What is RGB

The RGB color space - simply explained

Have in our colorful world Colours numerous functions - and that's not new. Even Goethe attached greater importance to his work "On the theory of colors" (published in 1810) than to his work as a poet. In 1809, the English ophthalmologist and physicist Thomas Young (1773-1829) proposed that all spectral colors can be produced by mixing three basic colors. However, there was still no talk of RGB. It took more than 50 years for the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) to prove this claim. He produced the first color photograph in 1861 and thus provided evidence for the theory of additive color mixing.

The term RGB describes a color space that reproduces the colors that are visible to humans through the additive mixing of the three basic colors. According to these three colors - R.ot, Grün and B.lukewarm - was the name given to the RGB color space.

Colours give orientation, let things appear in a special light and appeal to the senses. Strictly speaking, color is nothing else: a sensory impression of the light that humans can perceive. It is electromagnetic radiation in the range of Wavelength from 380 (violet) to 760 nanometers (red). With the various techniques for displaying images, different principles have also been established for displaying colors optically. Since the development of color screens, the RGB color model in particular has been of fundamental importance for image reproduction on electronic output devices. Our guide provides you with the most important information about RGB colors.

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How does the RGB color model work?

RGB colors are exposed three basic colors together to which the light-sensitive cones in the human eye are most sensitive: red, green and blue. The color black is the basis for this color model. All colors used appear in contrast to that basic color black. Since RGB colors are made up of three basic colors, this leads to the term additive color mixing. Three bright colors are put together, so addedto create the perceived color. In the case of a computer monitor, for example, image points (pixels) are combined to form an overall image. Each individual pixel consists of subpixels in the RGB colors, which are then perceived as the additively mixed color of the image point.

How many colors are there in the RGB color space?

The three Basic colors red, green and blue (also called color channel) can each have the strengths from 0 to 255, so there are a total of 256 gradations per channel. Multiplying all available color gradations per channel results in 2563 or 16,777,216 color combinations. One often finds the statement: 16.7 million colors.

For example, in the Web all these colors with the RGB- but also with Hexadecimal values specify. Often both are used in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to achieve color security in different browsers.

This code example is the direct indication of how RGB colors on the web be used. Quite a number of these colors carry web usable Color namesthat can also be used in CSS (# FF00FF is fuchsia). There are various tables for this on the Internet.

The graphic formats for displaying images and graphics on the Internet are all based on RGB colors, with the exception of the GIF format. In image processing software such as Photoshop or in free image processing programs, an RGB mode can also be used for color reproduction. And the many tools for compressing images also output RGB in order to use the compressed images for websites with good performance.

RGB and CMYK - was that all?

Of course not. There are many different concepts for Color spaces. Their differences lie in the way colors are reproduced. The alternative color space systems include, for example:

CIE 1931

CIE is the so-called norm valence system from 1931. It is based on averaged measured values ​​from normal observers. CIE 1964 describes the human field of vision on an A4 sheet of paper from a viewing distance of 30 centimeters. Further developments and modifications are CIELUC, CIELAB and CIEUVW.

RGB with extensions

The color space sRGB is a further development of various companies and consortia from RGB for the Internet. It is used in open source programs and in the SVG image format. The color space Adobe RGB was developed by the company of the same name to reproduce the colors of a CMYK printer on a PC monitor. There are long lists of RGB color spaces that are assigned to very specific display tasks. Ultimately, every expert user can create his own color space.

Hue with saturation

HSV or HSB use the hue (Hue: H), the saturation (Saturation: S) and a value for the brightness (Value: V or Brightness: B) to describe the color. This color space comes closer to natural color perception. Also belong to this group HSL and HSI. The letter L stands for luminance, the I for intensity. HSL is also in CSS usable.

Luminance with color

These color spaces are called YIQ, YUV, YDbDr, YPbPr or YCbCr used for color television standards (NTSC, PAL, SECAM). Two color values ​​and one brightness value are saved. Here is too xvYCC to mention a newer, extended color space for digital video signals.

FAQs

We have summarized the most important questions and answers on the subject for you below.

Definition: RGB

The term RGB describes a color space that reproduces the colors that are visible to humans through the additive mixing of the three basic colors. The RGB color space was named after these three colors - red, green and blue.

How does the RGB color model work?

RGB colors are made up of three basic colors to which the light-sensitive cones in the human eye react most sensitively: red, green and blue. The color black is the basis for this color model. All colors used appear in contrast to that basic color black. Since RGB colors are made up of three basic colors, this leads to the term additive color mixing.

How many colors are there in the RGB color space?

The three basic colors red, green and blue (also called color channel) can each have strengths from 0 to 255, so there are a total of 256 gradations per channel. Multiplying all available color gradations per channel results in 16,777,216 color combinations.

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