Adobe Photoshop has two ways of basing its colors. These are color models and color modes. In this discussion, we are talking about the different color models in Photoshop.

Color models

Let’s first understand what the color model is. It is a method of defining colors. It is how a color appears on your screen i.e., on a digital image and on a paper.

The different types of color models are:

  • RGB model
  • CMYK model
  • HSB model
  • Lab model

RGB Model

First of all, let’s discuss the RGB color model. It is a representation of primary colors i.e., red, green, and blue. Using a combination of these primary colors you can obtain any available color from the colors spectrum. It assigns values between 0 to 255. It means that if you are using the color red, the values of green and blue is 0, and the color red has a value of 255. The RGB model represents images in the electronic devices such as televisions, laptops, computer monitors or screens and, mobile devices.

Note: Value is the relative strength of color.

CMYK Model

Another noteworthy color model in Photoshop is the CMYK color model. It is a combination of four colors of inks while printing i.e. cyan, magenta, yellow and key. The other word for key is black. You can use this model for commercial printings. Printers such as inkjets and high-resolution color laser printers and printing presses use CMYK mode for printing. Nowadays, almost all the printing of newspapers, magazines etc., are done using this color model.

color models in photoshop

HSB Model

Furthermore, another color model is the HSB. “H” means hue, where S is saturation and B stands for brightness. “Hue” is the basic color of the color wheel. When expressing in degrees it ranges from 0° to 360º corresponding to the position or location on the color wheel.

“S” or saturation is expressed in percentage of color minus the gray in it. You can measure it on a scale from 0% to 100%. So, Saturation is, said to be the purest, meaning 100% when gray is 0%. These colors are at the edge of the color wheel. Therefore, as you go towards the center of the wheel, saturation decreases.

“B” meaning brightness is the relative tone or lightness or darkness of a color. Photoshop users generally measure it in a percentage ranging from 0%, which is black, to 100%, white.

Lab Model

And finally, let’s talk about the Lab color model. Lab color mode is the combination of three components. Where “L” is lightness, while “a” and “b” are the two components. All the three components have their own specific ranges. The Lightness component or L ranges from 0 to 100. The “a” component, which is green to red and “b” component, blue to yellow range, ranges between +127 and -128.

The Lab color model is a device-independent model, which means, that the range of colors in this model is, not restricted to the range, that can be printed or displayed on a particular device. This is the least relevant color model in Photoshop. Despite being a device-independent color model, it is not used commonly.

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