Colour spaces & examples

About colour spaces & examples
  • A colour space aims to accurately define the relationship between any selected colour within a colour model and how it will appear when it is reproduced by a specific device such as a digital display, printer or paint mixing machine.
  • When an artist selects a limited number of tubes of oil paint to add to a palette, they are already working within the RYB subtractive colour model and establishing the colour space in which they plan to work.
  • A colour space may aim to limit the number of colours or establish the widest possible gamut of reproducible colours.
  • Digital colour spaces are commonly used to accurately set the range of colours that can be output to and then displayed by digital screens and printers.
  • When a colour space is to be matched with a specific digital device such as a projector or printer, a colour profile is loaded along with the image file to ensure accurate colour reproduction.
  • A colour profile is a program that enables a piece of equipment, such as a digital printer, to know how to handle and process the information it receives, ensuring it can produce the intended colour output accurately.

Examples of colour spaces include:

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) Color Space
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black) Color Space
  • CMYK is a subtractive colour model used in printing and design. It defines colours by subtracting varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink from a white paper background. CMYK is used to achieve a wide range of colours on printed materials.
RYB (Red, Yellow, Blue) Color Space
  • RYB is an older subtractive colour model primarily used in traditional art and paint mixing. It consists of three primary colours: red, yellow, and blue. Mixing these colours creates secondary colours, such as orange, green, and violet. RYB is not used in modern digital design.
LAB Color Space
  • LAB is a device-independent colour space that represents colours in a way that is closer to human perception. It separates colour information into three channels: L (lightness), A (green to red), and B (blue to yellow). LAB is used in colour management and as an intermediate space when converting between different colour models.
HSB/HSV (Hue, Saturation, Brightness/Value) Color Space
  • HSB/HSV is a cylindrical colour model that represents colours based on three parameters: hue (the type of colour), saturation (the purity of the colour), and brightness/value (the intensity of the colour). It is often used in computer graphics and design software.
XYZ Color Space
  • XYZ is a CIE (Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage) standardized colour space that serves as a reference for defining other colour spaces. It is based on human vision and designed to be perceptually uniform. XYZ is used in various colour-related calculations and conversions.
Pantone Color Space
    • The Pantone colour system is widely used in the printing and design industries. It provides a standardized set of colours represented by specific codes. Each colour swatch is carefully defined to ensure consistency in printing and reproducing colours accurately.