COLOR: not as simple as one would think.

The human eye is capable of seeing such a wide variation of color that we sometimes unerestimate what comes into hand when we have to professionally categorize the value of color. In this industry, color plays an essential part of the process. Whether you are created art that is meant to be printed, or you work solely on the computer, or you are developing web pages; color will always play a big role in your work.

As a multimedia artist, there are a few crucial things that you should know about colors. In this medium, we call Web Safe Colors the standard amount of 216 variations of colors that would quite literally be “safe” in the internet. To explain througholy, it is the technical visibility of the colors in a computer. Although there is a known maximun color of 256 that are used regularly in web, these 216 “Web Safe” ones are the ones that will surely display exactly the same on all monitors.

Now, passing from screens to tangible coloring, there is another term that you should know: Spot Colors. These colors are seen exclusively in offset printing, being that they are colors that are produced by an ink printer that uses a single run. The main purpose for the use of this color category is to strive to maintain the accuracy of the colors throughout the whole printing process.

In the world of colors, it is indispensable to understand the following four models

PMS (Pantone Matching System)

This system is used exclusively for offset printing. It is (technically) the least complicated model our of the four, being that it is used mostly for two color printing works, and that its main purpose is to provide standardized color inks.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)

This color model is used also for offset printing, in addition to digital printing. The way it works is by a subtractive color system, which works by partially or completely masking different colors on lighter backgrounds so as to achieve the desired tones.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue)

Most people outside and inside of the multimedia world are well informed on RGB. This approach is popular especially because its the natural color language of known software such as Photoshop, and other Adobe applications. Essentially, this system works entirely to be used on a computer display.

HEX (Hexadecimal Color)

RGB color system is basically Hex’s parents. This color mode is used to do web developing, and it works by mixing the value colors of RGB using a six-digit combination of numbers and letters. In other words, it separates the three values and specifies the levels on the component of the colors in order to form solid ones in the web.

All in all, these four modes of “coloring” are very simple to understand, specially when they are actually applied into real work. On top of these color systems, there is one last thing that is important (and some might argue obvious) to understand about color types. There are two different types: print and onscreen. Once you know that, the rest will come to you effortlessly as you adjust your projects into your final results.

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