Colour Basics

What is Colour?

People commonly describe colors by pairing them with familiar objects: “lime green,” “sky blue,” or “fire engine red.” While this may be sufficient for everyday conversation, professional applications require an absolute value for color that is independent of the viewer. By arranging color in a three-dimensional graph called a Color Space (shown on the right), we can assign an absolute value to any color using three independent variables: Lightness, Chroma, and Hue (LCh)

Lightness (also called “Value”) – Lightness is plotted vertically in the Color Space graph, with the darkest colors at the bottom, lightest colors at the top.

Chroma (also called “Saturation”) – A color that is very saturated or intense has a high chroma. As colors become more chromatic they move in a horizontal direction away from the center of the Color Space.

Hue – The basic color of an object, such as “red,” “yellow,” or “green.” Hue is located around the perimeter of the Color Space.