Primary Colors of Light

Primary Colors of Light That Create the Additive Color System

This article will provide you with an insight on the various primary and secondary colors of light.
ArtHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
'The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.
- Hans Hofmann
Our world is filled with different colored living and non-living things. Just take a minute to look at your surrounding, and you will observe so many colors.Thus, what is the phenomena that gives color to everything? White light coming from the sun consists of all possible color variations. It basically is a combination of all the color frequencies in the visible color spectrum wheel. This spectrum can be referred by the acronym, 'ROYGBIV', which translates to the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet colors. It is also possible to create white light by combining only three distinct frequencies of light, when they are widely separated in the visible light spectrum. This mainly occurs by mixing the three primary colors of light.
Primary Colors of Light
When these colors are mixed, they create the secondary colors of light. The primary ones are RED, GREEN, and BLUE. These constitute the color wheel chart as follows.
Rgb Color Set Design
Secondary Colors of Light
Provided below are the equations, which will help you understand the origin of the secondary colors.



Cmyk And Rgb Color Diagram
However, the other way of explanation is also possible. You can produce primary colors by mixing up the secondary ones. For example, if you mix up yellow and cyan, you will be able to create green. The addition of two primary colors creates a secondary color, and hence, they are known as additive primaries, while cyan, magenta, and yellow are called subtractive primaries. Provided below are the equations, which will help you understand what happens, when the secondary colors are mixed.


Cmyk And Rgb Color Diagram
When the right frequencies of red, blue, and green are mixed, they produce white. So, in theory, when equal amounts of light or three pigments, which are yellow, cyan, and magenta are mixed, then a black or gray color should be produced, but they tend to create a muddy brown color. Just like the secondary colors, there also are tertiary ones, which are created by mixing primary and secondary colors.

When a light falls on an object, three things can happen. It can get reflected, absorbed, or can be transmitted. Thus, the way the light acts with an object, determines its color. For example, if the light is completely reflected, the object seems to have a white color. But, if all the light is absorbed, then the object will have a black color.