HSV color space

The Hue Saturation Value (or HSV) model defines a color space in terms of three constituent components; hue, saturation, and value. HSV is used in color progressions.

  • Hue, the color type (such as red, blue, or yellow);
    • Measured in values of 0-360 by the central tendency of its wavelength
  • Saturation, the 'intensity' of the color (or how much greyness is present),
    • Measured in values of 0-100% by the amplitude of the wavelength
  • Value, the brightness of the color.
    • Measured in values of 0-100% by the spread of the wavelength

HSV is a non-linear transformation of the RGB color space.

HSV color space as a color wheel

The HSV color wheel, and variations of it, are commonly used in graphics applications to select colors in the HSV color space. The outer circle represents the Hue, and the inner triangle represents the Saturation on the vertical axis, and Value on the horizontal axis. In this way, a color can be chosen by first picking the Hue, on the outer circle, then selecting the desired Saturation and Value from the inner triangle.

HSV color space as a conical object.

Another visualization method of the HSV model is the cone. In this representation, the Hue is depicted as a circular formation of the color wheel. The Saturation is represented by the distance from the center of a circular cross-section of the cone, and the Value is the distance from the pointed end of the cone. Some representations use a hexagonal cone, or hexcone, instead of a circular cone.

Artists sometimes prefer to use the HSV color model over alternative models such as RGB or CMYK, because of its similarities to the way humans tend to perceive color. RGB and CMYK are additive and subtractive models, respectively, defining color in terms of the wavelengths of light, whereas HSV encapsulates information about a color in terms that are more familiar to humans: What color is it? How intense is it? How light or dark is it? The HLS color space is somewhat similar to HSV in this respect.

The HSV model was created in 1978 by Alvy Ray Smith.

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