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For an interactive class on an intuitive approach to using color, check out my "Creative Color" class at

Summary of Color Facts

Color is a very big subject, but here is a brief summary of color information for the benefit of those learning to work with creating color.

4 ways of describing color:

  1. RGB- refers to colored light as in TV's and computer monitors; Primaries: Red, Green, Blue.
  2. CYMK- refers to printers and photographer's inks; Primaries: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta (plus black)
  3. RYB- This is the color wheel you learned in grade school; Primaries: Red, Yellow, Blue
  4. HSV- describes any color in terms of three qualities- Hue, Saturation, Value
    You can describe any color in any of these four ways- it's still the same color!
Hue- refers to the quality that gives a color its name- red-red orange rather than just red-orange. Color isn't a space on a color wheel - it's a continuum. There's an unlimited number of variations between red and orange (even though the human eye can't distinguish them all.)

Value- refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color as compared to black and white. Pink is a light to medium value, dusty rose is somewhere in the middle and maroon would be a dark value. A series of values from black to white is called a "value scale". Every hue may have an unlimited number of values from very light to almost black.

Saturation- (also called chroma, purity, strength, dullness and other terms)- refers to the amount of black, white or gray mixed with a hue.

To change the saturation of a color: