Visit the
Molecular Expressions Website

Galleria
Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Chip Shots
Screen Savers
Museum
Web Resources
Primer
Java Microscopy
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Publications
Custom Photos
Image Use
Contact Us
Search
Home

Interactive Java Tutorials

Primary Subtractive Colors

The complementary colors (cyan, yellow, and magenta) are also commonly referred to as the primary subtractive colors because each can be formed by subtracting one of the primary additives (red, green, and blue) from white light. This tutorial explores how the three primary subtractive colors interact with each other, both in pairs or all together.

Interactive Java Tutorial
ATTENTION
Our servers have detected that your web browser does not have the Java Virtual Machine installed or it is not functioning properly. Please install this software in order to view our interactive Java tutorials. You may download the necessary software by clicking on the "Get It Now" button below.

 

The tutorial initializes with magenta, cyan, and yellow filled circles randomly bouncing within the confines of the tutorial window. As the circles cross each other, the corresponding complementary color (red, green, or blue) is displayed in the intersected area. When all three circles intersect, a total lack of color (or black) is produced. In order to control the movement of the circles, click on the red manual button, which toggles the tutorial between automatic and manual modes. In manual mode, the mouse cursor can be utilized to click and drag the circles anywhere within the confines of the tutorial window. In addition, a blue Auto button appears, which will return the tutorial to automatic mode.

Yellow light is observed when all blue light is removed from white light, magenta forms when green is removed, and cyan is produced when red is removed. The color observed by subtracting a primary color from white light results because the brain adds together the colors that are left to produce the respective complementary or subtractive color. When any two of the primary subtractive colors are added, they produce a primary additive color. As an example, adding magenta and cyan together produces the color blue, while adding yellow and magenta together produces red. In a similar manner, adding yellow and cyan produces green. When all three primary subtractive colors are added, the three primary additive colors are removed from white light, leaving black (the absence of any color). White cannot be produced by any combination of the primary subtractive colors, which is the main reason that no mixture of colored paints or inks can be used to print white.

Contributing Authors

Matthew J. Parry-Hill and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.


BACK TO PRIMARY COLORS

BACK TO LIGHT AND COLOR

Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1995-2013 by Michael W. Davidson, Kirill I. Tchourioukanov, and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, software, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Access Count Since May 15, 1998: 130700
Visit the websites of our partners in education: