The extension of the standard grayscale active appearance model (AAM) techniques to color images is investigated. Prior work in this field has mainly focused on RGB color models which did not demonstrate noticeable benefits over grayscale models from the point of view of convergence accuracy. We improve on previous work by normalizing the color texture vector separately for intensity and chromaticity components. Where an appropriate color space is chosen, we demonstrate improvements in convergence accuracy as well as image synthesization quality for AAMs. Optimal results are achieved when a color space in which the image channels are strongly decorrelated is chosen. Our best results are achieved using the I1I2I3 color space, originally proposed by Ohta.