Color solid

Color solid
Side-by-side comparison of nine different color solids for the HSL, HSV and RGB color models.

A color solid is the three-dimensional representation of a color model, an analog of the two-dimensional color wheel. The added spatial dimension allows a color solid to depict an added dimension of color variation. Whereas a two-dimensional color wheel typically depicts the variables of hue (red, green, blue, etc.) and brightness (gradations of light and dark), a color solid adds the variable of saturation, allowing the sphere to depict all conceivable colors in an organized three-dimensional structure.



Philipp Otto Runge’s Farbenkugel (color sphere), 1810, showing the surface of the sphere (top two images), and horizontal and vertical cross sections (bottom two images).
Color sphere of Albert Henry Munsell, 1900.
Color sphere modeled in salt dough by Jesse Hensel, 2011.
Section of Hensel's sphere revealing a color spectrum.

Different color theorists have each designed unique color solids. Many are in the shape of a sphere, whereas others are warped three-dimensional ellipsoid figures—these variations being designed to express some aspect of the relationship of the colors more clearly. The color spheres conceived by Phillip Otto Runge and Johannes Itten are typical examples and prototypes for many other color solid schematics.[1] The models of Runge and Itten are basically identical, and form the basis for the description below.

Pure, saturated hues of equal brightness are located around the equator at the periphery of the color sphere. As in the color wheel, contrasting (or complementary) hues are located opposite each other. Moving toward the center of the color sphere on the equatorial plane, colors become less and less saturated, until all colors meet at the central axis as a neutral gray. Moving vertically in the color sphere, colors become lighter (toward the top) and darker (toward the bottom.) At the upper pole, all hues meet in white; at the bottom pole, all hues meet in black.

The vertical axis of the color sphere, then, is gray all along its length, varying from black at the bottom to white at the top. All pure (saturated) hues are located on the surface of the sphere, varying from light to dark down the color sphere. All impure (unsaturated hues, created by mixing contrasting colors) comprise the sphere's interior, likewise varying in brightness from top to bottom.


Artists and art critics find the color solid to be a useful means of organizing the three variables of color—hue, lightness, and saturation, as modelled in the HSL color model—in a single schematic, using it as an aid in the composition and analysis of visual art.

The Munsell color solid is useful in developing DirectX personal-computer graphics.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Johannes Itten, "The Art of Color", 1961. Trans. Ernst Van Haagen. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1966. ISBN 0-442-24038-4.
  2. ^ CodeProject: Use Direct3D 8 To Fly Through the Munsell Color Solid. Free source code and programming help

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • color solid — noun or color space : three dimensional space each point of which represents a color …   Useful english dictionary

  • color solid — A schematic arrangement of color in space, the attributes of hue, saturation, and brightness being represented by cylindrical coordinates. * * * a three dimensional geometrical body, devised to show the relation of all hues and brightnesses,… …   Medical dictionary

  • Three-color solid — Фоновый [заливной] участок изображения, напечатанный тремя красками …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

  • Color Rendering Capacity — How many colors on earth is a given light source capable of vividly rendering? Under what type of light source can a scene be made the most colorful? Such questions highlight a particular aspect of the color rendering quality of light sources,[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Color wheel — For the circular mechanical device for tinting a light beam (e.g., in a DLP video projector), see color wheel (optics). Boutet s 7 color and 12 color color circles from 1708 …   Wikipedia

  • Color model — A color model is an abstract mathematical model describing the way colors can be represented as tuples of numbers, typically as three or four values or color components. When this model is associated with a precise description of how the… …   Wikipedia

  • color dimension — noun : one in any set of three dimensions used for describing or measuring color compare color solid …   Useful english dictionary

  • color space — noun see color solid …   Useful english dictionary

  • Solid ink — is a technology used in computer printers and multifunction devices originally created by Tektronix in 1986. After Xerox acquired the Tektronix Color Printing and Imaging Division in 2000, the solid ink technology became part of the Xerox line of …   Wikipedia

  • Solid oxygen — is also used colloquially to refer to oxidizers such as perchlorates, chlorates, or iodine pentoxide from which oxygen can be produced. Solid oxygen forms at normal atmospheric pressure at a temperature below 54.36 K (−218.79 °C, −361.82 °F).… …   Wikipedia