What Shades Constitute White Paint?

Since every other paint colour absorbs some light of at least one specific wavelength, no combination of other colours can produce white paint. Subtractive colour mixing refers to the process of blending paints or filters to create new hues.

For instance, any hue of cyan paint will absorb some red-wavelength light. Blue-wavelength light is somewhat absorbed by yellow paint. Together, these hues partially absorb both red and blue wavelengths, giving rise to the colour green.

When you mix an equal amount of equally vivid cyan, yellow, and magenta paint, you get grey because magenta pigments absorb some green light. Because not all wavelengths are reflected instead of absorbed, even if all three pigments are in very light shades, the only colour that can be produced is a very light grey.

Thus, the only way to create pure white paint is to employ a single substance that reflects red, green, and blue light, which to the human eye appears white.

The converse is true with additive colour mixing, where wavelengths are released rather than absorbed. The combination of red, green, and blue spotlights at a point of convergence is white. Televisions, fluorescent lights, and computer monitors all operate on this concept.


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