Web-safe colors

Another set of 216 color values are commonly considered to be the "web-safe" color palette; developed at a time when many computer displays were only capable of displaying only 256 colors. A set of colors was needed that could be shown without dithering on 256-color displays; the number 216 was chosen partly because computer operating systems customarily reserved sixteen to twenty colors for their own use; it was also selected because it allows exactly six shades each of red, green, and blue. (6 × 6 × 6 = 216). The palette was first identified by Lynda Weinman.

"Web-safe" colors had a flaw in that, on systems such as X Window where the palette is shared between applications, smaller color cubes (5x5x5 or 4x4x4) were often allocated by browsers - thus, the "web safe" colors would actually dither on such systems. Better results were obtained by providing an image with a larger range of colors and allowing the browser to quantize the color space if needed, rather than suffer the quality loss of a double quantization.

By the early years of the 21st century, driven by the needs of video games and digital photos, personal computers typically had at least 16-bit color and usually 24-bit (truecolor). Even mobile devices has at least 16-bit color, driven by the inclusion of cameras on cellphones. The use of "web-safe" colors fell into disuse, but persisted as folklore.

The "web-safe" colors do not have names, but each can be specified by an RGB triplet. In the table below, a three-digit number is used as a shorthand notation for the six-digit hexadecimal numerals above. The digit "3" is equivalent to the hexadecimal numeral "33"; "C" is equivalent to "CC". For example, "F63" in the table below is equivalent to "#FF6633" in the system used previously. Below are the values for the 6 shades of each color out of 256 possible color shades.

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