RGB coding

RGB coding

The RGB coding (Red, Geen, Blue), developed in 1931 by the International Lighting Commission (Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage, CIE) consists in representing the color space with three monochromatic rays, with the following colors:

  • Red (with a wavelength of 700.0 nm),
  • Green (with a wavelength of 546.1 nm),
  • Blue (with a wavelength of 435.8 nm).

This color space corresponds to the way in which the colors are usually coded on a computer, or more precisely to the way in which the computer screen cathode tubes represent the colors.

Thus, the RGB model proposes each color component to be coded on one byte, which corresponds to 256 intensities of red (28), 256 intensities of green and 256 intensities of blue, thus, there are 16777216 theoretical possibilities of different colors, that is, many more than the human eye can distinguish (approximately 2 million). However, this value is only theoretical because it strongly depends on the display device being used.

Since RGB coding is based on three components with the same proposed value range, it is usually graphically represented by a cube of which each axis corresponds to a primary color:

Graphical representation of RGB coding

Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jean-François Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.


This document, titled « RGB coding », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (ccm.net).