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# How many different colours are there in the world?

Question #55113. Asked by TheuntouchablE. (Feb 13 05 12:32 AM)

elizabethmc

Infinite

 Feb 13 05, 8:46 AM
picqero

I think 'infinite' would include all the possible shades of each color, which in any case couldn't be infinite. All colors are based on three primary colors, but just to confuse us the primary colors in art differ from the primary colors of light. The art, or pigment, primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. The primary colors of light are red, green and blue. The answer therefore is either three or four depending on your viewpoint. All other colors are either mixtures or shades of the primaries.

 Feb 13 05, 9:13 AM
gmackematix

The photon energy that makes light comes in quantum packets and has quantum wavelengths so there are not infinite numbers of colours, although the number will be very large. How many of these can be distinguished by the human eye is another matter.

 Feb 13 05, 5:58 PM
peasypod

Couldn't have said it better myself gmack.

http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/dyelog/B1063361308/C128544578/E1447734446/

How many different colors are there?

Message: Approximately how many different colors are there? I read somewhere that there are over 16 million different colors.

16 million is an estimate of how many different colors a 24 bit RGB computer monitor can simulate. This has no relevance to how many different colors the human eye can distinguish.

Just as there are infinitely many numbers between 380 and 740 - including all of the fractions, of course - so there are infinitely many wavelengths between 380 and 740 nanometers - the visible spectrum of light. That doesn't even count the different tints and shades obtained by mixing in white, black, etc. So, there is an infinite number of colors, if you look at it that way.

 Feb 13 05, 6:09 PM

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