I am a painter and digital artist working with color and colorimetry. Recently I noticed HUGE "illusions" (impressions of depths) in a print composed of very saturated colors, that I programmed to have the highest chroma my printer could achieve.
Unfortunately this is undisplayable on screen (out of gamut), but the picture can give you an idea...
In the transition between Black and light Grey-ish that passes from Red to Green to Blue-Greyish, one can see on the print very abrupt "3D effects" or in other words "impressions of several groups of different depth", like a "staircase" with 3 or 4 steps. We sometimes see similar so-called "optical illusions" occuring between fields of colours. If I remember well, dark-blue often seems "further away" than yellow for example.
I have searched on internet for an explanation but I can only find some quite old non-quantitative theories that explain poorly the phenomenon with a theory of "warm" and "cold" colors... That's far from being a satisfactory explanation...
I am wondering if:
the impression of depth has anything to do with the eye's optics (like the different colors are not diffracted equally)
what is the cause of the illusion from the viewpoint of the retina's structure?
can it be described in mathematical terms with the help of colorimetry?
has it been completely described, can it be simulated, can we actually predict for which colors it's gonna happen?