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Color Strings

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This page describes common identifiers and names for colors, as used in the HTML 3D Library's toGLColor method.

Contents

What Colors Can I Use?

You can use values like the following.

What Do Some Colors Look Like?

Here is a list of useful colors sorted by hue or color tone. This particular list was historically called the "Web safe" colors, which were chosen "specifically because they matched the palettes selected by various browser applications" for 256-color displays (according to Wikipedia), but this list is still useful because it's short yet gives you a variety of appropriate colors for most purposes.

A list of the "Web-safe colors". Each entry consists of a color swatch and the corresponding HTML name.

The following list shows the colors defined in the CSS3 Color Module section 4, as well as the newly-added name rebeccapurple. In addition, the names darkgrey, darkslategrey, dimgrey, grey, lightgrey, lightslategrey, and slategrey can be used instead of darkgray, darkslategray, dimgray, gray, lightgray, lightslategray, and slategray.

A list of named colors. Each entry consists of a color swatch and the corresponding name.

What Is the Syntax for HTML Colors?

The notation used to name the colors in the preceding section is used in HTML to define colors. It’s also known as “hex colors”.

Take #ff80cc as an example. The color defined is a carnation pink. There are four parts to this example:

The notation may also include an additional base-16 number, as in this example: #ac80ccff. Here, the last ff shows the color's alpha component (see "What Is an Alpha Component?", below).

It looks complicated at first, but the section "How Do I Make HTML Colors?" will show a way to easily make your own colors in this notation.

Shortened Notation

How Do I Make HTML Colors?

Look at the table below that shows some of the values possible for the red, green, and blue components of some colors.

Red 00 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 A0 B0 C0 D0 E0 F0 FF
Green 00 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 A0 B0 C0 D0 E0 F0 FF
Blue 00 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 A0 B0 C0 D0 E0 F0 FF

Now, to make a custom color, you choose one value from the red row, one value from the green row, and one value from the blue row. Each value shows the intensity of the light that the color reflects. For example, a red value of 00 means that no red light is reflected, and a red value of FF means that red light is fully reflected.

If you choose the same value in all three rows, the result is black (if you choose 00), white (if you choose FF) or a shade of gray. This shows that red, green, and blue light are equally reflected.

After you choose the three values, combine them by writing the #, then the red value, then the green value, then the blue value. For example, if you choose FF for red, A0 for green, and 00 for blue, write the resulting color (orange) like this: #FFA000.

What Are Some Common HTML Colors?

Now, what follows is a list of common colors that are possible by choosing a value in each row. See also the list of colors sorted by hue.

Name Red Green Blue Color
Red FF 00 00 #FF0000
Orange FF A0 00 #FFA000
Yellow FF 80 00 #FF8000
Bright Green 00 FF 00 #00FF00
Dark Green 00 80 00 #008000
Sky Blue 00 FF FF #00FFFF
Blue 00 00 FF #0000FF
Purple C0 00 FF #CC00FF
Hot Pink FF 00 FF #FF00FF
Black 00 00 00 #000000
White FF FF FF #FFFFFF
Gray 80 80 80 #808080

How Do I Darken an HTML Color?

To darken a color (make a shade of it), use the table shown in “How Do I Make HTML Colors?”, above, and move each component (red, green, and blue) the same number of steps to the left. If you can’t move a component that far to the left, that component becomes 00.

For example, to make a darker sky blue, start with 00, FF, and FF for red, green, and blue. When we move these components ten steps to the left, we get 00, 60, and 60. The final color becomes #006060.

How Do I Lighten a HTML Color?

Lightening a color (making a tint of it) is almost the same as darkening a color, except we move the same number of steps to the right rather than the left. If you can’t move a component that far to the right, that component becomes FF.

For example, to make a lighter red, start with FF, 00, and 00 for red, green, and blue. When we move these components ten steps to the right, we get FF, A0, and A0. The final color becomes #FFA0A0.

How Do I Desaturate an HTML Color?

To make a desaturated (washed-out) version (or tone) of a color, move the color components closer to each other, in about the same proportion. (If they’re exactly the same, the result is a shade of gray.)

For example, to make a washed-out red, start with FF, 00, and 00 for red, green, and blue. When we move these components closer to each other, we get C0, 40, and 40. The final color becomes #C04040.

What Is an RGB Color?

An RGB color contains the same information as an HTML color, except that each value is shown in the familiar base-10 format. For example, the value rgb(192,64,0) is the same as the HTML color value #C04000.

The components of the RGB color (red, green, and blue, in that order) can range from 0 to 255, or from 0% to 100%, but mixing ranges is not allowed. For example, rgb(192,64,0) and rgb(80%,50%,0%) are allowed, but not rgb(192,50%,0%).

The steps for darkening, lightening, and desaturating RGB colors are pretty much the same as with HTML colors.

An alternate syntax for RGB colors supports the alpha component (see "What Is an Alpha Component?", below): in the example rgba(192,64,0,0.5), the 0.5 is the alpha component. This component can be used with either range for RGB colors, either 0-255 or percentages. (Note that the example starts with rgba, not just rgb.)

What Is an HSL Color?

An HSL color is a color represented in the Hue-Saturation-Lightness color space. Here’s what each component means in detail.

HSL Example

The value hsl(240,100%,50%) has a hue of 240 (blue), a saturation of 100% (fully saturated), and a lightness of 50% (neither black or white). It represents a vivid blue. If we lower lightness to 20%, we get a dark blue. If we also change the hue to 0, we get a dark red.

An alternate syntax for HSL colors supports the alpha component (see "What Is an Alpha Component?", below): in the example hsla(240,100%,50%,80%), the 80% is the alpha component.

What Is an Alpha Component?

An alpha component shows how much the color is transparent (see-through) or opaque. The alpha component can range from 00/0.0, or "fully transparent" (completely invisible), to FF/1.0, or "fully opaque" (letting nothing through it). If a color notation doesn't use an alpha component, the color is fully opaque.

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