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The CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram with wavelengths in nanometres. The colors depicted depend on the color space of the device on which the image is viewed.

The International Commission on Illumination (usually abbreviated CIE for its French name, Commission internationale de l'éclairage) is the international authority on light, illumination, color, and color spaces. It was established in 1913 as a successor to the Commission Internationale de Photométrie and is today based in Vienna, Austria.


The CIE has seven active divisions, each of which establishes technical committees to carry out its program under the supervision of the division's director:

  1. Vision and Color
  2. Measurement of Light and Radiation
  3. Interior Environment and Lighting Design
  4. Lighting and Signalling for Transport
  5. Exterior Lighting and Other Applications
  6. Photobiology and Photochemistry
  7. General Aspects of Lighting (Inactive)
  8. Image Technology


  • In 1924 it established the standard photopic observer defined by the spectral luminous efficiency function V(λ), followed in 1951 by the standard scotopic observer defined by the function V’(λ).
  • Building on the Optical Society of America's report on colorimetry in 1922,[1] the CIE convened its eighth session in 1931, with the intention of establishing an international agreement on colorimetric specifications and updating the OSA's 1922 recommendations based on the developments during the past decade.[2] The meeting, held in Cambridge, United Kingdom, concluded with the formalization of the CIE 1931 XYZ color space and definitions of the 1931 CIE 2° standard observer with the corresponding color matching functions, and standard illuminants A, B, and C.
  • In 1964 the 10° CIE standard observer and its corresponding color matching functions as well as the new standard daylight illuminant D6500 were added, as well as a method for calculating daylight illuminants at correlated color temperatures other than 6500 kelvin.
  • In 1976, the commission developed the CIELAB and CIELUV color spaces, which are widely-used today.
  • Based on CIELAB, color difference formulas CIEDE94 and CIEDE2000 were recommended in the corresponding years.

See also


  1. Troland, L. T. (August 1922). Report of Committee on Colorimetry for 1920–21. Journal of the Optical Society of America 6 (6): 527–96. The report defined color as follows: "Color is the general name for all sensations arising from the activity of the retina of the eye and its attached nervous mechanisms, this activity being, in nearly every case in the normal individual, a specific response to radiant energy of certain wave-lengths and intensities."
  2. Jones, L. A. (1943). Historical background and evolution of the colorimetry report. Journal of the Optical Society of America 33 (10): 534–43.

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