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Munsell Renotation Data

Overview and History

In the 1940's the color science community recognized that the most visually-uniform color space to date, the Munsell Color Order System, had inconsistencies that required examination and remedy. Towards this goal, a large-scale visual experiment was taken with many observers across several continents. The results amounted to an adjustment of the target color coordinates for the Munsell colors. The files here reflect that correction.

There are three files available for download. All are of the same format: six columns of Munsell hue, Munsell value, Munsell chroma, CIE x, y, and Y. The chromaticity coordinates were calculated using illuminant C and the CIE 1931 2 degree observer.In a sense, all three files represent the same set of data, in that all depend on the scaling experiments of the late 1930's.

A report entitled "One Set of Munsell Re-renotations," by Deane B. Judd and Dorothy Nickerson was issues by the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST) in 1967. As the title implies, they proposed an alternative to the original renotation scheme. As far as we know, these did not receive much attention, and their utility is uncertain. The report and associated data table have been scanned. If you use this please let us know! We would be interested in any useful application of the report of data.

None of these data should be confused with actual
measurements from a Munsell Book of Color!

all.dat: real and unreal

File download: all.dat

These are all the Munsell data, including the extrapolated colors. Note that extrapolated colors are in some cases unreal. That is, some lie outsize the Macadam limits.

This file should be used for those performing multidimensional interpolation to/from Munsell data. You will need the unreal colors in order to completely encompass the real colors, which is required to do the interpolation when near the Macadam limits.

real.dat: by the book

File download: real.dat

These are real colors only, "real" being those lying inside the Macadam limits. Specifically, these are those colors listed the original 1943 renotation article (Newhall, Judd, and Nickerson, JOSA, 1943).

This file should be used for a complete mapping between the Munsell system and its CIE equivalents. Note, however, that many of these colors were not used in the original scaling experiments, and are therefore extrapolated or at best interpolated from the test colors used.

Flash! Here are sRGB values and CIELAB for most of the colors in the real.dat file. There are some important notes regarding these data in the spreadsheet.

1929.dat: back to the source

File download: 1929.dat

These are only those colors physically appearing in the 1929 Munsell Book of Color. These data might be of useful for those interested in the input colors used for the scaling experiments leading to the 1943 renotation. Remember though, these are renotation colors of those original patches, not necessarily the colors of the input data used in the visual experiment.