Navigating the RGB Color System

The purpose of the RGB color system is to display a colored image within an electronic system, such as a television, computer or any digital image prior to print. It is a complex system. However, if you are a digital artist or web designer, it's good to know the basics.

Red, Green and Blue (RGB) are added together in various ways to produce a broad array of colors in this additive color method. Each color is described by the strength of the Red, Green or Blue components. These values specify the intensity of the colors with three numerical values for each, from 0 (none) to 255 (full intensity).

Within RGB possible decimal notations include:
Red is equal to 255,0,0 (Red at full intensity, no Green or Blue); Green is equal to 0,255,0 (Green at full intensity, no Red or Blue); and Blue is equal to 0,0,255 (Blue at full intensity, no Red or Green).


When Red is equal to (255, 0, 0), this means Red at full intensity with no Green or Blue. Green is equal to (0, 255, 0), this means Green at full intensity with no Red or Blue, etc.

Creating Colors with RGB ValuesRed ValueGreen ValueBlue Value
Red25500
Green02550
Blue00255
Maroon15300
Yellow2552550
Gray153153153
RGB Value01734516885102119136153170187204221238255
Red
Green
Blue

Converting RGB Numbers to Web Colors

Web colors are usually specified using hexadecimal notation, not RGB decimal notation. The hexadecimal system is an alphanumeric base-16 system. F is the highest value and 0 is the lowest value. The full counting range is 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F.

Hexadecimal Number System:
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F

A color is coded by the strength of its Red, Green and Blue components within the RGB system,. The template for HTML hex color value is 'RRGGBB.' RR is the Red intensity, GG is the Green intensity and BB is the Blue intensity. To translate a color from the RGB system to hexadecimal, it is displayed in a combination of six hexadecimal digits. The hex values for each color can range from a high of FF to a low of 00.

For example: FF9900 is the hexadecimal code for orange, which is (255, 153, 0) in RGB notation. The first two digits represent the amount of red. The next two digits represent the amount of green. The last two digits represent the amount of blue.

On a 256 color monitor, only the R of Red, the G of Green and the B of Blue have any effect on the color, except for pure colors and grays where only 6 of the hex digits have any affect. Those digits are F, C, 9, 6, 3, 0. For practical purposes the useful two digits are FF, CC, 99, 66, 33, 00. We could also use F0, C7, 95, 61, 3A, 0E instead of FF, CC, 99, 66, 33, 00 and get the same results on a 256 color monitor, but it might come out slightly different on higher resolution monitors.

There are millions of combinations of colors within these six alphanumeric digits but, there are only 216 of these colors that can be safely displayed by every browser. The 216 web safe colors are always a combination of the following values:

Hex00336699CCFF
RBG051102153204255

The Browser Safe Color Palette

Web safe colors are the set of 216 colors common to most browsers. A palette, created from such colors is often called a web-safe or browser-safe palette, because it produces fairly consistent results on different platforms and with different browsers. When and image is displayed in a 256-color screen mode, this set of colors is never dithered.

If a designated color is not included in the default palette, the browser will choose two colors in the palette to closely replicate it. This substitution of color is call "dithering". That is why certain images may look speckled or grainy. Text will not be "dithered", but it will be displayed using the next color closest to it in the palette.

The chart below contains the 216 "Non-Dithering" palette colors showing both the RGB and the hexadecimal codes for each.

Non Dithering Color Chart
RGB
(0,0,0)
Hex (000000)
RGB
(0,0,51)
Hex (000033)
RGB
(0,0,102)
Hex (000066)
RGB
(0,0,153)
Hex (000099)
RGB
(0,0,204)
Hex (0000CC)
RGB
(0,0,255)
Hex (0000FF)
RGB
(51,0,0)
Hex (330000)
RGB
(51,0,51)
Hex (330033)
RGB
(51,0,102)
Hex (330066)
RGB
(51,0,153)
Hex (330099)
RGB
(51,0,204)
Hex (3300CC)
RGB
(51,0,255)
Hex (3300FF)
RGB
(102,0,0)
Hex (660000)
RGB
(102,0,51)
Hex (660033)
RGB
(102,0,102)
Hex (660066)
RGB
(102,0,153)
Hex (660099)
RGB
(102,0,204)
Hex (6600CC)
RGB
(102,0,255)
Hex (6600FF)
RGB
(153,0,0)
Hex (990000)
RGB
(153,0,51)
Hex (990033)
RGB
(153,0,102)
Hex (990066)
RGB
(153,0,153)
Hex (990099)
RGB
(153,0,204)
Hex (9900CC)
RGB
(153,0,255)
Hex (9900FF)
RGB
(204,0,0)
Hex (CC0000)
RGB
(204,0,51)
Hex (CC0033)
RGB
(204,0,102)
Hex (CC0066)
RGB
(204,0,153)
Hex (CC0099)
RGB
(204,0,204)
Hex (CC00CC)
RGB
(204,0,255)
Hex (CC00FF)
RGB
(255,0,0)
Hex (FF0000)
RGB
(255,0,51)
Hex (FF0033)
RGB
(255,0,102)
Hex (FF0066)
RGB
(255,0,153)
Hex (FF0099)
RGB
(255,0,204)
Hex (FF00CC)
RGB
(255,0,255)
Hex (FF00FF)
RGB
(0,51,0)
Hex (003300)
RGB
(0,51,51)
Hex (003333)
RGB
(0,51,102)
Hex (003366)
RGB
(0,51,153)
Hex (003399)
RGB
(0,51,204)
Hex (0033CC)
RGB
(0,51,255)
Hex (0033FF)
RGB
(51,51,0)
Hex (333300)
RGB
(51,51,51)
Hex (333333)
RGB
(51,51,102)
Hex (333366)
RGB
(51,51,153)
Hex (333399)
RGB
(51,51,204)
Hex (3333CC)
RGB
(51,51,255)
Hex (3333FF)
RGB
(102,51,0)
Hex (663300)
RGB
(102,51,51)
Hex (663333)
RGB
(102,51,102)
Hex (663366)
RGB
(102,51,153)
Hex (663399)
RGB
(102,51,204)
Hex (6633CC)
RGB
(102,51,255)
Hex (6633FF)
RGB
(153,51,0)
Hex (993300)
RGB
(153,51,51)
Hex (993333)
RGB
(153,51,102)
Hex (993366)
RGB
(153,51,153)
Hex (993399)
RGB
(153,51,204)
Hex (9933CC)
RGB
(153,51,255)
Hex (9933FF)
RGB
(204,51,0)
Hex (CC3300)
RGB
(204,51,51)
Hex (CC3333)
RGB
(204,51,102)
Hex (CC3366)
RGB
(204,51,153)
Hex (CC3399)
RGB
(204,51,204)
Hex (CC33CC)
RGB
(204,51,255)
Hex (CC33FF)
RGB
(255,51,0)
Hex (FF3300)
RGB
(255,51,51)
Hex (FF3333)
RGB
(255,51,102)
Hex (FF3366)
RGB
(255,51,153)
Hex (FF3399)
RGB
(255,51,204)
Hex (FF33CC)
RGB
(255,51,255)
Hex (FF33FF)
RGB
(0,102,0)
Hex (006600)
RGB
(0,102,51)
Hex (006633)
RGB
(0,102,102)
Hex (006666)
RGB
(0,102,153)
Hex (006699)
RGB
(0,102,204)
Hex (0066CC)
RGB
(0,102,255)
Hex (0066FF)
RGB
(51,102,0)
Hex (336600)
RGB
(51,102,51)
Hex (336633)
RGB
(51,102,102)
Hex (336666)
RG
B (51,102,153)
Hex (336699)
RGB
(51,102,204)
Hex (3366CC)
RGB
(51,102,255)
Hex (3366FF)
RGB
(102,102,0)
Hex (666600)
RGB
(102,102,51)
Hex (666633)
RGB
(102,102,102)
Hex (666666)
RGB
(102,102,153)
Hex (666699)
RGB
(102,102,204)
Hex (6666CC)
RGB
(102,102,255)
Hex (6666FF)
RGB
(153,102,0)
Hex (996600)
RGB
(153,102,51)
Hex (996633)
RGB
(153,102,102)
Hex (996666)
RGB
(153,102,153)
Hex (996699)
RGB
(153,102,204)
Hex (9966CC)
RGB
(153,102,255)
Hex (9966FF)
RGB
(204,102,0)
Hex (CC6600)
RGB
(204,102,51)
Hex (CC6633)
RGB
(204,102,102)
Hex (CC6666)
RGB
(204,102,153)
Hex (CC6699)
RGB
(204,102,204)
Hex (CC66CC)
RGB
(204,102,255)
Hex (CC66FF)
RGB
(255,102,0)
Hex (FF6600)
RGB
(255,102,51)
Hex (FF6633)
RGB
(255,102,102)
Hex (FF6666)
RGB
(255,102,153)
Hex (FF6699)
RGB
(255,102,204)
Hex (FF66CC)
RGB
(255,102,255)
Hex (FF66FF)
RGB
(0,153,0)
Hex (009900)
RGB
(0,153,51)
Hex (009933)
RGB
(0,153,102)
Hex (009966)
RGB
(0,153,153)
Hex (009999)
RGB
(0,153,204)
Hex (0099CC)
RGB
(0,153,255)
Hex (0099FF)
RGB
(51,153,0)
Hex (339900)
RGB
(51,153,51)
Hex (339933)
RGB
(51,153,102)
Hex (339966)
RGB
(51,153,153)
Hex (339999)
RGB
(51,153,204)
Hex (3399CC)
RGB
(51,153,255)
Hex (3399FF)
RGB
(102,153,0)
Hex (669900)
RGB
(102,153,51)
Hex (669933)
RGB
(102,153,102)
Hex (669966)
RGB
(102,153,153)
Hex (669999)
RGB
(102,153,204)
Hex (6699CC)
RGB
(102,153,255)
Hex (6699FF)
RGB
(153,153,0)
Hex (999900)
RGB
(153,152,51)
Hex (999933)
RGB
(153,153,102)
Hex (999966)
RGB
(153,153,153)
Hex (999999)
RGB
(153,153,204)
Hex (9999CC)
RGB
(153,153,255)
Hex (9999FF)
RGB
(204,153,0)
Hex (CC9900)
RGB
(204,153,51)
Hex (CC9933)
RGB
(204,153,102)
Hex (CC9966)
RGB
(204,153,153)
Hex (CC9999)
RGB
(204,153,204)
Hex (CC99CC)
RGB
(204,153,255)
Hex (CC99FF)
RGB
(255,153,0)
Hex (FF9900)
RGB
(255,153,51)
Hex (FF9933)
RGB
(255,153,102)
Hex (FF9966)
RGB
(255,153,153)
Hex (FF9999)
RGB
(255,153,204)
Hex (FF99CC)
RGB
(255,153,255)
Hex (FF99FF)
RGB
(0,204,0)
Hex (00CC00)
RGB
(0,204,51)
Hex (009933)
RGB
(0,204,102)
Hex (00CC66)
RGB
(0,204,153)
Hex (00CC99)
RGB
(0,204,204)
Hex (00CCCC)
RGB
(0,204,255)
Hex (00CCFF)
RGB
(51,204,0)
Hex (33CC00)
RGB
(51,204,51)
Hex (33CC33)
RGB
(51,204,102)
Hex (33CC66)
RGB
(51,204,153)
Hex (33CC99)
RGB
(51,204,204)
Hex (33CCCC)
RGB
(51,204,255)
Hex (33CCFF)
RGB
(102,204,0)
Hex (66CC00)
RGB
(102,204,51)
Hex (66CC33)
RGB
(102,204,102)
Hex (66CC66)
RGB
(102,204,153)
Hex (66CC99)
RGB
(102,204,204)
Hex (66CCCC)
RGB
(102,204,255)
Hex (66CCFF)
RGB
(153,204,0)
Hex (99CC00)
RGB
(153,204,51)
Hex (99CC33)
RGB
(153,204,102)
Hex (99CC66)
RGB
(153,204,153)
Hex (99CC99)
RGB
(153,204,204)
Hex (99CCCC)
RGB
(153,204,255)
Hex (99CCFF)
RGB
(204,204,0)
Hex (CCCC00)
RGB
(204,204,51)
Hex (CCCC33)
RGB
(204,204,102)
Hex (CCCC66)
RGB
(204,204,153)
Hex (CCCC99)
RGB
(204,204,204)
Hex (CCCCCC)
RGB
(204,204,255)
Hex (CCCCFF)
RGB
(255,204,0)
Hex (FFCC00)
RGB
(255,204,51)
Hex (FFCC33)
RGB
(255,204,102)
Hex (FFCC66)
RGB
(255,204,153)
Hex (FFCC99)
RGB
(255,204,204)
Hex (FFCCCC)
RGB
(255,204,255)
Hex (FFCCFF)
RGB
(0,255,0)
Hex (00FF00)
RGB
(0,255,51)
Hex (00FF33)
RGB
(0,255,102)
Hex (00FF66)
RGB
(0,255,153)
Hex (00FF99)
RGB
(0,255,204)
Hex (00FFCC)
RGB
(0,255,255)
Hex (00FFFF)
RGB
(51,255,0)
Hex (33FF00)
RGB
(51,255,51)
Hex (33FF33)
RGB
(51,255,102)
Hex (33FF66)
RGB
(51,255,153)
Hex (33FF99)
RGB
(51,255,204)
Hex (33FFCC)
RGB
(51,255,255)
Hex (33FFFF)
RGB
(102,255,0)
Hex (66FF00)
RGB
(102,255,51)
Hex (66FF33)
RGB
(102,255,102)
Hex (66FF66)
RGB
(102,255,153)
Hex (66FF99)
RGB
(102,255,204)
Hex (66FFCC)
RGB
(102,255,255)
Hex (66FFFF)
RGB
(153,255,0)
Hex (99FF00)
RGB
(153,255,51)
Hex (99FF33)
RGB
(153,255,102)
Hex (99FF66)
RGB
(153,255,153)
Hex (99FF99)
RGB
(153,255,204)
Hex (99FFCC)
RGB
(153,255,255)
Hex (99FFFF)
RGB
(204,255,0)
Hex (CCFF00)
RGB
(204,255,51)
Hex (CCFF33)
RGB
(204,255,102)
Hex (CCFF66)
RGB
(204,255,153)
Hex (CCFF99)
RGB
(204,255,204)
Hex (CCFFCC)
RGB
(204,255,255)
Hex (CCFFFF)
RGB
(255,255,0)
Hex (FFFF00)
RGB
(255,255,51)
Hex (FFFF33)
RGB
(255,255,102)
Hex (FFFF66)
RGB
(255,255,153)
Hex (FFFF99)
RGB
(255,255,204)
Hex (FFFFCC)
RGB
(255,255,255)
Hex (FFFFFF)












Have you ever worked with color in Photoshop or used the additive color method?
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