Color Theory,

More In Depth


In the interests of "full disclosure" on this topic we'll include notes by Chris McIntosh.

McIntosh points out that the rainbow contains monochromatic colors, or colors made by a single light wavelength. They form the border of this CIE color diagram.

Since the three primaries must themselves be monochromatic lights in the visible spectrum, or combinations thereof, they each form a point within the boundaries of the horseshoe. Picking any three such points results in a triangle, and clearly no triangle exists that encompasses the entire visible spectrum (i.e. the entire horseshoe).

As a result, three pure primaries cannot be used to produce all possible human color responses. This wiki page has a detailed explanation of this.

It's also important to understand the overlap between the sensors of the human eye, as explained here. Note that color results are based in the overlap between the long, medium, and short cones in the human eye.

And, finally, here is a more detailed explanation of general color theory.

As in much of life, when things seem relatively simple, you often find they are not!  Truth be told, there is a lot about "light" that isn't fully understood. For starters, there's the question of whether light is made up of particles, or waves -- or both.

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