I am working on a software project where I need to display only the shades of the primary colors. Using RGB, how would the shades of any color be defined? For example, with higher values of green (255), red and blue has to have values with difference of more than 100(r,b can't be bigger than 155)? (If that made sense).

What is the boundary where the lightest green changes to something else?

  • 2
    That boundary for your eyes is quite possibly different than my eyes :-)
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 15, 2016 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


Your question makes sense but there's no answer. These are all arbitrary names created by man to help classify spectrums. Green doesn't magically end at point X and start point Y. There's simply put too many factors and human interpretation.

For example, a BBC Documentary came out a while back discussing the Himba Tribe which has far more names for colors than most languages and how it affects their ability to identify colors. I think the BBC has made attempts to block it on YouTube for copyright but you might be able to find it on there. You can certainly find a lot of subsequent articles that regurgitated the report such as NYT: It's Not Easy Seeing Green

The Himba tribe from northern Namibia, for instance, does not classify green and blue separately, the way Westerners do, but it does differentiate among various shades of what we call green. And when tested, members of the tribe, who are likely to have trouble with blue-green distinctions that most Westerners make easily, readily distinguish among greens that tend to look the same to Western eyes.

So you're question can't really have a finite answer.

  • 7
    Ill just leave this here since i see no reason to answer as you have answered it quite well. But might be of interest to read the xkcd color survey as it really takes this point to the extreme, and its fun to read.
    – joojaa
    Aug 15, 2016 at 17:44

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