Color Basics

The RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color model lights up video images and graphics on your computer monitor. Every image is composed of a value (1 to 255) of the three colors. The color model is additive, meaning red, green, and blue mixed together at the maximum value (255) emit their greatest light, which is white.

RGB color mode is often used by web designers. The gamut, or range of colors, in RGB is greater than CMYK. When you convert RGB images to CMYK, you will lose extra RGB data, and some colors will appear duller.

The color model contains 256 shades of gray. Shade 0 is black and shade 255 is white. This color model is used when you want to create black-and-white images.

This color model is used to create a printed page. With CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), every image is composed of varying percentages of the four colors. This color model is subtractive, meaning when cyan, magenta, yellow and black are mixed together, they absorb light and appear black.

CMYK color model is used by printers and desktop publisher where documents created are printed on paper.

A duotone is a black-and-white photograph printed using black plus one additional color. In desktop publishing, this is a grayscale image enhanced with an additional color.

Duotone is often used by desktop publishers and photographers looking for a richer tone than grayscale can provide. Some inks in printers cannot accurately represent all 256 shades of gray. Hence, using duotone with the additional color helps provide a richer tone.

The Pantone Matching System is a system of precisely choosing ink colors. Desktop publishers pick a numerically designated color from a fan-shaped book of swatches, which show exactly how the colors will print on paper.

Pantone is often used by desktop publisher and printers to accurately match logo colors or other graphics that must look exactly the same when printed on different media (letterheads, business cards, sales literatures).

Web-Safe Colors
Web-safe colors are a set of 216 RGB colors that look the same on a computer monitor regardless of the platform or web browser used. Web-Safe is used by web designers who wants to ensure that their graphics would not dither, a fuzzy look created when a monitor tries to approximate a color by mixing colors of neighboring pixels.

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