How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
A 'color space' describes two things:
There are a number of common color spaces used, including:
Color spaces are often shown on a two-dimensional graph, where the x and y axes are calculated from the colors used. As the CIE space represents all visible colors, more limited color spaces are often shown superimposed on these. For example:
A digital camera has the option of using either sRGB or Adobe RGB color spaces. A professional user chooses Adobe as it registers more colors.
A printing professional uses Pantone, which is the standard for the industry.
It can be important to note that many devices do not show all available colors. This is typically due to the digital limitations, such as only using 8 bits for each of Red, Green and Blue. Indeed, while the eye is analog and can hence detect an infinite number of colors, any digital system is limited by the number of bits used. Having said this, while the eye can detect many colors, there comes a point where we are unable to consciously differentiate between two very similar colors.
The choice of color space will depend on a number of factors, including:
When doing color work, decide on the color space you need depending on the above factors. The two most important ones of these are typically 'numbers of colors' and 'compatibility'. While the former is desirable, the latter tends to be a practical constraint. A typical approach photographers use is to start by taking as many colors as possible (eg. by selecting 'Adobe' in the camera menus) and then converting down to the format that customers and collaborators can handle (such as sRGB). It is particularly worth remembering that computer displays usually only display 8-bit sRGB, even though editing software and printers can handle far more colours.