HSB colour model

About the HSB colour model

The HSB colour model is an additive colour model used to mix light (subtractive colour models are used to mix pigments and inks).

  • The main difference between the HSB colour model and the RGB colour model is how colours are represented and managed in software and applications.
  • The HSB model represents colours based on hue, saturation, and brightness, whereas the RGB model mixes red, green, and blue light to create colours.
  • HSB is popular because it provides a user-friendly way to select and modify colours when using applications like Adobe Creative Cloud for design, photography, or web development.
  • On HSB colour wheels, saturation typically increases from the centre towards the edge.

In the HSB colour model:

  • Hue refers to the perceived difference between colours and is usually described using names such as red, yellow, green, or blue.
    • Hue can be measured as a location on an HSB colour wheel and expressed as a degree between 0 and 360.
  • Saturation refers to the vividness of a colour compared to an unsaturated colour.
    • Saturation is measured between a fully saturated colour (100%) and an unsaturated colour (0%)that appear either:
      • Dull and washed out until all colour disappears, leaving only a monochromatic grey tone (0%).
      • Misty or milky the nearer they are to white.
    • On many HSB colour wheels, saturation decreases from the edge to the centre.
  • Brightness refers to the perceived difference in the appearance of colours under ideal sunlit conditions compared to poor lighting conditions where a hue’s vitality is lost.
    • Brightness can be measured as a percentage from 100% to 0%.
    • As the brightness of a fully saturated hue decreases, it appears progressively darker and achromatic.