Secondary colours

What are the secondary colors?

Secondary colors are those that are obtained by mixing two primary colors. They receive that name precisely because they derive from the primary colors.

Secondary colors depend on the model or color theory applied. There are three color models:

  • the traditional model or RYB;
  • the CMY or CMYK model;
  • the RGB model.

Each of these models generates three different secondary colors.

Secondary colors in the traditional or RYB model

The traditional model, RYB or RAmaZ (red, yellow and blue) is the oldest known coloring model. For a long time, it was the one used by painters of the past.

This model has yellow, blue and red as primary colors. When two of these colors are mixed, the following secondary colors are generated:

  • Orange: it is obtained by mixing yellow and red.
  • Green: obtained by mixing yellow and blue.
  • Purple: it is obtained by mixing blue and red.

Secondary colors in the RGB model

The RGB coloring model takes its name from the acronym for the colors red, green and blue. It is based on the additive synthesis of color, that is, it uses light as a component to obtain color. Therefore, this model is applied when light is used to reproduce images. For example, on television, computer monitors, cell phones, etc.

The primary colors in the RGB model are blue, green, and red. From these the following secondary colors are obtained:

  • Magenta: obtained by mixing blue and red.
  • Cyan: obtained by mixing blue and green.
  • Yellow: obtained by mixing green and red.

Secondary colors in the CMY or CMYK model

The CMY model gets its name from the acronym for cyan, magenta, and yellow. It is based on the subtractive synthesis of color. This means that you create the colors by applying pigments that absorb wavelengths and refract others. This model is used for color printing. When K is added to it, it is because black is added.

In the CMY model, the primary colors are yellow, magenta, and cyan. When two of these colors are mixed, the following secondary colors are produced:

  • Blue: obtained by mixing cyan and magenta.
  • Green: obtained by mixing cyan and yellow.
  • Red: obtained by mixing yellow and magenta.

Color classification

Colors are classified into primary, secondary, and tertiary. In addition to these three, there is also talk of complementary colors. To understand the difference between each of them, let's see what they consist of.

Primary colors are those that cannot be obtained by mixing any color.

Secondary colors are those that are obtained from the mixture of two primary colors.

Tertiary colors are those that are obtained by mixing three primary colors or a primary color with a secondary one. Therefore, they are more numerous, since they give rise to many combinations.

Complementary colors are those that when approached, are perceived more intense and balance each other, so that they complement each other. To know which are the complementary colors, it is necessary to be guided by the chromatic circle.

It may interest you:

  • Primary and secondary colors
  • Primary colors
  • Warm and cold colors
  • Chromatic circle

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