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RGB in graphics is both a way of specifying color and a way of viewing color. Graphics algorithms manipulate RGB colors, and the images produced by graphics algorithms are encoded as RGB pixels and displayed on devices that render these pixels by emitting RGB light. Colored images are also used to specify color in graphics. Most computer graphics texts and tutorials provide a description of human color vision and measurement as defined by the CIE tristimulus values, XYZ. Often missing, however, is an in-depth discussion of the relationship between the different applications of RGB and XYZ, and any discussion of color models beyond trichromacy. The goal of this tutorial is to provide a complete, concise analysis of RGB color specification and its relationship to perceptual and physical specifications of color, and to introduce some models for color perception beyond tristimulus theory.
Date of Publication: July-Aug. 2005