How to Convert RGB to a Paint Chip

Written by len harris
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How to Convert RGB to a Paint Chip
Red, green and blue are the colours that digital cameras display. (rgb image by Sergey Tokarev from

Digital photography brings us many blessings. A whole host of problems are gone, but new ones have emerged. We no longer have to deal with film, but now we have to deal with RGB, and a multitude of other acronyms. RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue, the three base colours from which all the colours are drawn that a digital camera can reproduce. This colour system is not used by paint manufacturers, however, so there needs to be a way to convert the colour that you photograph to one that the paint manufacturers can recognise and supply.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Take a close-up picture of the colour you wish to convert with a digital camera of any kind.

  2. 2

    Download the image to your computer and open it in Paint.

  3. 3

    Click on the eyedropper tool and click on the colour you wish to convert.

    Go to the "Color" panel and click on it. Click on "Edit Colors" and the colour dialogue will open. Click on "Define Custom Color" and the RGB values of the colour you have chosen will be listed on the lower right hand side of the "Custom Color" dialogue box.

  4. 4

    Note the RGB values.

  1. 1

    Go online to the EasyRGB website. Click on the tab labelled "From RGB to Commercial Tints" on the home page.

  2. 2

    Enter the RGB values in the boxes provided.

    Open the drop-down box labelled "Select a colour collection", pick a paint provider from the drop-down box and hit "Start".

  3. 3

    Select the closest match or the most pleasing colour from the samples presented. Note the product number. The paint store that carries the collection from which you chose should be able to supply you with the paint colour you wish.

Tips and warnings

  • The equivalent of "Paint" on a Mac is "Graphic Converter" which comes bundled with the Mac OS X. The steps to get the RGB values should be the very similar to those described above.
  • The same colour will look different on a computer screen than it does on a wall. You view the colour on a computer screen by light transmitted through the screen and you view the colour of a painted subject by light reflected from the subject. As a rule the transmitted light will be more brilliant than reflected light.

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