Check your software color picker for the HSV (or HSB) color space

Color Models
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Anyone with a monitor has probably heard of the RGB color space. If you deal with commercial printers, you know about CMYK, and you may have noticed HSV in the color picker of your graphics software. HSV is so named for three values—Hue, Saturation and Value. This color space describes colors (hue or tint) in terms of their shade (saturation or amount of gray) and their brightness value.

The HSV color wheel is depicted as a cone or cylinder.

Some color pickers use the acronym HSB, which substitutes the term "Brightness" for value, but HSV and HSB are the same color model. Photoshop uses HSB.

  • Hue is expressed as a number from 0 to 360 degrees representing hues of red (which start at 0), yellow (starting at 60), green (starting at 120), cyan (starting at 180), blue (starting at 240) and magenta (starting at 300).
  • Saturation is the amount of gray from zero percent to 100 percent in the color.
  • Value (or brightness) works in conjunction with saturation and describes the brightness or intensity of the color from zero percent to 100 percent.

How It Is Used

 The HSV color space is used by people when they select colors for paint or ink because HSV better represents how people relate to colors than does the RGB color space. The HSV color wheel is also used to generate high-quality graphics. Although less well known that its RGB and CMYK cousins, it is available in many high-end image editing software programs.

Selecting an HSV color begins with picking one of the available hues, which is how most humans relate to color, and then adjusting the shade and brightness value.

Advantage of HSV Color Space

Unlike RGB and CMYK, which are defined in relation to primary colors, HSV is defined in a way that is similar to how humans perceive color.