Combining Spectral Colours to Make White

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Description

Combining Spectral Colours to Make White

TRY SOME QUICK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GET STARTED
A non-spectral colour is any colour that is not be produced by a single wavelength of visible light.
Spectral colours are all the colours between red and violet that can be produced by a single wavelength of light. Sunlight is composed of spectral colours.
Yes! When spectral colours are arranged in a diagram, the order in which they appear corresponds with their wavelength. The easiest way to show this is a band of colours of increasing wavelength with red at one end and violet at the other.
Yes! The spectral colours red, green and blue can be combined in pairs to produce orange, yellow and violet when using an additive colour model.

About the diagram

About the diagram
  • This diagram looks at three situations in which an observer will see white light reflected off a dark surface.
  • Three different light sources are shown in the diagram.
  • Each light source produces a different combination of wavelengths and each wavelength has the same intensity.
  • The light source at the top of the diagram contains three component colours: RGB (red, green, blue).
  • The light source on the left contains six component colours – ROYGBV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet).
  • The light source on the right contains a continuous spectrum of wavelengths which means it contains many thousands of component colours.
  • In each case, the light source is projected onto a dark neutral coloured surface.
Remember that:

The surface where the light sources are focused appear white:

  • When wavelengths corresponding with the three primary colours (RGB) are reflected off the surface towards an observer.
  • When wavelengths corresponding with ROYGBV are reflected off the surface towards an observer.
  • When all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum are reflected off the surface towards an observer.

Some key terms

Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves with all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through ...

White light

White light is the name given to visible light that contains all wavelengths of the visible spectrum at equal intensities ...

Primary colour

Primary colours are a set of colours from which others can be produced by mixing (pigments, dyes etc.) or overlapping ...

ROYGBV

ROYGBV is an acronym for the sequence of hues (colours) commonly described as making up a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, ...

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