RGB & CMY -Additive and Subtractive Color

RGB (Red, Green and Blue) are additive primary colors and CMY (Cyan, Magenta and Yellow) are subtractive primaries. Both are needed to reproduce and view color. Which part of the process is additive and which part is subtractive? Explain the reason why they are called additive and subtractive colors. Indicate why we need a black to print photographs. 

RGB or Red Green Blue is additive color because by adding in different amounts of red, green, or blue light any color can be created. At the same time if no light is added the result will be black and by using each color equally at full intensity which is achieved.

When working with subtractive color the model is the opposite as pigments, dyes, or inks are used to absorb or filter certain wavelengths of colors out of the reflecting light. Cyan, Magenta, and yellow are the primary pigments used in this model. Unlike RGB the absence of pigment is white and mixing all three pigments together would remove the spectrum of wavelengths and would result in “black”.  CMY adds K or black to the pallet as CMY can create a beautiful spectrum of color, but a true black is difficult to create from the CMY pigments. Mixing CMY does not ensure a consistent true black as the pigments always have impurities, which interferes in producing a true black. Adding black to the pallet gives a greater contrast and generates a true rich black.


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