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Colour model

A colour model (or colour system) is an abstract mathematical method for determining and specifying colours and their relationship to each other.
It is sometimes referred to as colour space, although the latter is the concrete application of a colour model to a colour-producing method (printer, monitor, etc.).

Well-known colour models are:

  • RGB (additive colour mixing with red, green and blue)
  • CMYK (subtractive colour mixing with cyan, magenta, yellow and black)
  • Lab/CIELab (brightness, red-green axis and blue-yellow axis)
  • HSL and HSB/HSV (Hue, Saturation, Lightness and Hue, Saturation, Brightness/Value)

Colour space

A colour space is based on a colour model, and is its concrete application to a colouring method (printer, monitor, etc). It therefore contains all colours that can actually be represented through this method and the associated materials.

For example, sRGB and AdobeRGB are both colour spaces based on the RGB colour model. They can only represent a portion of the colours theoretically defined by the RGB model.

Colour system

A colour system (or colour model) is an abstract mathematical method for determining and specifying colours and their relationship to each other.
It is sometimes referred to as colour space, although the latter is the concrete application of a colour model to a colour-producing method (printer, monitor, etc.).

Well-known colour systems are:

  • RGB (additive colour mixing with red, green and blue)
  • CMYK (subtractive colour mixing with cyan, magenta, yellow and black)
  • Lab/CIELab (brightness, red-green axis and blue-yellow axis)
  • HSL and HSB/HSV (Hue, Saturation, Lightness and Hue, Saturation, Brightness/Value)

RGB

RGB stands for red, green and blue. Human colour vision is based on these colours.

Computer monitors and televisions each have red, green and blue light-emitting areas. If all three colours are turned on, we see white light. If all three colours are turned off, we see black.

The RGB colour system is based on additive colour mixing and used for self-luminous systems like monitors, etc..

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