Color

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Color in Photoshop has become quite a large issue in recent versions of the program. While the software developers have given users more control, they've also created more room for confusion in the minds of many users. By and large, however, there are two key color issues for web designers to deal with in Photoshop (note that both of these issues are addressed in the tips throughout the rest of this chapter):

Color profiles Color swatches/palettes

The reason these two issues are particularly important for web designers is that the end result of web graphics is open to interpretation by the viewer's monitor and screen settings. In fact, because no two computer monitors display web graphics exactly the same, much of a web designer's work in Photoshop will center around trying to compensate for this variation in color.

How Computer Monitors Display Color

Computer monitors display color in RGB mode, where R = Red, G = Green, and B = Blue. Each letter (R, G, and B) is represented by a value between 0 and 255, with 0 as the darkest and 255 as the lightest in the spectrum. In RGB, white and black have the following values:

The RGB color mode is decimal, or based on the number 10. This means we have 10 units (0-9) to use before we have to repeat a unit (as with the number 10, which uses the 0 and 1). You can see the RGB values for colors in Photoshop by looking at either the Color palette, shown here

or the Info palette, as shown in the following illustration:

:

IS

J lnfo\_

* B :

2fi

+ * : r' Y :

112 103

. w f, H .

How Web Pages Identify Color

Although web pages are typically displayed on RGB computer monitors, HTML doesn't understand the RGB color values.

The hexadecimal system (hex) uses the same concepts as the decimal system, except it's based on 16 units (see Table 1-1). Because HTML cannot handle decimal color values, the hexadecimal system is used to specify color values. Instead of making up new characters to represent the remaining units after 9, the hexadecimal system uses the first six letters of the English alphabet (A-F).

Decimal

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

Hex

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

A

B

C

D

E

F

Table 1-1 A Comparison of Decimal and Hexadecimal

Table 1-1 A Comparison of Decimal and Hexadecimal

Whenever you want to use a color in an HTML page, you typically translate that color from decimal (RGB) to hexadecimal. Each red, green, or blue value translates into a two-digit hexadecimal value. You then combine all three of those two-unit hexadecimal values into a single string, preceded by a hash mark, as in: #ffcc00.

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