We present a novel color fringe projection system to obtain absolute 3D shape and color of objects simultaneously. Optimum 3-frequency interferometry is used to produce time efficient analysis of the projected fringes by encoding three fringe sets of different pitch into the primary colors of a digital light projector and recording the information on a 3-chip color CCD camera. Phase shifting analysis is used to retrieve sub-wavelength phase information. Absolute phase across the field is calculated using the 3-frequency method independently at each pixel. Concurrent color data is also captured via the RGB channels of the CCD. Thus full-field absolute shape (XYZ) and color (RGB) can be obtained. In this paper we present the basis of the technique and preliminary results having addressed the issue of crosstalk between the color channels. © 2006 Optical Society of America.