Trisha Shetty

HWB color model

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

HWB is a cylindrical-coordinate representation of points in an RGB color model, similar to HSL and HSV. It was developed by HSV’s creator Alvy Ray Smith in 1996 to address some of the issues with HSV. HWB was designed to be more intuitive for humans to use and slightly faster to compute. The first coordinate, H (Hue), is the same as the Hue coordinate in HSL and HSV. W and B stand for Whiteness and Blackness respectively and range from 0–100% (or 0–1). The mental model is that the user can pick a main hue and then “mix” it with white and/or black to produce the desired color.


HWB came to prominence in 2014 following its use in the CSS Level 4 Color Module.

Converting to and from HSV

HWB is very closely related to HSV, and therefore the conversion formulas are fairly simple. Before conversion, if the sum of W and B is greater than 1, both W and B must be scaled back proportionally to make the sum 1.


H = H W = ( 1 S ) V B = 1 V


H = H S = 1 W 1 B V = 1 B


The CSS Color Level 4 draft specification includes a number of HWB example color swatches.


HWB color model Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Matt Selby
Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
Taylar Hender