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The CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram. The outer curved boundary is the spectral (or monochromatic) locus, with wavelengths shown in nanometers. Note that the colors depicted depend on the color space of the device on which you are viewing the image, and no device has a gamut large enough to present an accurate representation of the chromaticity at every position.

Chromaticity is an objective specification of the quality of a color irrespective of its luminance, that is, as determined by its colorfulness (or saturation, chroma, intensity, or excitation purity) and hue.[1][2]

In color science, the white point of an illuminant or of a display is a neutral reference characterized by a chromaticity; for example, the white point of an sRGB display is an x,y chromaticity of [0.3127,0.3290]. All other chromaticities may be defined in relation to this reference using polar coordinates. The hue is the angular component, and the purity is the radial component, normalized by the maximum radius for that hue.

Chromaticity in color science

Purity is roughly equivalent to the term "saturation" in the HSV color model. The property "hue" is as used in general color theory and in specific color models such as HSV or HSL, though it is more perceptually uniform in color models such as Munsell, CIE L*a*b* or CIECAM02.

Some color spaces separate the three dimensions of color into one luminance dimension and a pair of chromaticity dimensions. For example, the chromaticity coordinates are a and b in Lab color space, u and v in Luv color space, x and y in xyY space, etc. These pairs define chromaticity vectors in a rectangular 2-space, unlike the polar coordinates of hue angle and saturation that are used in HSV color space.

On the other hand, some color spaces such as RGB and XYZ do not separate out chromaticity; chromaticity coordinates such as r and g or x and y can be calculated by an operation that normalizes out intensity.

The xyY space is a cross between the CIE XYZ color space and its normalized chromaticity coordinates xyz, such that the luminance Y is preserved and augmented with just the required two chromaticity dimensions.[3]

See also


  1. Emil Wolf (1961). Progress in Optics, North Holland Pub. Co.
  2. Leslie D. Stroebel, Richard D. Zakia (1993). The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Focal Press.
  3. Charles A. Poynton (2003). Digital Video and HDTV: Algorithms and Interfaces, Morgan Kaufmann.

External links

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