Each color has its own appearance based on three key attributes – hue, chroma (saturation), and value (lightness). When you’re describing a color, it’s important to use all three of these attributes to accurately identify the color and distinguish it from others.
What is hue?
Hue is defined as how most of us perceive and name a color – using the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, green, blue, etc.). Reference the color wheel, below, to see how colors shift from one hue to the next.
What is chroma?
Chroma, also known as saturation, describes the vividness or dullness of color. Take a look at the photo below – the orange on the right is vivid, while the carrot on the left appears to be more dull. Notice on the color wheel above that each color starts from gray (dull) in the center and becomes more saturated (vivid) toward the outside of the wheel.
What is the value of color?
Value is the degree of a color’s lightness and describes the luminous intensity of a color. Notice in the photo above that the orange appears to be lighter in color. The color tree, below, describes this concept – the vertical axis illustrates this lightness characteristic.
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