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Chemistry LibreTexts

28.6: The Sensation of Color

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  • The sensation of color can be achieved in different ways. According to Table 28-1, which relates wavelength to color, we could recognize a given color, say yellow, by direct perception of light encompassing a narrow band of wavelengths around \(580 \: \text{nm}\), or by subtraction of blue light (\(435\)-\(480 \: \text{nm}\)) from white light.

    A third way of producing color is by an additive process. In fact, a wide range of colors can be achieved by the addition of three colors - red, green, and blue - as indicated in Figure 28-10. Mixing all three so-called primary additive colors, in the right intensities, gives white light; mixing only red and green gives yellow. It is important to recognize that addition of any two primary colors is equivalent to subtracting the third. This point is amplified in Figure 28-10. Subtraction of the three primary additive colors, red, green, and blue, from white light gives, respectively, the three primary subtraction colors, cyan, magenta, and yellow. Application of additive and subtractive processes in color perception is illustrated in the following sections.

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