Color Theory

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Primary Color

Primary Colors cannot be mixed from other colors instead they are the source of the other colors. Primary colors consist of Red, Blue, and Yellow. These sets of colors can change depending on if you are talking about primary colors as an artist or a physicist. Artist consider red, yellow and blue as primary colors but physicist consider red, green, and blue as primary colors. According to Wikipedia, primary colors consists of colorants or colored lights that can be mixed in varying amounts to produce a gamut of colors. This is the essential method used to create the perception of a broad range of colors in, e.g., electronic displays, color printing, and paintings. Below is a picture of primary colors.

Primary Color

Additive and Subtractive Color

There are two main types of color mixing: additive color mixing and subtractive color mixing.

Additive color mixing is creating a new color by a process that adds one set of wavelengths to another set of wavelengths. It is called additive because all of the wavelengths still reach our eyes. It is the combination of different wavelengths that creates the diversity of colors.

Additive Color

Subtractive Color mixing creates a new color by removing wavelengths from light with a broad spectrum of wavelengths. It is called subtractive mixing because when the paints mix, wavelengths are deleted from what we see because each paint will absorb some wavelengths that the other paint reflects, thus leaving us with a lesser number of wavelengths remaining afterward.

Subtractive Color

So the easy way to remember the difference between additive and subtractive color mixing is that additive color mixing happens when we mix lights of different colors. In contrast, subtractive color mixing occurs when we mix paints or other colored materials.

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Home Page Primary Color Secondary Color Tertiary Color Color Wheel Homework Resources Student Survey