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Color Models

Color Model
Color Model is a method for explaining the
properties or behaviour of color within some
particular context.
Electromagnetic Spectrum
Visible light frequencies range between ...
Red = 4.3 x 1014 hertz (700nm)
Violet = 7.5 x 1014 hertz (400nm)
Visible Light

White light consists of a spectrum of all visible colors

We can describe various colors in terms of either
frequency or wavelength of the wave.
The wavelength and frequency of the monochromatic
wave are inversely proportional to each other, with the
proportionality constant as the speed of light c:

c f
Color and Wavelength
Most light we see is not just a single wavelength, but a
combination of many wavelengths like below. This profile
is often referred to as a spectrum, or spectral power
Hue = dominant frequency (highest peak)
Saturation = excitation purity (ratio of highest to rest)
brightness = luminance (area under curve)
Chromaticity = Purity +Dominant frequency.
Visible Light

White Light Orange Light

Ew : contribution of the other frequencies producing white light
Ed : Energy density of the dominant light component

Purity of 100% when Ew = 0

Purity of 0% when Ed = Ew
Complementary colors : The two colors which is combined to produce the
white light. Eg : Red and Cyan, Green and Magenta, Blue and Yellow.

Color Gamut : Range of colors of the model

Primary colors : The two or three colors used to produce other color model
are referred to as primary colors.
RGB Spectral Colors
Match each pure color in the visible
spectrum (rainbow)
Record the color coordinates as a function
of wavelength

Standard Primaries and the
CIE Standard
CIE: International Commission on Illumination (Commission
Internationale de lEclairage).
Human perception based standard (1931), established with color
matching experiment
Standard observer: a composite of a group of 15 to 20 people

Three pure light source: R = 700

nm, G = 546 nm, B = 436 nm.
XYZ Color Model
X,Y, Z vectors in 3D which represents the CIE primaries.
Any color C is expressed as
Normalized amount are calculated as with x+y+z=1.

x y z

A complete description of a color is typically given with the three

values x, y and Y.
x z
y y
Where z=1-x-y
CIE xyY Space
Irregular 3D volume shape is
difficult to understand
Chromaticity diagram (the
same color of the varying
intensity, Y, should all end up
at the same point)
CIE Chromaticity Diagram
The chromaticity diagram
is useful for :
Comparing color gamuts
for different sets of
Identifying complementary
Determining dominant
wavelength and purity of a
given color.
Non-spectral colors
Colors not having a dominant wavelength .
Purity is determined by relative distance between the distance from
the point C1 to C (dc1) and the distance from C and CS (dcs).
Intuitive color concepts
Artists often specify color as tints, shades, and tones of
saturated (pure) pigments
Tint: Adding white to a pure pigment, decreasing
Shade: Adding black to a pure pigment, decreasing
Tone: Adding white and black to a pure pigment
White Tints Pure Color


Additive color vs. Subtractive color
Additive colors models are used in light
Start with black, and add colored light to make your desired
Subtractive color models are used with paint
Start with white, and add colors
A given color red subtracts away (from the reflected light)
any wavelength that is not red
Additive color mixing: Subtractive color mixing:

The RGB Color Model
This is the model used in color CRT
RGB are additive primaries
We can represent this space as a unit cube:
RGB Color Model
The additive color model used for computer graphics
is represented by the RGB color cube, where R, G,
and B represent the colors produced by red, green
and blue phosphours, respectively.
The CMY Color Model
Cyan, magenta, and yellow are the
complements of red, green, and blue
We can use them as filters to subtract from
The space is the same as RGB except the origin
is white instead of black
This is useful for hardcopy devices like
laser printers
If you put cyan ink on the page, no red light is
C 1 R
M 1 G

Y 1 B
CMY printing
Cyan, Magenta, Yellow , Black CMY
A subtractive color model

dye color absorbs reflects

cyan red blue and green
magenta green blue and red
yellow blue red and green
black all none
Converting between RGB and CMY
Most printers actually add a fourth color,
Use black in place of equal amounts of C,
M, and Y

Black ink is darker than mixing C, M,
and Y
Black ink is cheaper than colored ink
You can create (more or
less) any color with each
Colored printer ink is more
Notice how much less
CMY is needed in the
CMYK version
One of the reasons
printers use CMYK
And color mixing

The YIQ Color Model
YIQ is used to encode television signals
Y is the CIE Y primary, not yellow
Y is luminance, so I and Q encode the
chromaticity of the color
If we just throw I and Q away, we have
black and white TV
This assumes known chromaticities for your
Backwards compatibility with black and
white TV
More bandwidth can be assigned to Y

YIQ Color Model
YIQ is the color model used for color TV in America.

Y -- luminance(brightness)
I (Orange - Cyan) bandwidth of appx 1.5 MHz
Q (Green- Magenta) band width of appx 0.6 MHz

Note: Y is the same as CIEs Y

Result: Use the Y alone and backwards compatibility
with B/W TV!
These days when you convert RGB image to B/W
image, the green and blue components are thrown
away and red is used to control shades of grey
YIQ Color Model (Contd)
RGB signal can
be converted into Y 0.299 0.587 0.144 R
Television signal I 0.596 0.275 0.321.G

using NTSC Q 0.212 0.528 0.311 B
encoder .

YIQ to RGB R 1.000 0.956 0.620 Y

G 1.000 0.272 0.647. I

B 1.000 1.108 1.705 Q
HSV Color Model
More intuitive color specification
User selects a spectral color and the amount of white and
Black that are to be added to obtain different shades, tints and
Derived from the RGB color model:
when the RGB color cube is viewed along the diagonal
from white to black, the color cube outline is a hexagon
HSV Color Model

Wavelength (red, green, yellow, blue)
Spectrum (VIBGYOR)

Pastel versus strong (baby blue, sky blue, royal blue)

amount of energy (white, light gray, dark gray, black)
Usually V = 0.299*R + 0.587*G + 0.114*B
HSV Color Model
Hue (H) is the angle
around the vertical axis.
0 (RED) through 360

Saturation (S) is a value

along a horizontal axis from
0 to 1 indicating how far
from the vertical axis the
color lies

Value (V) is the height of the

hexcone (is along the
vertical axis through the
HSV Color Model
H S V Color
0 1.0 1.0 Red
120 1.0 1.0 Green
240 1.0 1.0 Blue
* 0.0 1.0 White
* 0.0 0.5 Gray
* * 0.0 Black
60 1.0 1.0 ?
270 0.5 1.0 ?
270 0.0 0.7 ?
HLS model
Another model similar to
L stands for Lightness
Color Model Summary
CIE XYZ: contains all visible colours
Device Color Systems:
RGB: additive device color space (monitors)
CMY(K): subtractive device color space
YIQ: television (NTSC)
(Y=luminance, I=R-Y, Q=B-Y)
Color Ordering Systems:
HSV, HLS: for user interfaces