University of Melbourne Magazine

Colour analysis

  • Innovation

    Picture a top interior designer on holidays sitting by a forest stream. Suddenly she spies a moss-covered rock with exactly the shade of green she’s been looking for.

    Djordje Dikic

    Djordje Dikic. Picture: News Ltd.

    Thanks to the ingenuity of three alumni, she can easily overcome what would otherwise be an insurmountable problem. She could take a photo with her mobile, but due to light variance it wouldn’t capture the exact colour. Memorising the precise shade is unlikely, but by holding a small device called Cube directly onto the moss and pressing a button, she can capture its exact CMYK and RGB values and Cube will later wirelessly transfer them into her Photoshop library.

    Even better, Cube not only matches the colour of the moss to paint products and common systems like Pantone, it will link to many lesser-known databases, such as Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society, which provides a standard for plant colours.

    Cube was created by electrical and electronic engineering graduates Paul Peng (BE 2012, BCom 2012), Djordje Dikic (BE 2011, BA 2011), and Rocky Liang (BE 2015, MPhil 2016), who were part of the Melbourne Accelerator Program intake in 2013.

    Their company, Palette, now has two products on the market – Cube, and a similar consumer device called Spot, which is being sold in partnership with Dulux paint outlets around Australia for about $150 under the brand name Dulux Snapshot. Each product can easily slip into a pocket.

    “The methodology was the subject of a research paper we did about four years ago, looking at the challenges of developing the algorithms required to accurately analyse colour and how to perform matches at very low cost,” says Peng.

    “Our eyes have red, green and blue sensors and we mimic that in electronic form. We essentially do the same thing the brain does in processing information from the eyes.”