Inside Innovation at Xerox: Scientists Create Computer Language to Interpret
More than 50,000 Ways to Describe Colour

    Xerox opens online lab to demonstrate how simple it can be to improve
    colour in printed documents

TORONTO, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - Scientists at Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) have taken the concept of "paint by number" to a whole new level with the release of a technology that translates detailed human descriptions of colour - such as "brilliant yellow" - into mathematical algorithms that tell a computer how to edit that specific hue.

The ability to use easy-to-understand phrases such as "Make the blues a lot more vibrant," or "Make the skin-tone colours slightly more warm," to adjust colour in specific areas of an image has far-reaching implications for today's office worker, graphic artist, printer or photographer.

To demonstrate the capabilities of its new Natural Language Colour technology, Xerox opened an interactive demonstration in an online test lab called Open Xerox. In the demo, users can change colour in specific areas of a photograph without needing to use complex editing software. While scientists at Xerox continue the research, a version of the technology now is available as the Colour By Words feature of the newly-announced Xerox Phaser 7500(R) colour printer.

"You shouldn't have to be a colour scientist to get the right colour where you want it," said Karen Braun, herself a colour scientist at the Xerox Research Center Webster (N.Y.). "We created a tool that is as natural and as easy to use as simply describing what you want to change. The tool allows customers to meet ever-tighter deadlines by bringing colour printing tasks in-house, right to the desktop."

Translating Complex Colour Attributes

To develop the Natural Language Colour technology, Xerox colour scientists used special measurement instruments (called colourimeters) to associate numbers with specific attributes of light or dark, colour name and vividness.

Specifying an exact colour name for a set of numbers is no simple task because there are many 'fuzzy edges' when it comes to describing colour. For example, when does blue become 'greenish blue' or 'bluish green'? Is there a difference between the two? Braun's team of colour scientists, engineers, and work-practice specialists studied focus groups to learn how people describe and distinguish between different colours as well as different shades. People were surprisingly consistent with each other in their use of colour language.

"Xerox performed thousands of experimental observations to ensure that the phrasing accurately adjusts the colours," she said. "With more than 65 words in its vocabulary, the software can create over 50,000 possible colour variations of the user's picture.

Colour adjustment exactly where you want it

Unlike current colour printers and applications that use wheel or slide colour editors offering limited changes to brightness or contrast across the entire image, Xerox's technology can alter the colour in specific areas of the image without affecting the rest of the document. The proper instructions are sent to the printer and the resulting image is printed.

You can test drive the technology in French, Spanish, Italian, English, and German by going to Xerox's technology web portal at In the future, Xerox plans to expand Natural Language Colour technology to more printers, multifunction systems, and other Xerox workflows. Xerox also plans to showcase additional technologies at the Open Xerox web portal for visitors to try out.

About Xerox

Xerox Corporation is the world's leading document management, technology and services enterprise, providing the industry's broadest portfolio of colour and black-and-white document processing systems and related supplies, as well as document management consulting and outsourcing services.

    Note: To see a podcast of Karen Braun demonstrating Natural Language
    Colour and for more information on Xerox, visit or For open commentary, industry perspectives
    and views from events visit,, or

SOURCE Xerox Canada

For further information: For further information: Customer Contact: For more information on Xerox office products, visit or call 800-ASK-XEROX; Media Contacts: Bill McKee, Xerox Corporation, (585) 423-4476,; Tina Quelch, Calador Communications, (416) 925-6034,

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