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  1. #1
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    primary colors are subjective?

    For color photography the primaries are red, blue, and green. For brush painters they are red, blue, and yellow. Why are not primaries the same for both? - David Lyga

    And, no, I do not like the new 'home page' format for apug.org.

  2. #2
    David Allen's Avatar
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    As colour is determined by light, the primary colours are Red, Blue and Green which, in various combinations, produce all of the colours that we can see.

    Most people when they learn about art in school are taught that the primary colours are Red, Blue and Yellow. This is completely incorrect. What should be taught is that the primary pigments are Red, Blue and Yellow. Each reflects a different parts of the visible light spectrum and, by combining them in various ways, you can create different pigments that reflect most of the visible light spectrum.

    David
    www.dsallen.de

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Light is additive, pigment is subtractive.

    Mix the primary colours of light together and you get white. Mix the primary colour pigments together and it's (close to) black.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Allen View Post
    As colour is determined by light, the primary colours are Red, Blue and Green which, in various combinations, produce all of the colours that we can see.

    Most people when they learn about art in school are taught that the primary colours are Red, Blue and Yellow. This is completely incorrect. What should be taught is that the primary pigments are Red, Blue and Yellow. Each reflects a different parts of the visible light spectrum and, by combining them in various ways, you can create different pigments that reflect most of the visible light spectrum.

    David
    www.dsallen.de

    At the school I am at we have a class called color studies where this is discussed. We also talk about it in painting. So, it is not taught incorrectly or at least not in the art department I am at.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

    Canon A-1, Canon AE-1, Canon Canonet GIII 17, Argus 21, Rolleicord Va, Mamiya RB67, Voigtländer Bessa

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  5. #5
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    It all depends on whether you are talking about colors of pigment or colors of light or whether you are talking about additive colors or subtractive colors.

    With all the "Ifs," "ands," "buts" and "ors" it seems like a big game of Fizzbin!
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  6. #6
    artonpaper's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting (I hope) tidbit. I worked in the printing industry back in the 60s. the color presses had fountains for red, blue, yellow, and black inks. The idea being that those inks would come together when printing color separation and produce full color. But the cans of ink for this purpose were called process red, process blue and process yellow. When one actually looked at those inks, it was obvious that the process red was magenta, and the process blue was cyan. The process yellow was just a very pure bright yellow. I think the pressmen, who did a good job of making everything look good while supervising the the running of these giant presses, weren't schooled in color theory, so the industry just named those colors in a generic way.

    Color theory for painters is unscientific, and really about what paints mix well with other paints. Color is much more relative in painting as well.

  7. #7
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    Actually the primary pigments should be called magenta, cyan and yellow, not red, blue & yellow!. This is a misnomer that afflicts every K-12 art class and even colleges; indeed it's a complete cultural misunderstanding!

    Try making all the colors with red, blue & yellow.. it's not possible.

    Our eyes have three types of cones; sensitive to red, green and blue. To "modulate" their responses in a subtractive manner we have to use the opposite colors; cyan, magenta, yellow. Red, blue & yellow will create a very limited gamut of colors.

    Artonpaper has the right idea; people say RBY, but they actually mean CMY, and this same problem can be seen throughout the history of 3-color photography. The people who understood this idea well, F.E. Ives for instance, were adamant about using the proper terms. Magenta, peacock blue, yellow.

    So to answer you question David, painter's primaries and the photographer's subtractive primaries are (or should be) the same.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    If you mix red and green light you get yellow.

    If you mix red and green paint, you get disappointed.

    Paint is a reflective medium, so the subtractive primaries (magenta, cyan and yellow) work best when one is trying to plot out how to combine colours.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Artonpaper has the right idea; people say RBY, but they actually mean CMY,
    That's funny--for as long as I've worked in publishing and done any kind of graphic arts work, I've always referred to four-color process as CMYK, and every printer I've ever worked with has done so, too.

  10. #10
    Lee L's Avatar
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    I have always heard the standard 4 color press process referred to as CMYK, for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key, key being black ink.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMYK_color_model

    Lee

    (close to a tie with Moopheus )

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