Three Primary Colors


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Three primary colors of light

Red, green, and blue are called the three primary colors of light. You can create any color by adjusting the light of these three colors appropriately.

  • red + green = yellow
  • red + blue = magenta
  • green + blue = cyan

In this way, the color produced by mixing two primary colors becomes a secondary color.
If you mix all three primary colors, you get white.
Because light gets brighter the more you mix it, it’s called additive mixing.

three primary colors of pigment

An object has a specific color because the pigment in the thing reflects particular light and absorbs the rest.
When two or more pigments are mixed, they get darker because most absorbable light is absorbed.
Therefore, the three primary colors of the pigment are not ‘red-yellow-blue’ but ‘cyan-magenta-yellow’ which is the secondary color of the three primary colors of light.
In theory, mixing all ‘three primary colors of pigment’ should be black, but it is not entirely darkened by some reflected light.

Color printers use a four-color system of CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black) by adding black to the three primary colors of pigments. This is because black is used a lot in letters, etc., and it is to get rich black in shadows, etc.