Sample Colors for Web Pages
! Preliminary ! More info on colors to be added.
< Go to the Table-of-256-Colors, below. >
Back in the early 1990's, video monitors for home computers were limited to displaying about 256 colors --- and about 5 years before that, a 'color depth' of about 8 colors --- and before that two colors (white and black, or, typically, green and black).
The colors for each pixel on the screen were made up of 3 dots (phosphorescent) of 3 different colors: red, green, and blue. These dots (or rectangles) were so close together than they appeared to be one color --- an average (by your eyes) of the 3 basic colors and their intensities.
In the late 1990's, video monitors became commonly available that supported 256 intensities of each of the 3 colors --- so that 256 x 256 x 256 = 16,777,216 colors were possible.
When there was a limit of only 256 colors displayable in each 'pixel' and a web page called for a color (for example, a background color for a page) that was not among those 256, algorithms were employed to try to re-create an appearance of the chosen color. One approach would be to choose one of the 256 colors that was 'closest' to the specified color, in some sense. But that often resulted in 'bands' of color, especially in photographic images. So, in many cases, the algorithm employed would do dithering, which emulated a specified color by 'sprinkling' colors from among the 256 available for the video device. The result was typically pretty ugly when applied to solid colors not among the 256 available. So web page developers were often encouraged to choose colors from among a standard 256 --- the so-called 'web safe' colors.
Netscape introduced a fixed color palette of 216 colors (6 intensities of red x 6 intensities of green x 6 intensities of blue) that were to be used for video monitors with a graphics mode with only 256 colors. Other colors would be 'dithered' to that color palette. If you did not want the Netscape web browser to dither the solid color areas on a page you would stick to these colors.
Below is a tabular representation of that 'web safe' palette. The hex code FF (= 255 decimal) represented the maximum intensity of any of the 3 colors, and 00 represents the minimum intensity. Intermediates were 33 (=51), 66 (=102), 99 (=153), and CC (=204) --- for a total of 6 intensities, in the table, for each color.
Although you are no longer 'forced' to be limited to a 216 or 256 color palette (due to the advance to 16-million 'true color' monitors, and beyond), when you are casting about to choose a color, it is helpful to consider choosing from about 256 colors, rather than from a palette of 16-million or more.
In particular, this table could be useful when considering color choices for
'bgcolor' parameters in web pages --- say, for web page backgrounds or for table
backgrounds or for table-row backgrounds or for table-cell backgrounds.
There are 6 'blocks' in this table, with 6 rows and 6 columns in each block --- for a total of 6 x 6 x 6 = 216 colors.
Note that if you put the blocks from back to front to make slices of a cube, on the four corners of the back face of the cube are the four colors
and on the four corners of the front face of the cube are the four colors
So the 3 basic colors, the 3 complementary colors, and black and white are on the 8 corners of the color cube.
Some links to alternative ways of presenting about 256 colors may be presented here someday.
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Page created 2010 Mar 13. Changed 2011 Jun 06.