A Quick Color Quiz
By Gary David Bouton
Dateline: August 9, 2004
With 16.7 unique colors to choose from on your monitor, it's likely that you've overlooked the primary colors that in combination are responsible for all these colors. Let's take a trip back to school and review the basic colors from which all others are derived.
Q: What are the primary additive colors?
As you can see in the first illustration, red, green, and blue, when combined, create white. Additionally, when these colors are blended on equal amounts at less than full intensity, shades of grey are produced. Also, complementary colors are formed, yellow, cyan, and magenta, when only two of the three primary colors are used. We get all the colors we see on the monitor by blending equal and unequal amounts of two or three primary additive colors. Using a less than 100% amount of a single primary color results in a tint.
A: Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, with usually an option for black. The three primary subtractive colors, when combined, usually don't produce a pure black, because these are physical colors (such as paints or dyes), and physical colors contain impurities, so the addition of black helps to "goose" the resulting color blend. The subtractive primary colors are also known as th CMYK color space, and it it used extensively in printing.
Q: What is a color space?
Q: What is a spot color?
Q: What is a complementary color?
Q: What is LAB color?
Q: Are all colors equal in intensity?
Do you have any other questions about color? Write to me in the forum, and I'll try to answer the question for all in a later column.
Gary David Bouton is the moderator of "The Inside Track", a forum dedicated to Photoshop users of all platforms. Additionally, Gary moderates the 3D forum at TalkGraphics, and has a series of tutorials posted on beginning trueSpace. In addition to being an illustrator, author, and all around swell guy, Gary has a new book on Photoshop, "Inside Photoshop CS" and he wouldn't mind at all if you picked up a copy on Amazon.