

Wouldn't this be awesome?!?! Especially for us red/greens? 

I ordered a pair of the $350 glasses with some ebay money I gathered. The glasses arrived in a very nice case with a nano fiber cloth to clean them. The pair of glasses I chose were rather fashionable, if I say so myself, the Cx Gamma* set. The glasses sat in their case unused for about a month. What was I getting into?
*I don't know why they say it's not available until November '15?
Anyway, there was a SeaWorld trip we had planned with several of our friends. I brought the glasses along to pull them out and give them a shot when I was ready.

For all the videos you see, it's a fairly big deal for the people to see colors in a different way. To be able to see a distinction with the greens and yellows. You can tell they are visibly moved when they can see purple for example. Honestly, I was a little scared to put them on. How will this change me? Will my blue car no longer have the same appeal as it did when I chose it? Would I be able to see how badly I painted my Dark Angels? My wife was afraid I wouldn't like her naturally red hair any more. 

Well, there was a garden of flowers in bloom just waiting for me to see them in their natural hues. Putting the glasses on, I must admit they seem to almost glow with iridescence. But everything else had a more reddish tinge to it. All the blues were more purple. The yellows and tans had an orange or peachy tinge to them. Greens were different, but not noticeably so. The reds were stronger that was for sure. They almost glowed like an infra-red, very off. It was almost like how tv shows depict colors in the ultraviolet spectrum that bees see. For me, apparently, the glasses upped the red factor but not the greens. I can see differentiate reds just fine in my opinion. The glasses were not helping.Maybe I need to wear them more? I can't say seeing more red will help me out anymore though. 

That day ended up being a tad depressing. Not quite as bad as the Navy physicals day. My hopes were up that I would repeat the videos I had seen. Telling myself I wouldn't cry like the guys in youtube clips. Soon, I would wear my fancy glasses while painting to get an idea of what I needed to work on. None of the high hopes came to pass. Peanut butter is still green and Clorox is still blue. Maybe I should avoid driving at night and stick with black and white shirts. Put down the paint brush and find a new hobby? The hell with that, I will just avoid those circumstances where possible and carry on!

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