Color is a way our eyes perceive the reflected or transmitted light from opaque and translucent objects and liquids at different wavelengths.

So how do colors work together to become what our eyes see? What are primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors? Explore color basics, the color wheel and color temperatures understand these interactions of color in the real world.

Diving Into the Color Wheel

The color wheel is an illustrative model that represents different color hues around a wheel. The colors are organized to demonstrate the relationships between different hues.

Originally designed in 1666 by Isaac Newton, the color wheel has three main components:

  • Three primary colors — yellow, red and blue
  • Three secondary colors — orange, purple and green
  • Six tertiary colors — combinations of primary and secondary colors, such as blue-green

These elements move from warm colors to cool colors as you go around the wheel.

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Hue, Tint, Shade and Tone

Color can be subdivided depending on how it is combined with black and white. Black is the absence of light, while white is a combination of all colors on the light spectrum.

To understand color, you need to understand some basic terms that shape what our eyes perceive from objects:

  • Hue: The colors found on the color wheel
  • Tint: A hue that has white added to it
  • Shade: A hue that has black added to it
  • Tone: A hue that has both white and black added to it

What Are Color Models?

The two main color models are CMYK and RGB. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta and yellow, while RGB stands for red, green and blue. The two models have a few key differences:

  • Applications: The CMYK color model applies to printing and painting. The RGB color model, meanwhile, is relevant to televisions, computers and electronics.
  • Properties: The CMYK color model is a subtractive model, which means it represents colors created by absorbing light and reflecting the light not absorbed. In contrast, the RGB color model is additive, which means it combines light waves together to create specific hues.

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Because of how differently these two color models register color, you want to ensure you’re choosing the right model for your application. Subtractive and additive models will work best only when paired with their optimized formats, whether those are print or electronic.

Reach out to HunterLab for Color Measurement Solutions

If you’re looking for color measurement equipment for your industrial applications, we can help. As a company, we’re committed to providing optimized solutions that provide accurate, efficient measurements for various industrial applications. For over 65 years, we’ve been delivering innovative color measurement technologies for industry, and we continue to provide superior equipment and tools today.

Whatever your requirements, the team at HunterLab can work with you to find the right solutions for your color measurement needs. Partner with us for trusted solutions to match your applications. For more information, reach out to us today.