Stands for "Hue, Saturation, Brightness."

HSB is a color model that defines a color using three numeric values. It specifies a point on the color wheel and modifies the saturation and brightness to define the final color. Many graphic design programs allow users to switch between RGB and HSB color pickers based on their needs. HSB is also known as HSV, or "Hue, Saturation, Value."

The HSB color model uses three attributes to specify a color:

  • Hue represents the angular position on a color wheel as a number between 0º and 359º. Red is at the top of the wheel at 0º, followed by yellow at 60º, green at 120º, cyan at 180º, blue at 240º, and magenta at 300º.
  • Saturation represents how much of that hue is present in the final color as a percentage from 0 to 100%. A saturation of 100% results in the most intense color. A saturation of 0% will result in white, black, or a shade of grey, depending on the Brightness attribute.
  • Brightness (or Value) represents the brightness of the color as a percentage from 0 to 100%. A brightness of 0% is black, while a brightness of 100% produces a pure color (or white, if the Saturation is 0%).

The HSB color model can produce the same range of colors as the RGB model, just representing them with different formatting. For example, a light green color using the RGB values R:141 G:195 B:126 (or the hexadecimal value of #8DC37E) is the same as one using the HSB values of a hue of 107º, a saturation of 35%, and a brightness of 76%. A digital image still stores that color using the RGB values.

Graphic designers often use HSB color sliders because they are more intuitive when making slight color adjustments. For example, to adjust the saturation of a color, a designer can switch to an HSB color picker and adjust the saturation slider once instead of adjusting three separate RGB sliders. Most graphic design and image editing programs show both RGB and HSB values together in their color pickers, allowing a designer to make adjustments using whichever color model works best for the task.

NOTE: The HSB color model is similar to the HSL model, which uses the same calculation for hue but different calculations for saturation and lightness.

Updated December 28, 2022 by Brian P.

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