Light damage calculator
The light damage calculator provides an estimate of the fading of colours exposed to light, based on the best available data. There are several sources of uncertainty:
- ambiguity in the identification of the colourants in the object
- imprecise fading data for that colourant
- inaccuracy in the representation of colours on a computer screen
Despite these uncertainties, the calculator can show the wide sensitivity range of coloured objects and the influence of exhibitions on the future appearance of collections. Original and faded colours are presented as patches on the computer screen. Since some computer screens and many computer projectors, do not distinguish small changes in colour, the height of the faded colour patch also changes in proportion to the amount of fading.
There are three different uses for the light damage calculator. Each calculator includes a text version. The three calculators are the following:
- Fading of a single colorant
- • Fading of a single colorant – Text version
This provides an estimate of the fading of a single colourant under a single set of conditions. For those interested in the scientific measurement of the fade, the colour difference, ΔE, is also provided.
- Fading of a single colorant in three different scenarios
- • Fading of a single colorant in three different scenarios – Text version
This provides a side-by-side comparison of the fading caused by three different exposure scenarios.
- Fading of a collection of coloured objects
- • Fading of a collection of coloured objects – Text version
This presents the fading of collections of colours. These may be collections in the conventional museum sense (such as a textile collection or a watercolour collection), or they may be collections of colours in a particular type of object (such as the three dyes used in a particular kind of colour photograph).
Want to know more?
View a Tour of the Canadian Conservation Institute’s Online Light Damage Calculator by Stefan Michalski, Senior Conservation Scientist, Preventative Conservation Services. Presented by the Connecting to Collections Online Community.
The light damage calculator was designed by the Canadian Conservation Institute as a tool to help museum staff estimate the effects of lighting on the fading of collections or individual objects under various lighting regimes.
The light damage calculator was designed for convenience and should only be used as a reference tool. The Canadian Conservation Institute makes no representation about the accuracy, reliability and completeness of the calculator or the results to be obtained from its use. All information obtained is without any warranty of any kind. The Canadian Conservation Institute disclaims all express, implied and statutory warranties in accordance with the lighting regimes calculated by this calculator and neither assumes any responsibility with respect to any particular results of the fading of objects or collections nor how the results are applied to actual situations.
Contact information for this web page
These resources were published by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). For comments or questions, including reproduction requests, contact the CCI.
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