Database - Munsell Book

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Autumn Colors

Munsell Book

Programs & Macros

Obtaining & Unpacking

The system of color notation developed by A. H. Munsell in 1905 identifies color in terms of three attributes: HUE, VALUE and CHROMA.

The HUE (H) notation of a color indicates its relation to a visually equally-spaced scale of 100 hues. There are five principal and five intermediate positioned hue steps within this scale. The hue notation in general use is based on the ten major hue names: Red (5R), Yellow-Red (5YR), Yellow (5Y), Green-Yellow (5GY), Green (5G), Blue-Green (5BG), Blue (5B), Purple-Blue (5PB), Purple (5P) and Red-Purple (5RP).


The arrangement of the Hue circle in the Munsell system.

The VALUE (V) notation indicates the lightness or darkness of a color in relation to a neutral grey scale, which extends from absolute black (value symbol 0/) to absolute white (value symbol 10/). The symbol 5/ is used for the middle gray and for all chromatic colors that appear half-way in value between absolute black and absolute white.

The CHROMA (C) notation indicates the degree of divergence of a given hue from a neutral gray of the same value. The scale of chroma extends from /0 for a neutral grey to /10, /12, /14 or farther, depending upon the strength (saturation) of the sample to be evaluated.

The complete Munsell notation for a chromatic color is written symbolically:

H V / C.

A simplified image of the three-dimensional array of Hue, Value, and Chroma.

  • Munsell Book of Color - Matte Finish Collection (Munsell Color, Baltimore, Md., 1976).

The Matlab image of the page 5G of the Munsell Book of Color. RGB colors are calculated from the AOTF measured spectra of the Munsell colors.



Department of Computer Science
Department of Physics
University of Joensuu