Subtractive color mixing

Test your skills with color mixtures using primary colors (yellow, magenta and cyan), and with the extra help of black and white.

This application simulates the mixture of pigments, known as subtractive color mixture. According to this theory, each color absorbs some wavelengths and reflects other.

For example, yellow absorbs blue light and reflects red and green. Thus, if we start with yellow (which absorbs blue light) and mix with magenta (which absorbs green light), we will be the color red, which will be the only light that has not been absorbed. But if we keep adding yellow to the red, since it can no longer absorb blue light, what it will do is reflect red light (which is at its maximum) and green light (which will begin to illuminate), which will turn the red into orange.

Color Wheel

In this drawing, the larger circles are the primary colors, the intermediate circles are the secondary colors, and the smaller circles are the tertiary colors.

Each primary color absorbs the light color that is opposite, namely its complementary color, and reflects the light of its closest secondary colors.

In fact, if we talk about light instead pigments, we could see that the yellow light is composed of green and red light, magenta is composed of red and blue light, and cyan is composed of green and blue light.

The best way to understand these concepts is experimenting with mixtures. In the case of this simulator, reflections of light are exaggerated to prevent always ending up with colors increasingly obscured and dirty.