Primary Colors

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Related to Primary colour: Secondary colour, Tertiary colour

primary colors

[′prī‚mer·ē ′kəl·ərz]
Three colors, red, yellow, and blue, which can be combined in various proportions to produce any other color.
Any three colors that can be mixed in proper proportions to specify other colors; they need not be physically realizable.

Primary colors

Hues red, yellow, and blue. From these three colors, with the addition of white, it is possible to create the full color spectrum.

Primary Colors


three colors that can be optically mixed in such a way that the color obtained is visually indistinguishable from any given color. A color C that is being measured or reproduced can be represented in terms of the primary colors E1, E2, and E3 as the sum C that is indistinguishable from C; C’ = m1E1 + m2E2 + m3E3, where m1, m2, and m3 are the quantities of the primary colors being mixed. These quantities are called the coordinates of C (one and sometimes two coordinates can be negative).

A set of primary colors constitutes a tristimulus colorimetric system. There is an infinite number of possible systems of primary colors. However, not just any set of three different, arbitrarily selected colors can serve as a set of primary colors, because no one of the three primary colors should be represented as the sum of any quantities of the other two colors. A color C can be defined in any tristimulus system; the transition from one system to another is achieved through simple relationships. To compare color measurements of different systems it is customary to recompute the results in units of a standard international system with the primary colors X, Y, and Z (these colors do not correspond to any visually perceived real colors).

The three primary colors most frequently used are red, green, and blue. The colors purple (blue-red), azure (green-blue), and yellow are used in multicolor printing and in color photography, where colors are reproduced by the more complicated process of substractive mixing.

The concept of primary colors and the relationships based on this concept are widely used in theoretical and practical colorimetry. However, the methods of tristimulus systems are inadequate for the solution of a number of subtle, complex problems associated with measurements and quantitative description of colors.

References in periodicals archive ?
Planning ahead, Marcia recognises that a squeeze on public sector spending could have ramifications for Primary Colours. She says: "Local authorities get their spending on a three-year basis.
A possible critique of Primary Coloured is that the number of characters and breadth of issues they face is too expansive to allow Meersman to develop any of them sufficiently.
The pack has been written by Shazia Azhar, deputy headteacher at Spring Grove, Pete Tidy, Primary Colours creative director and former journalist Dianne Watkinson.
Rocket lava lamp, in four primary colours, pounds 64.50 from John Lewis
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Primary Colours, which specialises in cultural diversity in education, will be giving more than 80 performances to primary schools across the country on issues ranging from slavery and migration to black music and Caribbean food.
The range comprises three different themes soft baby pink or blue - ideal for newborn and a slightly older line in Miffy 's signature primary colours.
The three separately switchable, compact fluorescent lamps in red, green and blue, not only produce these primary colours, but also three secondary-colour pastel shades and one shade of white.
wooden toy chest bench in bright primary colours, pounds 59.99 from The Great
Drivers there have been choosing bright primary colours for some time now."
Primary Colours' recent all-weather efforts have been at Wolverhampton, but she showed no problem with underfoot conditions at Southwell as a two-year-old and is a big danger.
Primary Colours, of Fixby, an educational publishing company, has been working with second-year students Katie Stephens, Adam Wain, Kalkidan Bezabih and Callum Matheson on the project.