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The RGB color model utilizes the additive model in which red, green, and blue light are combined in various ways to create other colors. The very idea for the model itself and the abbreviation "RGB" come from the three primary colors (red, green, and blue) in additive light models.

One common application of the RGB color model is the display of colors on a cathode ray tube or liquid crystal display such as a television picture tube or a computer's monitor. Each pixel on the screen can be represented in the computer's memory as independent values for red, green and blue. These values are converted into intensities and sent to the cathode ray tube or LCD display. By using the appropriate combination of red, green and blue light intensities, the screen can reproduce many of the colors between its black level and white point. Typical display hardware used for computer monitors uses a total of 24 bits of information for each pixel (commonly known as bits per pixel or bpp). This corresponds to 8 bits each for red, green, and blue, giving a range of 256 possible values, or intensities, for each color. With this system, approximately 16.7 million discrete colors can be reproduced.

Colors used in web design are commonly specified using RGB; see web colors for an explanation of how colors are used in HTML and related languages. Initially, the limited color depth of most monitors led to a limited color palette of 216 RGB colors - defined by the Netscape Color Cube. However, with the predominance of 24-bit displays, the use of the full 16.7 million colors of the HTML RGB color code no longer poses problems for most viewers.


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The program "colormix" allows to set the three basic colors - red, green, and blue - to mix any color. In addition the HTML color code can be copied from a text field.

Last Update: 2005-Jan-06