# Saturation (color theory)

Missing image
Saturationdemo.png
Scale of saturation (0% at bottom).

In color theory, saturation refers to the intensity of a specific hue. It is based on the color's purity; a highly saturated hue has a vivid, intense color, while a less saturated hue appears more muted and grey. With no saturation at all, the hue becomes a shade of grey. Saturation is one of three coordinates in the HSV color space.

The saturation of a color is determined by a combination of light intensity and how much it is distributed across the spectrum of different wavelengths. The purest colour is achieved by using just one wavelength at a high intensity such as in laser light. If the intensity drops the saturation also drops. To desaturate a color in a subtractive system (such as watercolor), you can add white, black, gray, or the hue's complement. In an RGB color space, saturation can be thought of as the standard deviation σ of the color coordinates R(red), G(green), and B(blue). Letting μ represent the brightness, then

[itex] \sigma = \sqrt{ (R - \mu)^2 + (G - \mu)^2 + (B - \mu)^2 \over 3} [itex]

An example of saturation in layman's terms in the RGB color model is that you will have maximum saturation if you have 100% brightness in (for instance) the red channel while having 0% brightness in the other channels. And you would have no saturation if all the color channels are equal. Thus, saturation is the difference between the values of the channels.

• Art and Cultures
• Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
• Space and Astronomy