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Additive colour mixing using Red Green & Blue (RGB) light sources. This simulation shows three light sources pointing at a screen. Each source emits pure red, green, or blue light (i.e. they are the additive primary colours). (This is the inverse of subtractive colour mixing.) As the light beams converge and the colours overlap, so they illustrate additive mixing, yielding the additive secondary colours (yellow, magenta, and cyan). At the area where all of the primaries overlap, white light appears:

  • red + green light gives yellow light
  • red + blue light gives magenta light
  • green + blue light gives cyan light
  • red + green + blue light gives white light
We are fortunate that we can mimic all colours using the additive primaries (pure red, green, and blue). By varying the intensity of each light source we can get any shade of any colour. This somewhat similar to how TV and computer displays work, with each pixel having three colour components, with the mixing occurring in our visual systems.


BUY THIS ANIMATION of additive colour mixing with RGB lights!

Labelled diagram of Additive Colour Mixing using red, green, and blue lights
above: Labelled diagram showing additive colour mixing using Red Green & Blue (RGB) light sources. Created using the brilliant Cheetah3D software.

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