Spectral Colours on Screen
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Spectral Colours on Screen
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About the diagram
Some key terms
- To be clear about the RGB colour model it is useful to remember first that:
- The visible spectrum is the range of wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that correspond with all the different colours we see in the world.
- A spectral colour is a colour corresponding with a single wavelength of visible light, or with a narrow band of adjacent wavelengths.
- The human eye, and so human perception, is tuned to the visible spectrum and so to spectral colours between red and violet. However, because of the way the eye works, we can see many other colours which are produced by mixing colours from different areas of the spectrum. A particularly useful range of colours is produced by mixing red, green and blue light.
- RGB colour is an entirely different approach to producing and managing colour.
- RGB colour is an additive colour model in which red, green and blue light is combined in various proportions to reproduce a wide range of other colours. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colours, red, green, and blue.
- Except for the three primary colours, RGB colours are not spectral colours because they are produced by combining colours from different areas of the visible spectrum.
- RGB colour provides the basis for a wide range of technologies used to reproduce digital colour.
- RGB colour provides the basis for reproducing colour in ways that are well aligned with human perception.
- When an observer has separate controls allowing them to adjust the intensity of overlapping red, green and blue coloured lights they are able to create a match for a very extensive range of colours.
- When looking at any modern display device such as a computer screen, mobile phone or projector we are looking at RGB colour.
- Magenta is an RGB colour for which there is no equivalent spectral colour.
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.
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