Primary Colors—Red, Blue, Yellow—not always

Posted by on July 8, 2011

Primary Colors—Red, Blue, Yellow—not always.

When we were kids in school, we were taught that the primary colors were Red, Blue, Yellow–from which all other colors could be made (save white and black which are abstracts).

Well yes and no. If you’re a kid, a painter or a traditional artist you may hold to the red blue and yellow–subtractive color model (light waves are absorbed by other colors).

But if you’re part of the digital world the primary colors are Red, Green, Blue. These colors areĀ  based on the additive color model where light waves add to each other creating new ones.These three colors make up all digital images on televisions, computer, etc.

If you are part of the pre-press world, that is in the printing industry, your primary colors are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. These are the four colors used in printing that make all other colors. Ever see the color bar code on printed packaging? That’s what that’s for.


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