- A saturated colour is a unique spectral colour produced by a single wavelength (or a narrow band of wavelengths) of light.
- A fully saturated colour (100%) is the purest version of a hue and appears bright and vibrant.
- Unsaturated colours (0-10%) can appear:
- Misty or milky the nearer they are to white.
- Dull and washed out as their hue disappears leaving achromatic grey tones.
About saturation & wavelength
- Saturation is one of the three primary properties of colour, alongside hue and brightness.
- Light complexity, linked to saturation, refers to the quantity and range of wavelengths of light used to create a colour.
- Spectral colours are simple because they consist of just one wavelength of light.
- Bands of colour are relatively simple because they are composed of a continuous range of wavelengths.
- Non-spectral colours can be produced from a mix of many wavelengths from different parts of the spectrum, making them the most complex.
- In reality, colours are often produced by complex combinations of wavelengths.
- The greater the number and spread of wavelengths across the visible spectrum present in a colour, the lower the saturation.
- The human eye can perceive millions of different colours due to the complex interactions of wavelengths and the eye’s colour receptors.
About saturation and colour models
- The concept of saturation is most comprehensible when connected to a particular colour model.
- Examples of colour models include:
- In the HSB colour model, the term saturation (S) is used alongside hue (H) and brightness (B).
- Some colour models don’t use the term saturation at all.
- When changing from one colour model to another, it’s best to change terminology at the same time.
About the HSB colour model
- 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:
- 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.