1530 RGB Colours

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To find out more about the diagram above . . . . read on!

1530 RGB Colours

Look carefully at the diagram at the top of the page. Now check out the following questions (and answers)!

  1. What are RGB colours?
  2. What do the letters RGB refer to?
  3. Are colours produced by combining RGB primary colours called spectral colours?
  4. Why are RGB colours usually arranged as a colour wheel?
  5. Does a computer screen use the RGB or the CMYK colour model?

About the Diagram

Introducing the diagram! Read back and forward between the image at the top of the page and the explanation below!

This diagram shows all 1530 fully saturated colours in the RGB colour model. Fully saturated colours are produced by mixing two primary colours together.

The diagram splits the total of 1530 into blocks of 256 colours with each block starting with a primary and finishing with a secondary colour or visa-vera. The six segments are:

  • Red (primary colour) to yellow (secondary colour)
  • Yellow (secondary) to green (primary)
  • Green (primary) to cyan (secondary)
  • Cyan (secondary) to blue (primary)
  • Blue (primary) to magenta (secondary)
  • Magenta (secondary) to red (primary)

Understanding the diagram

  • All the colours in this diagram have been produced by mixing pairs of primary colours. The third primary colour in any swatch is set to zero – off.
  • The diagram is made up of six blocks each made up of 16 rows and 16 columns.
  • The first block starts with red and ends with yellow. The second starts with yellow and ends with green.
  • So yellow appears twice, once at the end and then again at the beginning of the next block.
  • This arrangement repeats through the diagram so there are a total of 1536 swatches but a total of 1530 different colours.
  • To make sense of the overall relationship of colours, it helps to understand how RGB colour notation works:
  • When mixing any RGB colour, three numbers (separated by commas) show how much red, green and blue light is to be used.
  • The minimum value for each light source is 0. In this case the light is fully off.
  • The maximum value for each light source is 255. In this case the light source is fully on.
  • As each number increases so does the intensity of the corresponding light but the wavelength, and so the colour we see, stays the same.
RGB colour values
Light source Red Green Blue
Maximum value for each light source (fully on) 255 , 255 , 255
Values between 0 and 255 1 to 254 1 to 254 1 to 254
Minimum value for each light source (fully off) 0 , 0 , 0

RGB colour values

Now let’s look at RGB colour values in detail

RGB colour values are represented by decimal triplets (base 10) or hexadecimal triplets (base 16). These triplets are used in software and apps to select a colour.

  • In decimal notation, an RGB triplet is used to represent the values of red, then green, then blue.
  • Decimal numbers between 0 and 255 are selected for each value:
  • Red = 255, 00, 00
  • Yellow = 255, 255, 00
  • Green = 00, 255, 00
  • Cyan = 00, 255, 255
  • Blue = 00, 00, 255
  • Magenta = 255, 00, 255
  • In hexadecimal notation, an RGB triplet is used to represent the value of red, then green, then blue.
  • Hexadecimal numbers between 00 and FF are selected for each value.
  • The hash symbol (#) is used to indicate hex notation:
  • Red = #FF0000
  • Yellow = #FFFF00
  • Green = #00FF00
  • Cyan = 00FFFF
  • Blue = #0000FF
  • Magenta = #FF00FF
  • The sequence of hexadecimal values between 1 and 16 are: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E and F.
  • The sequence of hexadecimal values between 17 and 32 are: 10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,1A,1B,1C,1D,1E and 1F.

Follow the blue links for definitions . . . . or check the summaries of key terms below!

Some Key Terms

Move to the next level! Check out the following terms.

Additive colour

Additive colour is a method of mixing different wavelengths of light to produce other colours. An additive approach to colour ...
Read More

Colour

Things appear coloured because colour corresponds with a property of light that is visible to the human eye. The visual ...
Read More

Primary colour

Primary colours are a set of colours from which others can be produced by mixing (pigments, dyes etc.) or overlapping ...
Read More

RGB colour

To be clear about RGB colour it is useful to remember first that: The visible spectrum is the range of ...
Read More

RGB colour values

RGB colour values are expressed as decimal triplets or hexadecimal triplets and are used in software applications to select specific ...
Read More

Secondary colour

A secondary colour is a colour made by mixing two primary colours in a given colour space. The colour space may be produced by an additive colour model that ...
Read More

Colour model

A colour model is a mathematical system used to describe colours using a set of numeric values. A colour model ...
Read More

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