Easily create wonderful color palettes

To help choose your color palettes, use coolors.co or alternatively Adobe’s color picker.

Color Models

There are three color models commonly used by digital artists:

Note that all these color models are in the RGB color space.

RGB Color Model

RGB stands for Red, Blue, Green. An example of an RGB value is: 16,139,216. Every number group represents one color channel, 139 being the blue channel. Every color channel can range from 0-255. The amount of RGB colors are capped at 16777216.

When to use Use is for quick color picking, colors that won’t be final. Using RGB color model should be avoided, because it’s very hard to select harmonious colors

HSV & HSL Color Model

HSV stands for Hue, Saturation, Value whereas HSL stands for Hue, Saturation, Lightness. The difference being that a color with maximum tint (lightness) is white with HSL and the actual color in HSV.

HSL Example:

When to use For 2D art and hand painted textures, this is pretty much always the best choice, because of being able to easily select different tints/shades of a color. But it’s also good for any other color picking. The choice between HSV vs. HSL is a thing of preference, though HSV is probably the more popular one.

Hex Color Model

A hex color is like RGB. The syntax is #RRGGBB, so green would be #00FF00. 00 means none of that channel and FF means 255 of that channel (0-9, A-F). It’s also possible to store alpha in hex with the following syntax #RRGGBBAA, so green with alpha would be #00FF0012. The “A” can only range from 0-100.

When to use HEX is almost only used for copying a color per values from A to B

Color Theory Glossary

KeywordWhat is itWhat does it affectNotes
TintMixture of a color with WHITELightens the color & increases the color’s brightness
ShadeMixture of a color with BLACKDarkens the color & decreases the color’s brightness
ToneMixture of a color with GRAY
HuePure Colors(Primary Colors, Secondary Colors, …). Ranges from 0° to 359° on the color wheelChanging the Tint, Shade or Tone of a color doesn’t change the hue
ValueTint(lightness) and Shade(darkness) of a color
Chroma / Chromatic IntensityA color where a hue predominates, blue, green, while white gray and black are achromatic because no hue predominates.
Primary Color3 in total. Source of all colors (Red, Blue and Yellow)
Secondary Color3 in total. Made of equal amount of 2 primary colors. Located between primary colors (Red + Yellow = Orange; Red + Blue = Violet/Purple; Blue + Yellow = Green)
Tertiary ColorMade by mixing a primary color with one secondary color
Warm ColorsEnergy, Joy, passion, enthusiasm
Cold ColorsCalmness, peace, professional
Active Colors
Passive Colors
Additive Colors
Subtractive Colors
Dominant Color
RecessiveFades into the background

Color Synergy

Colors which, when combined or mixed, cancel each other out or boost a one of the colors. One of the things it’s used for is to make things stand out.

Official Synergy Types

A great place to create these synergies and understand how they work is Adobe’s color picker.


  • Dark Purple - Yellow, Lime Green - Light Purple

Split complementary colors

Analogous colors

Triadic colors

Tetradic or double complementary colors

Monotone chromatic

  • Uses a single hue and all its tints, tones and shades
  • Risk of monotony

Monotone achromatic

  • Only neutral colors ranging from black to white
  • Is monotone

Common Colors RGB & HEX

50%/Neutral Gray127.5,127.5,127.5#7F7F7F

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  • Changing the Tint, Shade or Tone of a color changes the Chroma / Colorfulness


  • Changing the tint also changes the Saturation


  • Changes the Saturation


  • Or produced by both Tinting and Shading (Because white + black is gray)

terms to cover

colorfulness, saturation, purity, intensity, luminance


Saturation is changed by tint, shade and tone. Saturation is the purity / intensity / brilliance of a color. The higher the saturation of a color, the more vivid and intense it is. The lower a color’s saturation, the closer it’s to pure gray on the grayscale. Also chroma

Brilliance & Brightness

Brilliance judged relative to the maximum brightness possible, whereas brightness is relative to the brightness of a similarly illuminated white object.

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