Using RGB Colour to Mix Wavelengths of Light

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Description

To find out more about the diagram above . . . . read on!

Using RGB Colour to Mix Wavelengths of Light

Look carefully at the diagram at the top of the page. Now check out the following questions (and answers)!

  1. What are RGB colours?
  2. What is the difference between spectral colour and RGB colour?
  3. What are the three primary colours in the RGB colour model?
  4. What are secondary colours?
  5. Name the three RGB primary colours that can together produce white light?

About the Diagram

Introducing the diagram! Read back and forward between the image at the top of the page and the explanation below!

This diagram explores the RGB colour model. It looks at how wavelengths of light corresponding with the RGB primary colours are combined to produce secondary colours.

What you need to remember:

  • Mixing different wavelengths of light to produce other colours, is called an additive colour model or an additive approach to colour.
  • Red, green and blue (RGB) are additive primary colours. This means that when these wavelengths of light are projected onto a dark surface they combine to produce other colours. The colour produced depends on the intensity of each light source.
  • If wavelengths of light corresponding with all three additive primary colours are projected in equal amounts onto a dark surface the result is white.
  • If wavelengths of light corresponding with all three additive primary colours are projected in unequal amounts onto a dark surface many thousands (or millions) of colours can be produced.
  • Secondary colours are the colours produced when pairs of primary colours are combined in equal or unequal proportions.

Understanding the diagram:

  • Three circles of light are projected onto a dark surface in the top half of the diagram. These are the additive primary colours – red, green and blue.
  • Where the primary colours overlap they produce the secondary colours – yellow, magenta and cyan.
  • Where all three primary colours overlap they produce white.
  • The bottom of the diagram shows which primary colours are mixed in pairs to produce each secondary colour. and which secondary colours produce each primary colour.

Follow the blue links for definitions . . . . or check the summaries of key terms below!

Some Key Terms

Move to the next level! Check out the following terms.

Additive colour

Additive colour is a method of mixing different wavelengths of light to produce other colours. An additive approach to colour ...
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Primary colour

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

To be clear about RGB colour it is useful to remember first that: The visible spectrum is the range of ...
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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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Secondary colour

A secondary colour is a colour made by mixing two primary colours in a given colour space. The colour space may be produced by an additive colour model that ...
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Colour model

A colour model is a mathematical system used to describe colours using a set of numeric values. A colour model ...
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More Information

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Diagrams are optimized for printing on A4 pages in portrait format.

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Some images on this website are available for download as either slides or diagrams.

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Slides are optimized for viewing on-screen or using a projector.

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If you are a student, educator or researcher you might also like to read our posts Copyright: Credit where credit’s due and Citation and bibliographies before copying and pasting material into essays, assignments or other academic work. They include advice on avoiding plagiarism and how to credit other people’s words, images and assets before submitting your work for marking or assessment. If you are confused, just ask a friendly teacher, librarian, or other member of academic staff.


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