Color space

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

Color spaces are a way of representing color as one a tuple of numbers, typically as three or four values. Color spaces lend themselves to (in principle) reproducible representations of color, particularly in digital representations, such as digital printing or digital electronic display.

Some colorspaces in wide use are RGB, CMYK, YUV and HSV.

RGB is typically used to describe additive color. Light is added together to create form from out of the darkness. RGB stores individual values for red, green and blue.

CMYK is a subtractive color space used in the printing process. One starts with a white canvas, and uses ink to subtract color from white to create an image. CMYK stores ink values for cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

YUV is used in NTSC (North American) television broadcasts for historical reasons. [ Is it also used in PAL, for instance? ] YUV stores a luminance value with both a blue and red chrominance value.

HSV is often used by artists because it is often more natural to think about a color in terms of hue and saturation than in terms of additive or subtractive color components. HSV stores a hue value, a saturation value and an intensity value.

There's an overview of the differences between RGB and CMYK at

Once you've decided which color space you want to work in, if you are working on a computer, you must then address the problem of color space encoding.