Describing Color

Color can be described in terms of components. The components most often used by imaging professionals are hue, chroma, and lightness. A hue is what is normally thought of as a color. A color's hue fixes its place in the visible spectrum of light. The chroma of a color is how "pure" or "strong" a color is. Neutral gray is said to have zero saturation. The lightness of a color refers to the intensity of light that is reflected or transmitted by an image.

The terms tint, tone, and shade are also well-used in color imaging literature. A tint of a color is obtained by mixing its hue with white. A tone of a color is created by mixing a hue with gray. A shade of a color is made by adding black to its hue.