Starting from the main tones (red, yellow and blue), almost all existing colors are created. This is the theory of the traditional coloring model.
Let’s go back to basic color theory, and start at the beginning. Colors can be classified into different groups or families, which is why we distinguish between primary, secondary and tertiary colors . Starting from three main colors (yellow, red and blue) the rest of the shades of the chromatic circle will be formed. In addition, knowing this will help us improve the way we prepare paint colors quickly.
What are the primary colors
The traditional primary colors are Red, Blue and Yellow in their most intense known tones. And they are the colors used in the elementary teaching of the plastic arts. The primaries cannot be formed by other colors, and are equidistant in the chromatic circle .
There is a more current color model that considers Cyan (an intense turquoise), Magenta (a fuchsia red) and Pure Yellow as primary colors, with which all existing colors can be formed. This model is the most used in printing and industry.
What are the secondary colors
They are obtained by mixing two primary colors in equal parts . The secondary shade obtained depends on the precise hue or pigment used as the primer. In the same way as the previous ones, the secondary ones are at the same distance on the chromatic circle, forming a triangle.
The secondary ones are orange, green and purple, and they are formed as follows:
- Orange = red + yellow
- Green = yellow + blue
- Purple = red + blue
What are the Tertiary colors
There are two ways to obtain tertiary ones: one is the mixture in equal parts of a primary and a secondary, which we will call an intermediate color. And the other is the union of two secondary colors , with which three slightly saturated or dirty tones are achieved . In the image the Secondary ones indicated with the letter S and the tertiary ones with the T:
The tertiary ones are formed like this:
- Old red (top) = purple + orange
- Slate gray, or steel blue (left) = purple + green
- Citron, or dirty yellow (on the right) = green + orange
What are the intermediate colors
As I said before, the intermediates are tertiary colors that start from the union of a primary and a secondary , that is, they are a step between the two. The intermediate tertiaries are 6 and are formed as follows:
- Orange Red (Vermilion) = Red + Orange
- Purplish red (Cherry) = red + purple
- Orange yellow (Amber) = yellow + orange
- Greenish yellow (Lime) = yellow + green
- Greenish Blue ( Teal ) = Blue + Green
- Purplish Blue (Indigo) = Blue + Purple
Quaternaries are formed from the union of two tertiaries . In this way, dirty, gray or earthy colors are obtained. The color is imprecise and depends a lot on the intensity, the tone and the amount of the colors that formed it. There are no established names for quaternary colors.