Red, green, and blue are the primary colors in the RGB color model, which is used for lights and digital displays. They’re three very different colors, but they’re all seen regularly in the world around us.
What happens if you try mixing these three colors together, and will the result vary depending on what color model you’re using? We’re about to find out.
What Color Do Red, Green, and Blue Make with Paint?
Mixing red, green, and blue together won’t always give you the same result. The more paints you mix together, the muddier a mixture will look, so these three colors usually create some type of gray or brown.
Since green is a combination of yellow and blue, there will be more blue in the mixture than the other primary colors of paint. So, it’s likely that the brown/gray color these hues create will also have a hint of blue in it.
Understanding the RYB Color Model
RYB is the color model used for physical art mediums like paint. Many people are familiar with it because it’s taught in early art classes. It’s a form of subtractive mixing, which means when hues are combined, wavelengths are removed to create a new color.
The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. You can mix two primary colors together to get a secondary color like green, orange, or purple. When all three primary colors are swirled together, they usually make brown.
How to Make Colors Lighter or Darker
Regardless of what color you create, you can adjust it if needed. Here are some tips for making a color look lighter or darker.
When you add white to a color, it creates a tint. Tints appear lighter and paler than the color. The more white you add to a color, the lighter it will appear.
Shades occur when you add black to a color, and they make the color look darker. Black paint can easily overpower other colors, so only add a little black at a time when creating a shade.
Brown and Gray Color Meanings
The color you create could have different meanings depending on what it looks like. If it’s close to brown, it will symbolize stability, honesty, and comfort. Brown makes people feel protected, stabilized, and grounded. Some positive meanings of the color brown are appreciation, support, and wisdom, while some negative meanings could be boring, dull, and predictable.
If the color looks more gray, it can mean compromise, control, and practicality. Gray stabilizes, relaxes, and soothes. Some positive meanings of gray include reliability, maturity, and intellect, but some negative meanings are pessimistic, sad, and indecisive. For both colors, the exact meaning depends on the context.
Can You Create Red, Green, and Blue Using Other Colors?
You don’t need to go to the store every time you run out of a paint color. If you need more red, green, or blue paint, you might be able to create it by mixing other colors together.
Of the three, green is the easiest to make in paints. Green is a secondary color in RYB, so it can be created by mixing blue and yellow. However, red and blue are primary colors in RYB, so the color model’s diagram doesn’t show you how to create them.
If you look at the CMYK color model, which is a form of subtractive mixing used for ink, it shows you how to make red and blue. Red can be created by mixing magenta and yellow, while blue can be made by combining cyan and magenta. Yet, magenta and cyan aren’t common paint colors, so it’ll be easier to buy more red and blue paint.
What Color Do Red, Green, and Blue Make with Light?
Mixing with lights is much different than mixing with paints. When colors are combined in lights, they get lighter instead of darker. Red, green, and blue (RGB) are the primary colors of lights, and when they’re combined, they make white. However, if you change the brightness of any of those colors, the result will no longer be pure white.
Understanding the RGB Color Model
As mentioned earlier, RGB is the color model used for lights and digital displays. This color model is a form of additive mixing, so when colors are combined, wavelengths are added to create new colors.
If you combine two primary colors together, you’ll get one of the secondary colors, which are cyan, magenta, and yellow. Color mixtures can vary depending on the brightness of the colors you’re mixing. If all three primary colors are mixed together at full brightness, they’ll make white. Dark colors like brown, black, and gray don’t exist in this color model.
How to Mix with Colored Lights
Mixing paints involves swirling two different colors together, but mixing lights is a bit different than that. To mix two different colored lights, all you have to do is shine one light on top of the other and it will create a new light. Yet, all colors on the RGB color model can also be created by layering all three primary colors on top of each other at different brightnesses.
For example, you can create pink by putting green close to zero brightness, blue at about half, and red at full brightness. You can make orange by setting blue at zero brightness, green at about half, and red at full. There are so many different combinations to try, and each one makes a slightly different color. So, it can be fun to experiment with different color combinations to see what results you get.
White Color Meaning
The color white symbolizes cleanliness, purity, and perfection. It’s meant to refresh, simplify, and balance. Some positive meanings of white include goodness, hope, and openness. The negative meanings are cold, empty, and distant. White has a wide range of meanings, and it can be used for all kinds of designs.
What Color Do Red, Green, and Blue Make with Ink?
If you mix red, green, and blue in printer ink, you’ll get black. That’s because all three colors are secondary colors in the CMYK color model, so they have the same result as the three primary colors mixed together.
Understanding the CMYK Color Model
CMYK is a subtractive color model used for printing. The primary and secondary colors are the opposite of RGB. So, the primary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. Then, the secondary colors are red, green, and blue.
When all three primary colors are combined in CMYK, they make black. In fact, the “K” in CMYK represents black because it stands for “key color.” Black is needed often when printing text, so that’s why printer ink comes with black ink in addition to the three primary colors.
Black Color Meaning
The color black symbolizes power, sophistication, and elegance. It can mystify, secure, and intimidate. Black has a wide range of positive and negative meanings. Some good meanings include strength, prestige, and authority. Then, in some cases, it could mean depression, sadness, and pessimism. The colors that are used together with black can contribute to its meaning.
Designing with Red, Green, and Blue
Red, green, and blue are three vibrant colors that are each very different. So, if you choose to use all three in a design, you can expect it to be busy and exciting. These three colors aren’t commonly used for interior design unless you’re designing a playroom or child’s bedroom.
To make the design a bit less chaotic, you should consider adding neutral colors to the mix. Using colors like white, tan, or dark brown could help tone down the other colors a bit. Using dark or pastel versions of red, green, and blue can also make the design easier on the eyes.
If you want a simpler design, you can use each color separately. When using red, you can try pairing it with navy, turquoise, orange, purple, or beige. For green, you can choose colors like blue, yellow, white, or gray. Then, blue works best when paired with pink, white, red, green, or yellow.
If you want to design a logo, poster, or advertisement, that could be a good opportunity to focus on bright, contrasting colors. Red, green, and blue are great colors to use in a loud design. To help one color stand out more, you can try using its complementary color, which is the color on the opposite side of the color wheel. Red and green are each others’ complementary colors, while blue’s is orange.
How Can One Combination Make Several Colors?
When you mix red, green, and blue together, they make a different color in every color model. That’s because the primary colors and the process of mixing colors is different in every medium. Sometimes color mixtures will create the same result in every color model, but other times they won’t.
Mixing colors is an important part of understanding color theory. Some color combinations end up exactly how you’d expect, while others might surprise you. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with a wide range of color mixtures. You might discover a unique new color to use in your designs.