Color. The clearly shows spectrum the radiation reflected from one object. Terms used to talk about color include hue, intensity or saturation, worth or brightness, tint, shade, tone, temperature (warm, cool, neutral), and also various color harmonies or schemes such as monochromatic, analogous and complementary.

The three properties that color:


Hue – The name of the color (red, green, etc.)


Intensity or Saturation – The purity (brightness or dullness) that the color. Pure red is bright; red blended with a tiny green (its complement, opposite the on the color wheel) becomes less intense, more neutral.

You are watching: The brightness or dullness of a color is its

Tints, Shades, and Tones


Tint. A hue v white included to it, or applied thin sufficient so the a white background product (paper, canvas, etc.) mirrors through.


Shade. A hue with black added to it.


Tone. A hue through gray added to it.

Color Temperature

Warm colors. Reds, oranges and also yellows are stated to be heat colors because of their visual connection to sources of heat and light. Objects or facets with this colors will have tendency to appear energetic and exciting, too as an ext forward in space.

Cool colors. Blues, greens and also violets are claimed to be cool colors. Objects or elements with this colors will often tend to show up calming and soothing, and farther ago in space.

Neutral colors. Blacks, grays, browns, tans, beiges, and also whites. Browns, tans, and beiges space slightly warm; blacks, grays, and whites can be contempt cool or warm. Neutral colors, through their low intensity, do not clash with other colors. They deserve to serve together backgrounds, assist tie together broad ranges that colors, and balance out more intense color that would be overpowering on their own.

Color Schemes or Harmonies

Complementary – utilizing colors the opposite each various other on the color wheel.


John Tilton - porcelain through matte crystalline glaze, 5.75 x 3.25 in.

A number of other color schemes exist, in addition to volumes of additional information. You may wish to furthermore see:

But Wait, There"s More! . . .

Digital Color

So you take it paints or fancy pencils or pens or pastels and you practice blending colors and also make your an extremely own color wheel in arts class, and also you are now grasp of the clearly shows Spectrums of the boundless Universe - and you"re okay through that. You"ve obtained a clue, and maybe also a hue. You can probably use your skills to make a highly Visible sign asking someone to a dance. Climate you obtain on a digital thingy and open increase Photoshop or some other image editing and enhancing app, and also hey there"s a role to INVERT COLORS! Yes! so you make a huge fat red square in the program and then select a one in the center of it come invert. With your shade wheel understanding you think, "I to be going come hit the magic button and turn RED into GREEN", its the contrary or security color. Girlfriend hit the magic button, and also . . .


Waaaait - that"s no green! That"s cyan! What the heck"s the scoop?

Turns the end we"ve learned a thing or two since Sir Isaac Newton developed the very first color wheel in 1706.

We now understand that there room three types of the light-sensitive cone cell in ours eyes" retinas: the majority sensitive to red light, the decimal sensitive come greenish light, and also a couple percent perceptible to blueish light. Signal from this cells are understood by our brain so that we perceive not just these colors of light, but the combine of these colors together well. Isaac Newton and Pink Floyd beamed white light v a prism and also showed that it was consisted of of all the various colors combined.


Newton climate took his clinical version of a color wheel and spun it roughly fast; the colors every blurred together and the viewer viewed the wheel to turn white.

Relevent to digital color:

RGB Color


Digital display screen images room composed the pixels, and each pixel is written of 3 sub-pixels: one emits red light, one blue light, and one green light. Varying the strongness of light each sub-pixel emits transforms the perceived shade of the pixel. This plan of utilizing red, green and blue irradiate to develop all the colour of a screen is known as RGB color.

When friend shine 2 or an ext different shade lights together, the light and also colors add TOGETHER - lock are claimed to be addative. Light red light and also blue light together and also yo acquire magenta; shine red and also green irradiate together and also you get yellow.

CMYK Color


Printing colors is a whole different can of monkeys. Paints, octopus etc. Work-related by subtracting light. White light (composed of all colors that light, remember) hits a white piece of paper, and all the light is reflected, therefore we watch white. When a red square is printed on the paper, white light hits the red square, and the red ink absorbs, or subtracts out, all the light however red, so only red light is reflected from it. In this case, red ink plus green ink would certainly not include to yellow, but subtract out most light from showing until to create a near black color.

In this subtractive shade scheme, the primary colors offered to generate all other colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow - and also blacK. CMYK for brief - this is subtractive color. Cyan + Magenta provides blue, Magenta + Yellow gives red, etc. Cyan + Magenta + Yellow would provide dark dark gray/black, yet it would additionally use a ton that ink, so black ink is likewise used. Today, printers occasionally use a larger range of octopus to output smoother gradations and also a more comprehensive range of color. (For instance, the Canon ipf6400 in the classroom supplies two varieties of black (one for glossy and also one for mat paper), 2 shades that gray, two shades every of cyan and also magenta, yellow, and also red, green, and also blue).

Color Spaces


"CIE1931xy gamut comparison" by BenRG and also cmglee

A color an are is the range of all possible colors that have the right to be published or displayed by the given shade system or technology. The colorful "horseshoe" form in the over diagram represents all the colors our eyes deserve to perceive. Beginning from the bottom right corner of the chart at about 700 nanometers in ~ red, the colors at the sheet of the color room are pure unmixed colors that relocate through the rainbow as you monitor the edge up and also around, come orange, yellow, several green, and also a very tiny blue, indigo and violet. Inside the border space colors created from mixing these external colors.

Within the clearly shows spectrum room smaller color spaces. Displays and projectors and also the web use sRGB, the additive color of light. Printing at some point boils under to making use of some type of CMYK, subtractive color created by combine inks. A pair things come note:

sRGB is the the smallest of the RGB shade spaces - that doesn"t have actually the selection of color of Adobe or ProPhoto RGB. This means setting your camera to document Adobe RGB rather of sRGB might give you pictures with a slightly more comprehensive range that color. As photo capture and also printing technologies advance, utilizing the widest color space you can could yield much more perceptively much better color. The fence is that the people runs top top sRGB in ~ the moment, and also unless you understand what you"re doing your pictures will watch duller, no richer. But only till you do understand what you"re doing. If you catch things in sRGB, you can"t regain broader gamut data later.More of an issue, sRGB (what you check out on yor monitor) and also CMYK don"t completely overlap. Your display can present you colors friend can"t print, and you can print colors the your screen can"t display. This have the right to make life fun when trying to make a print look favor what you watch on the screen. Adobe and ProPhoto RGB carry out a much better job of encompassing CMYK.A smart student, looking at the color an are diagram projected on a screen, asked exactly how we can be seeing all the color of the more comprehensive color spaces when using just an sRGB projector. The prize of food is us were not; we were seeing a comparative representation of those shade spaces (of unknown accuracy).

Bit depth

Another artifact that the digital civilization is that everything is tape-recorded as collection of ones and also zeroes, or bits. The number of bits offered to record color determines the possible number of colors that have the right to be displayed. One little will offer you 2 values, black and also white; two bits will give you four values, three bits will provide you eight values, etc.

Standard sRGB pixels are composed that red, green and also blue subpixels, and each of these is an eight little value, meaning it have the right to be all over from 0 come 255. 256 reds x 256 blues x 256 greens = 16,777,216 feasible colors. Seems prefer a lot till you start working with gradations, especially in zero areas, and also what should be a smooth change becomes a collection of bands of color (called color banding).


Using higher bit depth (more bits per color channel) can assist record an ext tonal detail and keep shade transitions smooth. Right now (2015) the JPEG paper format used by virtual imagery, and that most consumer digital cameras default to, only supports 8-bits, yet many cameras can additionally save "raw" documents - raw image data - in ~ a greater bit depth. Raw records are bigger and more awkward to occupational with, but can document 12 to 16 bits every channel. If you want the finest image quality you deserve to get, shoot raw.

Color Values

This deserve to come in handy as soon as you"re law HTML or geeking around with color and also color matching, or you just want to understand what color codes watch like and also mean. In HTML, 8-bit shade values space written out as six-digit hexadecimal number (decimal = 0-9 = ten possible values; hexadecimal = 0-9 + A-F = 16 possible values) prefaced by a pound authorize (hashtag come you noobs). Because that example, #1A2B3C = a dark blue of tool saturation. The first pair of number (1A) is for the red channel or red below pixel, the second (2B) for green, and also the 3rd (3C) because that blue. A value of 00 method no light of that color while a value of FF ( = decimal value of 255) method 100% brightness. Pure red would certainly be #FF0000, pure eco-friendly #00FF00, pure blue #0000FF, pure black #000000 and pure white #FFFFFF. Grays of various brightness are produced by making every the color networks equal values, for example #A5A5A5 would certainly be a medium-light gray.

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When software application dealing with color breaks the worths down right into their different channels, the values room written (or you get in them) in decimal form, from 0 come 255, for RGB. CMYK values are percents. Hue, Saturation and Brightness (HSB) is another way to map colors, and also Lab is another an extremely wide-range shade space great for advanced tricks. The image listed below shows a screenshot the the color picker native Photoshop.