Sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this post. We also created a new forum for color science questions just like this one.
If the RGB color model is capable of 16.7 million colors, has anyone ever >calculated how many colors the average person’s eye is capable of >perceiving?
a good question. The RGB color model, using 8 bits per channel, is capable of creating 16.7 million ‘number combinations’ but not that many colors…
Any idea on how many colors exist in nature?
How large is the gamut of the eye to the number of colors in nature?
see, now I’ve got to get all philosophical. Colors don’t exist in nature. They exist in our visual system. so…
number of colors in nature = number of colors we can see
number of colors we can see = number of colors in nature
How many colors are in the SRGB color space?
Now THAT I can give you an answer for.
A few rough numbers for comparison: (all these values are in cubic CIELab)
Gamut of human color vision: 2.2 - 2.3 million colors
Gamut of G4 Powerbook: 518,733
Gamut of Apple HD Cinema Display: 928,189
so, even though each of the displays has 16.7 million addressable RGB values, the Apple HD Cinema Display can display almost 410,000 more colors. A significant difference to say the least. It could be argued that the PowerBook really only needs about 19 bits for its display - who wants to start an argument though?
A few more values for comparison.
sRGB = 909,800
Adobe RGB = 1,320,550
SWOP TR001 = 297,500
ISOcoated from ECI = 400,350
please note, all these values are very rough. They are best used only for broad comparisons.
The number of colours that can be represented on a display are mostly determined by the colors of the colorants (filters for LCD, phosphors for CRTs). The more saturated the colorants the larger the gamut and the more individual colors can be displayed.
Hope this helps,