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Colors generated by the iPad app Colors by Number

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Colors forever. Well, practically.

You can cycle through Colors by Number’s billions of random combinations in either manual or auto mode. How long might it take to cycle through all possible combinations in auto where color sets are programmed to change every three seconds? Let’s look at the math… every 3 seconds, 20 times each minute, 1200 times an hour, 28,800 times a day, 10,512,000 times every 365 days. So, how many years would it take? Ultimately, the answer would be the result of dividing the total number of possible color combinations (16 million ^ 4) by 10,512,000.

Billions of color combinations? Really?

Yes, and here’s why. The four RGB color areas in each of the three layouts act independently of one another. Each part of the RGB has 256 values (R, G and B with values between 0 and 255). Each color therefore has one of 16,777,216 values based on 256 * 256 * 256 or 2^24. 

Yet the application is programmed so that no two colors in any given four-color combination can have exactly the same color at the same time. Therefore… 16,777,216 * 16,777,215 * 16,777,214 * 16,777,213 gives us the total number of possible color combinations, with no duplicates. There you have it.