Colour images on computer monitors are generated by emitting light, and hence can be generated
from a combination of the three colours our eyes respond to. In a printed image, however, the
colour you see is a result of the pigment on the printout absorbing proportions of these colours.
The CMY and CMYK colour models provide a means to convert colours expressed as proportions of
emitted light in R,G,B to the amount of pigment you need to print onto a page to obtain the
Last Updated: 15 April 2004
Normally in computers colours are described in terms of their Red, Green and Blue components.
Whilst you can specify all displayable colours this way, it leaves something to be desired when
it comes to picking a colour. For example, most people find it very difficult to determine
what RGB values you would use to create a Pink or Brown colour (try it!). The HLS model
provides a more intuitive method and enables you to create lighter/darker or more intense/less
intense versions of colours very easily.
Last Updated: 25 August 1999