Colour space

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Description

Colour space

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About the diagram

ABOUT THE DIAGRAM

Some key terms

The trichromatic colour model is a theory of colour that establishes terms, rules and methods to enable human colour vision to be dealt with in both systematic and practical ways.

A colour model is the how-to part of colour theory. Together they establish terms and definitions, rules or conventions and a system of notation for encoding colours and their relationships with one another.

A colour model is a way of:

  • Making sense of the colours we see around us in the world.
  • Understanding the relationship of colours to one another.
  • Understanding how to mix each type of coloured media to produce predictable results.
  • Specifying colours using names, codes, notation, equations etc.
  • Organising and using colours for different purposes.
  • Using colours in predictable and repeatable ways.
  • Working out systems and rules for mixing and using different types of colour.
  • Creating colour palettes, gamuts and colour guides.
  • A chromaticity diagram is a two-dimensional visual depiction of all the colours produced by mixing specific primary colours in a particular colour model.
  • This means it shows the range of colours achievable by combining red, green, and blue light in varying proportions, not all possible colours imaginable. Some chromaticity diagrams may include colours that are technically visible under specific conditions (e.g., high intensity) but are not typically seen by humans under normal viewing conditions.
  • The two axes in a chromaticity diagram, typically labelled x and y, represent the proportions of red, green, and blue light needed to produce a specific colour within the model’s gamut.
  • The most common diagrams, like the CIE 1931 xy diagram, display the entire range of hues (at varying levels of saturation) that a human observer can perceive under ideal conditions.
  • The scale on each axis of chromaticity diagrams used for technical purposes aligns with the range of colour values (chromaticity coordinates) described by the CIE (1931) XYZ colour space. This enables them to accurately depict colour spaces in a manner consistent with a comprehensive and internationally recognized chromaticity coordinate system.
  • Some chromaticity diagrams show the smaller range of other colour spaces so that the range of colours that can be reproduced by equipment such as cameras, digital screens and printers can be compared.

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